RB Leipzig have had a conflicting start to life in the Bundesliga, with a significant financial backing stemming from their controversial ownership by Red Bull. They were able to finish second in their debut season in the German top flight, securing Champions League qualification.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was able to keep the key stars of his squad together for the birth of the 17/18 season, fighting off multiple attempts for his key players.
So, with Naby Keita and Timo Werner leading the team forward and no public protests getting anywhere near your stadium, can you close the gap on Bayern Munich and lead a European charge on FIFA 18's Career Mode? With a young squad embedded with hidden talent, RB Leipzig could be the challenge you’re looking for to redefine the Bundesliga.
RB Leipzig have been given a four-star rating on FIFA 18, stemming from their 78 overall. This breaks down into a 76 defensive rating, 80 midfield and 78 attacking rating.
Leipzig tend to play with a 4-2-2-2 formation in order to fit in all their key players whilst keeping the preferred option of two strikers up front. We’ve stuck with the system which has been a mainstay of their Bundesliga campaign, but a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-1-1 are also viable options with the talent available.
Peter Gulacsi is the resident number one for the East German side, with a back four consisting of Lukas Klostermann, Willi Orban, Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Halstenberg providing more than sufficient cover to deal with any threats you may face.
In front of the defence, you’ll find Leipzig talisman Naby Keita partnering Kevin Kampl as the two work as a perfect combination to move the ball between the defence and the attack.
Bruma and Emil Forsberg feature as the two inverted wingers. The pair will work well as a balance of pace and precision, giving you the option to differentiate the style in which you choose to attack.
Up front you’ll find Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen. Werner is by far the best striker in the squad and with 91 pace you should have no issues getting in behind the opposition’s defence. Plus, a four-star weak foot gives you the option to swap the strikers' positions, and have Werner cut in from the right to shoot.
Poulsen offers the aerial threat between, coming in at six foot four, he gives you the option to play the ball long if necessary or whip the ball in from the wide areas and rise above the centre backs.
On the bench you should feature Yvon Mvogo, Ibrahima Konate, Bernardo, Marcel Sabitzer, Diego Demme, Ademola Lookman and Jean-Kevin Augustin.
Leipzig boast a strong starting lineup and a well-balanced bench, but if you lose just one player from the matchday 18, problems can easily arise. You will need your tactics to be spot on so you don’t lose out on any of these players' talents, whilst keeping everyone as fresh as possible.
Naby Keita (88 dribbling, 88 ball control) gives you the option to run with the ball forward whilst keeping Kevin Kampl (86 acceleration, 82 vision and 84 composure) as a deeper man to stop any potential counter attacks you may face and keeping the defence protected.
Bruma (92 sprint speed) is the perfect option for driving the ball down the wings and taking on the full back with his four-star skill moves available. Emil Forsberg (84 short passing and 86 vision) is the perfect option if you’re looking to play a fast, short pass-and-move style as he’ll be able to find players in tight spaces.
With Leipzig, there are two main points of attack, both varying in key areas. Timo Werner (92 Sprint Speed) is the man to go to if you’re looking to play the ball in behind the defensive line and run in on goal due to his impressive pace. If you’re struggling against a well-organised defence, Yussuf Poulsen (82 jumping, 81 heading accuracy) offers the aerial threat to change your point of attack.
Training remains a key feature of any Career Mode, allowing your players to grow under your watchful eyes and dictate what area you want them to improve in. The best thing to look for is your players with a high growth potential, so Philipp Kohn, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Bruma and Jean-Kevin Augustin are ideal inclusions in your training plans.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £46.4 million
Starting wage budget: £116,000 a week
Who should go
With Leipzig limited to a slightly smaller wage budget than preferred, it’s a very good idea to trim the fat and clear up some wages to build your squad further. Players such as Fabio Coltorti (OVR 68) and Niclas Stierlin (OVR 62, POT 76) won’t feature so it’s best to just send them on their way. Selling the pair should get you a combined sum of around £500,000 and fee up £30,000 a week in wages.
Leipzig do have a big squad, with 31 players to choose from. To ensure that everyone has a beneficial season, you may want to consider loaning out some of your younger players. Plus, this will ensure they don’t lose morale throughout the season.
Kilian Senkbeil (OVR 60), Mert Yilmaz (OVR 58), Marc Dauter (OVR 60) and Dominic Minz (OVR 57) are all 18 years' old and are highly unlikely to break into the squad based on their current ratings. None of these players have a potential of more than 72 however, so it is likely that you will sell them on next season.
Who to sign
New transfer budget: £46.9 million
New wage budget: £146,000 a week
Backing up the midfield
Even though you have two great option in Kampl and Keita, it’s definitely worth buying one more star player so you can rotate the three and make sure they all stay fit and aren’t overworked. With league, cup and European games it’s easy to see where players could pick up injuries.
Hakim Ziyech is definitely a man you should be looking to acquire. Only 24 years of age with a potential of 85, the Moroccan is certainly a star player that could turn into a match-winner if nurtured correctly. Hakim can as a central or attacking midfielder, so he covers two key areas of the Leipzig system.
His ability to find a key pass (88 vision, 86 short passing) makes him ideal for the Bundesliga. His release clause from Ajax sits at £29.9 million, so a bid around £24 million should do the trick. Ziyech's wages of £14,000 a week will certainly need improvement, however.
Another option to bolster the midfield would be Luis Alberto. The 24-year-old has found success in La Liga and has improved considerably in recent years. With both his weak foot and skill moves at four stars, he has the ability to play in any of the advanced midfield or attack roles and would be a boost to most sides when going forward. The Spaniard boats excellent passing stats (84 Long passing and 85 short passing) and is capable to find the runs of the forwards (86 vision).
- Angel Correa – Atletico Madrid, Age 22, OVR 80, POT 87, Cost: £36 million, Wages: £52,000
- Leo Baptistao – Espanyol, Age 24, OVR 80, POT 83, Cost: £32 million, Wages: £32,000
- Leander Dendoncker – Anderlecht, Age 22, OVR 78, POT 85, Cost: £16 million, Wages: £18,000
- Federico Chiesa – Fiorentina, Age 19, OVR 77, POT 87, Cost: £20 million, Wages: £35,000
- Jorrit Hendrix – PSV, Age 22, OVR 76, POT 82, Cost: £11 million, Wages: £13,000
Five players will only have 12 months left on their contracts when you start the season. Kilian Senkbeil, Mert Yilmaz and Dominic Minz are all 18 and would benefit from loan experience, however. So, if you’re looking to keep these players, keep in mind that you may see them sought after for loans once you’ve secured their contracts.
It would be highly advised to give Elias Abouchabaka (OVR 63, POT 83) a new deal as the 17-year-old attacking midfielder has the potential to become a superstar, so think about him as a future prospect when negotiating a deal for the youngster.
Fabio Coltorti is the final man with a year left on his deal, so if you’re keen to sell him ensure you do before he is eligible to walk away for free next summer.
Domestically, you are expected to finish mid-table in the Bundesliga and make the last 16 of the DFB Pokal. Considering the strength of the squad you have at your disposable, neither of these tasks should be hard for you to achieve. Realistically, RB Leipzig should be finishing in the top four without any trouble.
For brand exposure, you’re expected to increase season tickets holders by at least 10% of the grounds capacity. This also isn’t a particularly hard task. A good European performance (reaching the knockout stages) and securing European football for the next season should be more than enough to achieve this task.
In terms on continental success, you should be expecting to reach the knockout stages of the Champions Cup. This again shouldn’t be too hard, but if you’re unlucky enough to get a tough group, you may need some big European performances to pull through.
Leipzig view youth development as a high priority, so be ready to put some faith in the kids. You’re expected to grow two youth academy players by at least ten overall points and play them in five matches.
You’re fortunate enough to have no financial objectives, so spend at your own will.
Charge on with the Red Bulls
RB Leipzig definitely have the potential to establish themselves as a top side in the Bundesliga, but you must repeat last years success at a minimum if you want to maintain Leipzig as a top German side. There's nothing stopping you from securing that top four place at the expense of someone like Schalke or Hoffenheim with the quality you have in the squad.
Some of Europe's elite may come for your key stars Timo Werner and Naby Keita early on in the transfer window, so securing deals for these stars should be a priority and could hold to the key to future succes.
Full RB Leipzig player ratings
|Lukas Klostermann||21||RB LB||Germany||75||83||£7.5m||£31k|
|Benno Schmitz||22||RB LB CDM||Germany||70||73||£1.6m||£25k|
|Kilian Senkbeil||18||CB RB||Germany||60||72||£264k||£3k|
|Naby Keita||22||CM CDM CAM||Guinea||83||88||£29.9m||£60k|
|Kevin Kampl||26||CM CAM||Slovenia||82||83||£22.4m||£69k|
|Emil Forsberg||25||CAM LM||Sweden||82||84||£23.8m||£66k|
|Marcel Sabitzer||23||CAM ST||Austria||81||84||£19.8m||£55k|
|Diego Demme||25||CDM CM||Germany||79||81||£11.4m||£55k|
|Stefan Ilsanker||28||CDM CB RB||Austria||75||75||£4.8m||£43k|
|Konrad Laimer||20||CM RB||Austria||73||81||£5.3m||£35k|
|Dominik Kaiser||28||CAM CM RM||Germany||72||72||£2.8m||£33k|
|Ademola Lookman||19||LM LW ST||England||66||84||On Loan||£12k|
|Niclas Stierlin||17||CDM CB||Germany||62||76||£484k||£4k|
|Mert Yilmaz||18||RM RB||Germany||58||70||£185k||£4k|
|Jean-Kevin Augustin||20||ST RW||France||75||85||£9.7m||£39k|
How is your Career Mode going? Let us know in the comments section below.