Summer signing Andre Silva will be aiming for a repeat of his 2020-21 goalscoring form at RB Leipzig
Summer signing Andre Silva will be aiming for a repeat of his 2020-21 goalscoring form at RB Leipzig

After clinging on to Bayern Munich’s coattails for as long as they could, RB Leipzig eventually had to settle for runners-up spot in the Bundesliga.

But their second-place finish at least secured a third successive season of Champions League football.

Despite equalling the best ever finish in RBL's short history, their points total of 65 was marginally lower than the two preceding campaigns.

Die Roten Bullen's goal tally also reduced from 81 to 60 following the departure of marksman Timo Werner to Chelsea but a tightening of the top three meant they did not lose any ground on their fellow challengers.

With Jesse Marsch at the helm following Julian Nagelsmann’s departure to Bayern, it will be interesting to see how Germany’s most controversial team fare under new leadership in Europe’s leading club competition.

RB Leipzig's Champions League group

Group A: Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge

Read more: Champions League guide — Group A in focus
Life under Julian Nagelsmann ended with a second-place finish in the Bundesliga for Red Bull Leipzig
Life under Julian Nagelsmann ended with a second-place finish in the Bundesliga for Red Bull Leipzig

European history

RB Leipzig are about to enter their sixth consecutive season of European football, despite starting out in the fifth tier just 12 years ago.

Their rise through the divisions — backed by energy drinks brand Red Bull — has been well publicised.

SSV Markranstadt, the side that they purchased the playing rights from in 2009, unsurprisingly never took part in continental competition.

In fact, they had not even featured in a non-regionalised domestic league.

Despite their relative inexperience on the European stage, RB Leipzig have packed a lot into a short amount of time.

From their three Champions League campaigns to date, the highlight would undoubtedly be the club's run to the 2019-20 semi-finals, which saw them eventually bow out at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

A Europa League quarter-final appearance in 2017-18 was their best finish in Europe's second-tier competition, having finishing third in their Champions League group that season.

Expectations

Before the group stage draw, Die Roten Bullen would have targeted progress to at least the round of 16, if not further.

However, having been placed in Group A alongside moneybags Manchester City and PSG, that door might just have closed for them.

RB Leipzig will be focusing on their match against the fourth and final team in their group Club Brugge, knowing they will need to pick up maximum points against the Belgians to stand any chance of progression.

But Leipzig may well have to settle for a third-place finish and a shot at Europa League glory.

Star man: Andre Silva

Portuguese forward Andre Silva enjoyed a remarkable 2020-21 season, earning him a move to RB Leipzig
Portuguese forward Andre Silva enjoyed a remarkable 2020-21 season, earning him a move to RB Leipzig

Andre Silva — a £20.7million summer signing from Eintracht Frankfurt — was been brought in to replace Werner's goals.

The 25-year-old struck 28 times in the Bundesliga in 2020-21, putting him second only to Robert Lewandowski (41) in the battle for the golden boot.

To put that into perspective, RBL’s top scorer in the league last campaign was midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who found the back of the net just eight times.

Additionally, the Portuguese forward also supplied seven assists as Eintracht Frankfurt secured a fifth place finish.

With 15 goals in European competition across spells at Porto, AC Milan and Frankfurt, Leipzig will be hoping that Silva will shine in the Champions League this year.

One to watch: Dani Olmo

Spanish international Dani Olmo became a key figure in RB Leipzig's side last season
Spanish international Dani Olmo became a key figure in RB Leipzig's side last season

After an impressive first full season in the Bundesliga, 23-year-old Dani Olmo will look to carry on his eye-catching form under his new manager.

Deployed mainly as an attacking midfielder, the busy Spaniard registered five goals and nine assists in the league during the 2020-21 campaign.

Olmo showed the impact he can have in tournament football this summer, when he provided three assists at Euro 2020 — plus a further two assists and one goal at Tokyo 2020, earning a silver medal in the process.

Now he will aim to repeat those performances in the Champions League this term.

The boss: Jesse Marsch

RB Leipzig, or at least their parent company Red Bull, kept the appointment of Jesse Marsch very much in-house following Nagelsmann’s switch to Bayern Munich.

The 47-year-old American coach will take the reins of a third different football club in the Red Bull group, having managed New York Red Bulls from 2015-2018 and, most recently, Red Bull Salzburg from 2019 up until this summer.

It is not Marsch’s first spell at RB Leipzig either, having previously been an assistant to Ralf Rangnick in the 2018-19 season.

All that experience inside the brand will benefit the former Chicago Fire midfielder and he will no doubt be fully aware of the expectations upon him, as Leipzig look to spread their wings and take flight on the European stage.

All information correct as of 10am, September 15, 2021

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