RB Leipzig has plenty of haters in Germany, but the new Bundesliga club is proving it is to be taken seriously, especially after a win over Dortmund.
Even the disrupters can get disrupted from time to time. Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is, in management-speak, a rule-breaker who does not conform to traditional coaching stereotypes. His young side met its match at Red Bull Arena, where newly-promoted RB Leipzig scored a last-minute goal to win 1-0.
The pre-match talk may have been about the fans, with BVB supporters claiming they would boycott the match in protest at Red Bull’s corporate structure. On the pitch, though, the host was a deserving winner, with three of its new signings taking the plaudits: Timo Werner was a constant threat up front, and the 20-year-old German forward, who has been compared to a young Wayne Rooney, is already benefiting from a move away from hometown club Stuttgart.
The two players who combined for the winning goal also had points to prove: Oliver Burke is a Scottish teenager who started this season with four goals for Nottingham Forest before a deadline-day move to Germany. BBC pundit John Hartson described his move as one “that stinks of agents” and said he would be better off at Burnley or Sunderland. Burke came off the Leipzig bench and crossed for the last-minute winner.
After the game, he hit back at Hartson: “I hope (my performance today) does shut him up,” Burke told reporters after the game. “Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I know I've made the best decision of my life.”
Learning a new language, and developing his game in a different league, is bound to make Burke a better player.
The beneficiary of Burke’s cross was midfielder Naby Keita, another fantastic signing from a club that has high ambitions. Keita moved to Germany from Red Bull Salzburg, which caused much consternation in Austria. The Salzburg club has failed to make the Champions League group stage for nine seasons running and is now seen as a feeder club to its Bundesliga partner. Players and fans are not happy with that situation at all: but after two games of the season, it’s fair to say that Red Bull Leipzig needs to be taken seriously.