If you missed the end of season 6 summary, the 2021/22 season saw us manage to go the entirety of the season unbeaten, almost. We lost one match all season, the European Super Cup against Arsenal early on in the season. Still raging about it. For the purposes of this post thought, let’s try and forget about it. In the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League, not to mention the Club World Cup and DFL-Supercup, we were invincible.
Along the way so far in the save, there’s been fleeting mentions of some players, and more regular mentions of others. The aim of this post is to introduce you to the players that made the big contributions to our success in season 6. Standby for player screenshots galore. Meet the Invincibles.
I’d been tracking Früchtl for a few seasons, and in January of season 5, he joined for what I thought was a bargain £22m. He quickly established himself as our new number 1, and he played a huge role in our invincible season in season 6. 20 clean sheets in 45 appearances/4,050 minutes in all competitions is a very good return if I don’t say so myself. He didn’t have quite as good a game in the Arsenal Super Cup defeat that we’re not talking about, as he scored an own goal in a 1-0 loss that was our only defeat of the season…
Cayetano also joined in season 5, but was a summer signing for £2.7m from Uruguay. At the time, he was deemed a wonderkid keeper, and I was really excited to see how he’d develop. He’s our back up keeper, but did manage to play 12 matches across the season, getting 9 clean sheets in those matches. He’s unfortunately picked up a cruciate ligament injury as we’ve gone in to season 7, let’s hope this doesn’t harm his ability too much.
Here are our rocks at the back this season. All of the defenders here got over 2,000 minutes on the pitch over the season.
The RBL record league appearance holder. He played 41 times this season, on the pitch for 3,612 minutes, coming third in our total minutes table. Looking at him right now, he looks fairly average. He’s got a decent level of attributes across the board defensively. He’s pacy, which I like. But his not-so-top level numbers for tackling, marking, positioning and decisions don’t scream out incredible player. Yet, he is. He’s been brilliant for us. He doesn’t get beaten in the air often. He provides a great option out wide for us, although his assist total of 1 for the season doesn’t really reflect that. If his leadership was better, he’d be my captain by now.
The current RBL record transfer. A £45m arrival in season 5, he was predominantly signed to slot in at left back despite his preferred foot being his right. In all seriousness, as you can see, he can really slot in anywhere. Truly versatile. We don’t really rely on him for assists though, he’s just a very solid option at the back. Was he worth £45m? Probably not, but it’s always good to increase the German options in the squad and he’s been very reliable for us.
Our Mexican rock at the back made 31 appearances over the season and forged a brilliant partnership with Robert, our Brazilian CB who you’ll see below. I’ve been focusing on getting players in with strong personalities, Figueroa is one player I chose to overlook in that respect, with him looking so strong defensively. He’s not the best tackling-wise (12), but he’s so strong, good in the air, and his great numbers for positioning and decisions see him perform excellently.
Figueroa’s main partner in central defence, Robert was an absolute bargain signing at £15m. There aren’t many things he can’t do at the back. They’ve formed a formidable partnership at the back, almost undroppable. I’d kind of liken them to Vidic and Rio. Apart from both of them have aspects of both of those players. One is tough tackling but anticipates well, while the other is aggressive but passes superbly.
Horn was never supposed to be one of our key players. A £6.5m signing from Wolfsburg in the summer before season 4, he was just supposed to be back up option but did well as we sold Halstenberg. Again, our full backs don’t get many assists, but he’s a great option to have when we want to go with a left footed option at left back, instead of Henrichs.
All of our supporting defenders played less than 2,000 minutes over the course of the season.
The Portuguese wonderkid. Yeah, I’ve got three options at left back, so what? I’m very big on rotation, so I often move Henrichs to right back, and slot Mariano in for gametime, and he got quite a bit over the course of the season, just 50 minutes shy of 2,000. He scored an absolute beauty to secure our win in the Champions League quarter final over Arsenal, which is still available for you to vote for in the Higher Tempo Press goal of the month competition!
A product of the RBL youth system, the only true product of our youth system to have made his way into the first team as yet. It’s a disappointing fact, and we’ve had to bring in young players from elsewhere to supplement this so far. de Wit came through in season 1’s youth intake, and had his most solid season yet when called upon this season, appearing 23 times with a 7.19 average rating.
The club captain is now the oldest player at the club, aged 29. He had a disappointing season that was ravaged with injury, he managed just 15 starts in all competitions and he’s been ousted from being first choice by Figueroa and Robert. I’m planning to keep him around and about the first team for cover, and tutoring though. Big fan of a resolute personality.
The latest young player to be promoted up to the first team for some action. He arrived last season from perennial developers of top quality talent, Stuttgart, for a cut price £875k. He spent last season developing in the u19 squad, and I decided to bring him into the first team fold this season as cover for Orban, who as I mentioned struggled with injury. He only spent 481 minutes on the pitch, but that gametime will be vital to keep his development moving.
Our key midfielders this season that all played over 2,000 minutes across the season.
What a man. I genuinely think he’s the best player in the world. He’s just dreamy. We’ve had some proper bargain signings so far, and for £750k, he’s certainly up there too. He actually mainly plays as a central midfielder on defend duty, which probably isn’t getting the best out of him, but he plays the role brilliantly. He tackles well, he anticipates brilliantly, and he keeps the ball ticking over for us.
What a bargain Havertz has turned out to be for us, a £19.75m signing from Leverkusen a few seasons back now, he had his best season yet. Mainly alternating between the supporting central midfield role, and the attacking midfield role behind our striker, he scored 9 goals and got 11 assists in 41 matches. I mentioned before that I imagine him to be one of the posterboys of RBL in all of our pretend marketing activity. Yes, that’s what I think about as I play FM.
