THE remarkable rise of RasenBallsport Leipzig from the fifth tier of German football to the prominent position they now occupy has, even with the not inconsiderable financial backing of their owners Red Bull, taken many in the European game aback in recent seasons.
Brendan Rodgers, however, is not one of them. He received an early indication of just how ambitious the unfashionable club from the former East Germany were during his time in charge of Liverpool when he had a lengthy discussion with their legendary manager Ralf Rangnick.
The vision that Rangnick, the former VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96 and Schalke 04 head coach who had helped 1899 Hoffenheim complete their own incredible journey from obscurity to the top flight in his homeland, had shone through.
So the subsequent success of the Saxony outfit – they were second in the Bundesliga going into the weekend and are competing in the Europa League group stages for the second season running – who Celtic will take on in the Red Bull Arena on Thursday evening has come as little surprise to Rodgers.
“I’ve never met Ralf, but I spoke to him on the phone when I was at Liverpool when they were in the second …read more