|photo from RB Leipzig
by Anthony J. Merced
A draw over the weekend against Augsburg has left RB Leipzig wondering if their hopes for the Champions League has sailed for next season. Augsburg, currently 11th in the Bundesliga, pulled off a 2-2 draw against a team that was supposed to be competing for the top of the league in a year where Bayern Munich have faltered and opened the path for surging Bayer Leverkusen.
"The bottom line is that it's not enough for us," said captain Willi Orban after the game. "Things are going to continue in quick succession. We have to recover quickly. We have a difficult home game in the Champions League with Real Madrid on Tuesday."
That game against Real Madrid now holds the key to Leipzig's future in the competition. Currently Madrid are top of La Liga and appear to be gaining tractions as favorites yet again to make the final. Leipzig are on the opposite trajectory, with only two wins since the start of the year, the club now sits in fifth place in a Europa League position.
This wasn't the narrative laid out at the start of the campaign. Marco Rose and his men were supposed to challenge Bayern Munich and be in the position that Xavi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen currently occupy. Instead, they have a transfer window which saw Timo Werner return to the Premier League and little in the way of incoming players. Injuries to Dani Olmo have also caused a drop in productivity as well.
"We really wanted to win the game and stay in fourth place," said striker Lois Openda. "We did our best but, Unfortunately it wasn't enough. Now we have to prepare for the next game."
After the clash with Real Madrid, Leipzig's road in the Bundesliga will get harder. Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich await them in consecutive league games. Anything less than four points out of a possible six could see them permanently slip away from the top teams in Germany.