There isn’t much more to be said about Thomas Lemar. Since his arrival in Leipzig on a free transfer from Monaco ahead of season 5 our shadow striker has made 83 appearances, scored 40 goals and assisted 38 goals. Bargain. He deservedly won our fans player of the year this season, and was in the Champions League and Bundesliga teams of the season too. He’s phenomenal to watch during our matches. Our £56m-valued MVP. Explosive.
His output hasn’t really matched that of Lemar, Burke or Werner since I’ve been in charge, but he’s been an integral part of the team, and I think we’re worse for it when he doesn’t play. He usually plays in either of the central midfield slots in the team, and he’s comfortable playing in both. Whether it’s winning tackles, or causing danger going forward, he always does his job well. He scored 7 goals this season too, which is his best scoring season across the save so far.
What else can I say about Oli Burke that I didn’t already say here? Well a lot really. Since that piece was written, we’ve won two Champions League trophies with my fellow countryman scoring the winning goal in our first Champions League win against Spurs last season, and he stepped up to score our 2nd and decisive goal against Man Utd in this season’s final. He hit 12 goals this season, including 5 in the Champions League. He loves the big stage.
Thanks again to Monaco for being stupid enough to let another one of their star talents leave on a free transfer. Mbappe had a decent first season in Leipzig. Getting a goal (8) or assist (14) every 96 minutes he played. He’s still adjusting to our system, which doesn’t support his preferred position out wide. His flair, dribbling, speed and technique are a dangerous combination when he’s on his game though. Bear in mind too that my save is on the day 1 database, while he received an attribute boost in the January update. He’s worth £52m, scary.
Our rotational options off the bench or when the main men need a rest.
As much as we’ve got a warchest of over £200m to spend in the transfer market, we like bargains in Leipzig. I’ve mentioned before that I like to scour the youth squads of national teams, and Mexico always have a little gem waiting to be snapped up. It just so happens that Collazo was available on a free transfer after being released by Santos Laguna. He got 1,774 minutes of gametime this season, and he’s a very good back up option to have waiting in the wings. Great physicals, which I love, plus brilliant first touch, passing and vision attributes.
The shining light of the Red Bull Revolution so far. The 21-year-old Polish international arrived in Leipzig for £2.6m from Swedish side, Goteborg, in the 2019/20 season. He spent 20/21 on loan in Salzburg, laying on 17 goals and scoring 11 himself. His form for our sister club saw him play his way into contention for Leipzig this season, and he went on to make 17 starts and come off the bench 16 times to score 8 times and make 9 assists.
A four month injury lay off kept Pulisic out in the second half of the season, meaning he missed our main triumphs. He was playing a big role in the side before his injury though, as he was on the pitch for just over 1,000 minutes, made 5 assists and scored twice. He’s mainly utilised in the AM slot in between our two shadows and behind the striker. He’s been a good option for us so far since his £20m move from Dortmund in the 2019/20 season.
His time on the pitch is diminishing now as the seasons roll on, but he’s been a great servant for the club so far. Still just 23, Mihalcea made 11 starts and 8 sub appearances this season, scoring 2 and assisting 2. A mere £1.1m signing in the summer of my first season at the club, he’s been overtaken now in the pecking order by the other midfield talents you’ve seen, but he still comes in from time to time and performs far better than his average attributes suggest he should.
Another product of the RBL youth system, but not one we brought through the club’s youth intakes. Majetschak is already an RBL player when you start a save with them, and it’s been great seeing him develop as the seasons have gone on. After a relatively successful loan spell at Hoffenheim in the BuLi last season, I decided to have him in and around the first team this season, after he’d only made 2 or 3 appearances each season up until now. He didn’t contribute much in terms of output, but it’s always nice to have a homegrown player in the squad.
There’s only one main man we’re calling out that led the forward line this season.
He was mentioned at the halfway mark of season 6, and at the end of the season update too. The shift to our striker role being a deep lying forward on support, plus the move to shift #Timouptop has been a masterstroke in all honesty! He was on ? this season. 2nd behind Fruchtl for most minutes on the pitch, he scored 31 goals and had 19 assists too. That’s a goal or assist every 72 minutes. He broke the club records for goals and league goals scored in a season, he’s now our all time record league goalscorer, he won the European Golden Shoe, he was BuLi player of the year and he was in the CL and BuLi team of the year. Timoooooo ?
Timo needed a rest sometimes. Here’s who filled in for him.
He scored 33 goals in 2 seasons of being our main striker. It’s good, but looking at Timo’s numbers for this season, I think I was vindicated in my decision to search for an upgraded alternative to Dadachov. When I started the save, I didn’t think I’d ever seen a 17-year-old non-newgen so well developed attributes-wise. Fast forward 6 seasons, and he’s not really kicked on. 10 goals in the 1,180 minutes he did get this season when Timo needed a rest wasn’t too bad at all.
Talking of players not really kicking on, or impressing when they’ve been called upon, step forward Vlahovic. He signed for £850k in 2017/18, had a great loan spell with Stuttgart in the BuLi the season after, but just hasn’t been able to do it for us when called upon. He scored 2 goals this season, both in the DFB-Pokal. He’s one of those players that you want to sell on, but you know you’re never going to get anything near his current value if you attempt it.
There you have it. The players that contributed to our oh-so-near, almost 100% invincible season. Thanks for reading, hopefully it gave you a bit more of an insight into the players that’ve served me so well so far in the RBL save.