Being blunt, the fact RB Leipzig have reached the semi-finals has surprised everyone (including arrogant Matthaus) in Germany.
In fact, there was not one single expert out there, or super-computer that thought either Rangers or Leipzig had any chance to win the cup. And that is why the so-called big teams were all so wrong to try to shut the small teams out of these competition.
So how to RB Leipzig play? To be blunt, if it was not for their fluidity in attack, Leipzig, under their new manager Domenico Tedesco, would be so boring to watch you would need frequent electric shocks to keep you awake.
They are a simple zonal team, with a central defence line that forces opponents to play wide.
And for most of the teams they play against this tactic works, because the best scoring chances occur in the middle of the box.
However, this plays to Rangers’ strengths. With Borna Barišić storming down one side, and Tavernier (the Europa League joint top scorer) storming down the other side, I can finally see why Amad Diallo was deployed last week against Motherwell.
With Kent and Diallo both being attack minded dribblers, and Fashion Sakala enjoying far more room than he would ever get in the SFL, and with Tavernier being top joint scorer, Rangers have a unique attacking formation that can cause trouble to any defensive line.
In fact, we have goal scorers throughout our team. Arfield can pop in a few, as can Aribo. And we have another very strong attacking defender in Bassey.
So, yep Leipzig do have a formidable front line. This is something that cannot be ignored, and their team is worth a cool £360 million, but we have already played against better teams. Teams that are more dynamic, and more tactically aware.
As with all German teams, their primary strength is they seldom make mistakes.
With Leipzig is considered to be a more defensive-minded team this could become a very tactical match. Unlike other teams we have played, Leipzig do their homework, and we can expect Kent to be closely watched throughout the match. But with Leipzig’s strict zonal system, I expect Kent to have far more freedom than he did against Dortmund.
And this tactical rigidity is the real weakness in Domenico Tedesco’s team.
When they are playing against players who do the unexpected, and they are no longer able to call upon a prior tactical game plan that has been already thought out. The players, individually, sometimes hesitate a split second. This hesitation creates gaps that players such as Kent, Sakala, Arfield, Tavernier, and Aribo can take advantage of.
Overall, I predict a very tight game, with Rangers surprising the Germans again with a 2-1 win.
It’s time for Rangers to complete the long journey.