After a strenuous week for them across all competitions, at least there’s a positive to share for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
It’s been a frustrating week for RB Leipzig, not least after consecutive defeats left an encouraging campaign on the verge of underachievement.
A 4-1 home defeat by fellow Champions League hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen on Monday evening would’ve shattered player confidence ahead of tonight’s away loss to Ligue 1 side Marseille. So their 5-2 loss means the Bundesliga outfit have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League at the quarter-final stage, despite holding a 1-0 advantage from last week’s first leg.
Leipzig – not quite there yet..
When Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin are on form, it’s difficult to stop the duo. But even still, this serves as an unwelcome reminder that Leipzig are not yet where they aspire to be – truly among Europe’s elite.
With that in mind, it’s not likely to get any better with both Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg attracting plenty of interest from top European sides. That’s ignoring Naby Keita’s impending departure to Liverpool whilst also not discussing the long-term future of promising teenager Dayot Upamecano, who has already shown signs of world-class potential.
Sabitzer future a welcome boost
However, they’ve received a welcome boost ahead of crunch time in Germany over the coming weeks.
Marcel Sabitzer, who has been at Leipzig since a successful loan spell from Salzburg in 2014, established himself as a key component among their attacking options. He has signed a new contract extension, a four-year deal, to remain at the Red Bull Arena until the summer of 2022.
With 115 Bundesliga games under his belt, Sabitzer has benefited from regular first-team football and knows despite posing many strengths, there’s still work left to do.
“I still feel very well at RB Leipzig, I also feel great trust here and I am pleased about the contract extension. I’m not yet at the end of my development and want to continue to do my part to take the next step – I think that a lot is possible with Leipzig.”
With five goals and nine assists across all competitions this term, those stats don’t do his progression justice. Sabitzer’s early goal against B04 was his first goal contribution since late January, which highlights his poor form of late.
Next up, they host Werder Bremen on Sunday afternoon in the day’s second of two featured fixtures. With five matches still to play, they find themselves just two points outside the Champions League places – Leverkusen currently occupy the fourth and final automatic spot.
Schalke (2nd) and Borussia Dortmund in third are only a few points ahead of Leverkusen themselves, promising an exciting finish to the top-four race – even if Bayern Munich were crowned champions for the sixth consecutive season last weekend.