Red Bull, it gives you wings.
The 2019/20 season has seen Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig put in excellent performances both domestically and in the Champions League.
Salzburg have been an attacking revelation, scoring 94 goals across all competitions, leading the Austrian Bundesliga and still in with a chance of reaching the Champions League knockout stages.
Meanwhile in Germany, Leipzig sit second in the Bundesliga and have already secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League, enjoying life under new manager Julian Nagelsmann.
Both, as many are aware, are owned by Red Bull as shown by the names of the two clubs; although the RB in Leipzig officially stands for RasenBallsport, which is a clever ploy for the brand to be recognised despite strict Bundesliga naming rules.
Over the past few years, Leipzig have signed players from Salzburg – including currently Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita – but this season both clubs have teams that could rival each other.
That led us to wonder, who would get into a team made up of both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg’s current stars? And how good would they be?
Goalkeeper: Peter Gulasci (RB Leipzig)
RB Leipzig boast the second best defence in the Bundesliga this season, conceding 16 goals in their 14 games so far. A big part of the reason for that is the performance of Gulasci. The 29-year-old has been reliable for the most part, making 35 saves so far, not letting a few errors across the campaign dent his overall impact.
Key stat: Peter Gulasci has saved 69.05% of the shots he’s faced in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season.
Right-back: Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig)
Due to injury problems, Lukas Klostermann has played all across the backline for RB Leizpig but when everyone is fit he slots seamlessly into his right-back role. The 23-year-old is a capable attacker, recording two assists so far, but is much more effective when focusing on defending, as shown by Nagelsmann’s use of him at centre-back.
Key stat: Lukas Klostermann has won 51 duels in the Bundesliga this season.
Centre-back: Maximilian Wober (Red Bull Salzburg)
A summer arrival from Sevilla, Maximilian Wober has been excellent in the heart of Salzburg’s defence but also provides good cover at left-back when required. The Austrian, 21, has played every minute of Salzburg’s Champions League run so far and has done his best to provide cover for the club’s very attack-minded gameplan.
Key stat: Maximilian Wober has averaged 4.2 duels won per 90 minutes in the Champions League this season.
Centre-back: Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
One of the most highly-rated young centre-backs in Europe, Dayot Upamecano has continued to improved this season after being linked with a move away from Leipzig in the summer. The 21-year-old is strong, quick and good on the ball, which all represent wonderful aspects for a modern centre-back to have. He has also been key to Leipzig’s defence this season, as they sit second in the Bundesliga.
Key stat: Dayot Upamecano has completed 89.21% of his passes in Bundesliga this season.
Left-back: Andreas Ulmer (Red Bull Salzburg)
In our theoretical team, Andreas Ulmer would be doing all the creative work of the full-backs, such is his strength going forward. In a team like Salzburg, the 34-year-old has been flourishing this season – his 11th year with the club – already recording more assists than he managed last season. Given that Ulmer is Salzburg’s captain, when he retires it will be a big loss for the club.
Key stat: Andreas Ulmer has recorded five assists in the Austrian Bundesliga this season.
Centre-midfielder: Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
Moving into the midfield, Konrad Laimer has been a wonderful destroyer for Leipzig this season, helping to protect the defence. Signed from Salzburg in 2017 to eventually replace Naby Keita, Laimer actually featured at right-back for a while, where he enhanced his tackling skills to become an excellent central midfielder under Nagelsmann.
Key stat: Konrad Laimer (25) has made more tackles than any other player in the Champions League group stage this season.
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Centre-midfielder: Zlatko Junuzovic (Red Bull Salzburg)
In a team as attacking as Salzburg, it helps to have creativity across the pitch, and in the middle of the pitch Zlatko Junuzovic provides that. The 32-year-old works well alongside Enock Mwepu in Salzburg’s middle, being given the freedom to push forward slightly more, joining the attacking stars – but he is also capable of defending.
Key stat: Zlatko Junuzovic has provided six assists across all competitions this season.
Right-winger: Hwang Hee-chan (Red Bull Salzburg)
All of the focus this season has been on Erling Braut Håland, meaning Hwang Hee-chan has gone slightly under the radar. But the South Korean continues to excel in attack, proving to be the perfect partner to the Norway international, adding both goals and assists for Salzburg. Although he plays as a centre forward for Salzburg, when representing South Korea the 23-year-old finds himself on the right wing and that’s where he fits into our attack-heavy side.
Key stat: Hwang Hee-chan has been directly involved in 21 goals across all competitions this season (nine goals, 12 assists).
Left-winger: Takumi Minamino (Red Bull Salzburg)
Another of Salzburg’s attackers, it would have been hard to overlook the contribution of Takumi Minamino. The 24-year-old has been such a key player both with scoring goals and setting up teammates, particularly shining in Salzburg’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool earlier in the season. Although he does play mostly on the right, he has to move over in our team such is the quality in attack.
Key stat: Takumi Minamino has been directly involved in 19 goals this season, scoring nine and recording 10 assists.
Striker: Erling Braut Håland (Red Bull Salzburg)
Is there a better young striker than Erling Braut Håland in the world right now? The 19-year-old has a simply ridiculous 28 goals in 21 games across all competitions this season including eight in the Champions League. This comes after he scored nine goals in one game for Norway at the Under-20 World Cup in the summer. Håland’s performances have led to interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe and it may not be long before he moves on.
Key stat: Erling Braut Håland has scored five hat-tricks across all competitions this season.
Red Bull gives you w̶i̶i̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗼𝗮𝗹𝘀 pic.twitter.com/ajbKERiGHS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 22, 2019
Striker: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Timo Werner has been good for a while but the German may be having his best season yet. Across all competitions Werner has 19 goals in 21 games and averages a goal every 89 minutes, despite only scoring in 11 matches. His goals are a big reason behind Leipzig’s success but he has also been a key creator, recording five assists. He is a perfect all-rounder and – like Håland – Werner has been linked with a move away from his club and may find himself somewhere new soon.
Key stat: Timo Werner (20) has been directly involved in more goals than any other player in the Bundesliga this season.
Honourable mentions: Cican Stankovic (Red Bull Salzburg), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Enock Mwepu (Red Bull Salzburg), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig).