The Hungarian Pair Leading RB Leipzig Back Into The Champions League

Few of the top leagues in Europe are as tightly contested as the Bundesliga is right now. The two top sides Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are engaged in an exciting title race but the teams just below them are in a battle of their own. The likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Eintracht Frankfurt are engaged in a race for Champions League qualification but all three teams could be eclipsed by another club which features two of Hungary’s best players and potential Premier League targets.

It all seemed so easy for RB Leipzig just a few years ago. The club is still just a decade old but has experienced an incredible level of growth during that time. Four promotions in seven seasons saw Leipzig reach the promised land of the Bundesliga but they weren’t done yet. Under manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, Leipzig achieved a second-place finish in their debut season in the German top flight which allowed them passage into the UEFA Champions League.

What followed was a disappointing performance in Europe. A group stage exit from the Champions League was followed up by a quarter-final defeat in the UEFA Europa League. A sixth-place finish in the Bundesliga wasn’t enough and Hasenhüttl departed in the summer of 2018.

Since then, RB Leipzig have built towards another promising season. Under new manager Ralf Rangnick, The Bulls have put in a string of fine performances which have helped the club climb back towards the top of the Bundesliga. Leipzig currently sit in third place, five points clear of fifth in the pursuit of Champions League qualification. They’ve continued to grind out results in the league and a lot of that has to do with a pair of Hungarian internationals who make up an impressive defence.

It was Willi Orban who joined Leipzig first. The 26-year-old centre-back moved to the Red Bull Arena in the summer of 2015 in a controversial transfer from FC Kaiserslautern. Since then, Orban has gone from strength to strength. Standing over six feet, Orban possesses a surprising amount of pace as well as an ability to play with the ball at his feet.

He impressed so much so in his first two seasons that in August 2017, Orban was named as club captain and signed a new long-term deal just a few months later. He showed his quality in February when he scored the 89th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw against rivals Hoffenheim. His remarkable breakthrough success culminated when he made his debut for Hungary in October 2018. The centre-back grabbed his first international goal just one month later.

His performances have caught the eye so much so that in January, he was linked with a move to the Premier League. Orban was the subject of reported interest from Southampton, the club managed by his former Leipzig boss, Ralph Hasenhüttl.

But Orban isn’t the only RB Leipzig player catching the attention of Premier League clubs. His Hungary teammate, Peter Gulacsi is also attracting admirers after an excellent couple of seasons in goals. Gulacsi was a reported target for Arsenal last season before they moved for another Bundesliga target, Bernd Leno. At the time, Gulacsi was also considered by his former club, Liverpool.

It’s not something which would have surprised too many fans of Bundesliga football. Gulacsi has been one of the outstanding goalkeepers in the division for a number of years and was the subject of praise from his manager Ralph Rangnick several weeks ago after an impressive performance against rivals Wolfsburg.

Gulacsi and Leipzig will need to put in a few more quality performances before the season is over but it seems that some are comfortable they will do it. Leipzig face a potentially tricky match against Augsburg in their next fixture and are the clear 3/8 favourites on Betway as of 4 March to come out on top.

RB Leipzig could extend their grip on a top-four spot to eight points if results go their way this weekend. The club has come a long way in the last decade and it seems as if manager Ralph Rangnick has helped the side get over the disappointment of last season. Still, the manager doesn’t deserve all the credit given the impressively consistent performances of the club’s two Hungarian internationals. If they continue to play at this level on a weekly basis, it may not be long before Willi Orban and Peter Gulacsi move on to even bigger and better things.