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End of season burnout could cost RB Leipzig place in Champions League
14 March 2017, 11:50
End of season burnout could cost RB Leipzig place in Champions League

Up until February, Bundesliga newbies RB Leipzig were in the running to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the history of German football by winning the top flight title, despite achieving promotion from 2. Bundesliga for the first time in their history just last season.

Of course, with the financial might of energy drinks giants Red Bull behind them, RB Leipzig were expected to adjust to Bundesliga football comfortably, perhaps achieving a mid-table finish, but few expected them to challenge for the title.

However, despite a glimmer of hope, with just 10 matches left to play this season, it now appears that their dreams of actually achieving the unachievable are all but over.

Last weekend saw RB Leipzig suffer an embarrassing defeat to Wolfsburg, who have struggled to pick up points throughout the season. Andries Jonker’s side are currently avoiding the relegation zone by goal difference alone, yet they were able to snatch all three points against Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena.

The defeat allowed table-toppers Bayern Munich to go 10 points clear at the top of the table, meaning that the title race is now effectively over. Bayern have dropped just nine points in their last 17 games and, currently enjoying a 13 match unbeaten run, they are unlikely to offer Leipzig the chance to catch them over the next two months.

Regardless of whether or not RB Leipzig claim the title, this season will be counted as a huge success, so long as they finish in one of the four Champions League spots on offer.

In second place with a six point lead over third placed Borussia Dortmund, you would expect Leipzig to secure a top four finish comfortably. However, going by their recent form, there is still a chance that things could unravel, with Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin also still within touching distance of the unpopular club. With three defeats in their last six games, there is still plenty of time for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side to screw up, with just nine points separating them from fifth placed Berlin.

Despite remaining unbeaten in the Bundesliga until December, Leipzig have now lost five matches in recent months and it is clear that they are beginning to suffer burnout. That is to be expected - this is the first time playing in a league of this intensity for many of their players and they were always likely to suffer a dip in form as the month’s went on.

However, with just months remaining until the end of the season, they need to find a second wind to get them over the finish line - or else, for all their hard work this season, they may have nothing to show for it come May.

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