Everything you need to know about RB Leipzig
Manchester United take on RB Leipzig in our first home game of the UEFA Champions League campaign. Here's all you need to know about the Germans...
It will be the very first encounter between Manchester United and RB Leipzig when last year's semi-finalists visit Old Trafford for our first home game of the group stage.
So, in order to become a bit more familiar with our new opponents, here's a breakdown of the German club's history, stadium, manager and the dates of our games...
RB Leipzig was established as a football club as late as 2009, when energy-drink producer Red Bull bought the license of fifth-tier club SSV Markranstädt and changed the name, logo and stadium. The goal was to make the Bundesliga within 10 years, however, it did not take as long for the Die Rotten Bullen to achieve their target.
In their first full season, in 2009/10, the Red Bull Arena outfit achieved promotion from the fourth tier, Oberliga Nordost, Staffel Süd. It then took them three attempts before they took their place in 3. Liga, from which they got promoted to the 2. Bundesliga on their first attempt in 2014. After a fifth-place finish in the 2014/15 season, RB Leipzig finished runners-up in their second 2. Bundesliga season, which meant promotion to the top tier for German football for the 2016/17 season.
In their debut top-flight campaign, the then eight-year-old club qualified for the Champions League after finishing an impressive second in the Bundesliga, behind only Bayern München. Since then, Die Rotten Bullen have established themselves as one of the strongest clubs in Germany, finishing sixth the following season before attaining two consecutive third-place finishes.
The 2019/20 season was arguably the greatest season of their history so far. A strong, third-place Bundesliga finish was followed up by Champions League heroics, as RB Leipzig made it to the semi-finals of the tournament, losing to runners-up – and their forthcoming group-stage opponents – PSG in the last hurdle before the final.
Red Bull Arena is the stadium of RB Leipzig but, due to UEFA sponsorship regulations, the stadium is known as RB Arena for European matches.
The ground, formerly called Zentralstadion, was opened in in 1956 with a capacity of 100,000 people. However, the large stadium was too much to maintain for the city for many years. After a renovation, the stadium was reopened in 2004 and local club FC Sachsen Leipzig used it until RB Leibzig took over in 2009. The arena was also a venue for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and hosted the round-of-16 match between Argentina and Mexico.
The stadium has a capacity of 42,959 seats which is extended to 50,000 for concerts, which it is frequently used for. Among those who have played at the venue in the last few years we find Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and AC/DC.
Julian Nagelsmann, 33, is the manager of RB Leipzig, having managed them since 2019. He joined the east German club from Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim, having led them for four seasons and achieved qualification for the Champions League for the first time in the club's history. Following the 2016/17 season, he was named the German coach of the year. At Hoffenheim, he also became the youngest manager to achieve 100 appearances, at the age of 31.
After a serious knee injury, Nagelsmann had to retire as a player aged 20. He was then promoted as a scout at Augsburg, where PSG manager Thomas Tuchel was in charge. Like they did in the semi-final last term, the mentor and the apprentice will go head to head in Group H.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB Leipzig impressed many in last season's Champions League campaign. One of those who stuck out the most was French centre-back Dayot Upamecano, who earned his first France cap in the summer. Captain Marcel Sabitzer also excelled, and was directly involved in seven goals in just nine Champions League appearances during 2019/20.
The squad has a variety of nationalities from different continents – for example, Tyler Adams from USA and South-Korean Hwang Hee-chan. They also have a Scandinavian trio up front in Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Emil Forsberg (Sweden) and newly signed Alexander Sørloth (Norway), who became the top goalscorer in the Turkish Süper Lig for Trabzonspor with 24 goals last season.
Nagelsmann's side have had a great start to the season and top the Bundesliga after three rounds, having beaten Mainz in the season opener, drawn at Leverkusen away and then thumped Schalke 04 4-0 inside the RB Arena.
They are also through in the German cup – the DFB-Pokal – after beating Nürnberg 3-0 away in the first round.
Before Die Rotten Bullen make the journey to Old Trafford, the league leaders welcome Istanbul Basaksehir to Germany, while United will face PSG in Paris.
WHEN DO WE MEET?
United will host RB Leipzig on 28 October, with kick-off at 20:00 GMT. The away game will be the last match of the group stage and will take place at the RB Arena on 8 December with kick-off at 20:00 GMT.