Leipzig scouting report: attack-minded hosts
Leipzig's most prominent new signing might be in the coach's dugout, but more has changed than meets the eye at the ambitious club.
RB Leipzig were in fine form in their opening Bundesliga match, deservedly recording a 4-0 win away to promoted side 1 FC Union Berlin last week. Prior to that they beat second-tier outfit VfL Osnabrück 3-2 in the first round of the DFB Cup. It is clear, then, that the UEFA Champions League participants have begun the 2019/20 season well and that Eintracht will face a tough and ambitious opponent who will attempt to assert their playing style on the Eagles.
Julian Nagelsmann moved to Leipzig from 1899 Hoffenheim over the summer and he is the very embodiment of the club's youthful, innovative style. Unafraid of throwing talented youngsters in at the deep end, he made a name for himself by steering Hoffenheim's U17 and U19 sides to the German league title, before being named as Germany's Coach of the Year for 2017. Leipzig's interest in bringing him in was therefore almost inevitable. Nagelsmann's average of 1.66 points per game is the fourth best among all current Bundesliga coaches.
One to watch: Marcel Halstenberg
Regardless of whether Leipzig play three or four at the back, if Marcel Halstenberg is fit then he starts. Ostensibly a left-back, the term 'defender' is not necessarily the most suitable for the 27-year-old given the three-time Germany international's attacking playing style. Nagelsmann encourages him to follow his forward-thinking instincts and in the 2019 calendar year alone he has already scored four Bundesliga goals – more than any other defender.
Furthermore, only Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich has been involved in more shots on the opposition's goal (58) than the Leipzig full-back (52) in 2019. Last week the Hannover 96 academy graduate, who has struggled with a number of injuries throughout his career, got off to a flying start, scoring with his weaker right foot to put Leipzig 1-0 up at the Alte Försterei stadium after 15 minutes.