|photo from Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg is proving to be one of the best teams in Europe with one of the youngest squads after another win in the UEFA Champions League. This time it was a 3-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg, a contender in the German Bundesliga. With another win Salzburg is quickly becoming the new Ajax, a team with unlimited young potential that performs on the largest stage.
"This kind of win gives a team great confidence," said manager Matthias Jaissle. "It's time we can enjoy Champions League matches as the results are going our way this year. A really fantastic evening."
Thus far Salzburg have drawn with Sevilla, defeated French champions Lille and now dominated Bundesliga contenders Wolfsburg. In years past, it has seemed as if Salzburg were overmatched by their competition. However, it is their German brothers Leipzig that have suffered the most. While the draw may be slightly more favorable, the expectation for Salzburg is never one to be a contender. This season, they may be the Cinderella story.
"It's incredible, I can't find the words," said Noah Okafor after his first two Champions League goals. "We are still top of the group and I am really, really proud of the entire team for our performance and the coaching staff. It's just superb, really, I am very happy."
That infectious will to win has carried over from the Austrian Bundesliga where Salzburg remain undefeated. The reigning champions have started their first 11 games with a record of 11-1-0. At this pace they will dominate the league unlike any other year. Still, it is Europe that remains the price. A trip to the knockout stage will be a huge success towards the Red Bull plans of developing the next generation of talent.
Players like Okafor, Karim Adeyemi and Brenden Aaronson are just the latest group of talent to come through Salzburg. In the past it was Konrad Laimer, Dominik Szoboszlai and Erling Haaland. Salzburg is quickly becoming the jumping off point to bigger clubs but all the while adding to the legacy and trophy collection in Austria.