Controversial Leipzig aim to make their mark | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.08.2016
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Controversial Leipzig aim to make their mark

RB Leipzig's promotion to the Bundesliga has ruffled a few feathers in Germany. Now the eastern German side are aiming to prove that they deserve to be with the big boys.

Leipzig are set to become the first team from the former East Germany to compete in the Bundesliga since Cottbus in 2009, but their promotion to Germany's top flight has not been without controversy.

Bank-rolled by the energy drink company Red Bull, Leipzig have only existed since 2009 and have ruffled the feathers of Germany's more traditional clubs.

But with an average attendance of more than 40,000 and a team very much on an upward trajectory, Leipzig most certainly deserve their place in the Bundesliga. The question is: Can their meteoric rise continue?

Transfers: Exciting additions

Leipzig's policy of recruiting young and ambitious players continued this summer with the signings of forward Timo Werner from Stuttgart and midfielder Naby Keita from sister club FC Salzburg.

Werner's skill and energy will add some impetus to Leipzig's attack and Keita, who remains somewhat of an unknown quantity, was seen as the best player in Austria during his two season's in that country's top flight. His box-to-box midfield style should add some dynamism to Leipzig's attacks.

Head coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl

Leipzig have recruited the man who steered Ingolstadt to an impressive 11th-place finish last season. The Austrian coach's task is ultimately to keep Leipzig up, but the club's hierarchy clearly feel he is capable of more than that and that ambition is a good match for the club.

The man who guided Leipzig into the Bundesliga last season, Ralf Rangnick is now concentrating solely on his role of sporting director.

Key player: Davie Selke

Only one team in the top six of the second division last season - St Pauli - scored fewer goals than Leipzig, so it's clear that this is one area in which they will need to improve.

But given their shyness in front of goal, Davie Selke still managed to score 10 times in the league, and was a vital player for them. With new signing Timo Werner providing some much-needed support in attack, Leipzig fans can expect Selke to at least match that tally this season.

Prediction: Top half of the bottom half

Every new entry to the top flight will have survival as their chief target and Leipzig are no different, despite their lofty ambitions. This campaign should see them stabilize themselves in the Bundesliga and they should have more than enough quality to stay up.

There is little chance of them troubling the established elite in the top half of the table, but anything beyond survival would be a bonus. Relegation would be a crushing disappointment, but the club have the resources to stay up – and they will.