The Competition: Who Does Adams Need to Beat for a Spot in Leipzig


One of New York Red Bulls highest touted prospects in team history has moved up the corporate ladder and will now fight for a spot in the starting line-up with Ralf Rangnick’s RB Leipzig team in the German Bundesliga. The move isn’t surprising but it may not be known just how much competition Adams will need to overcome in order to make that first team sheet.

The Competition: Who Does Adams Need to Beat for a Spot in Leipzig

“As a young player, it’s something quite special to soon be playing in the Bundesliga,” said Adams. “I think of this league when I think of a lot of young talents that have made the next step in their development in the Bundesliga. That’s a philosophy Leipzig have, so it’s the right move for me to continue my development.”

Rangnick’s admits that Adams strengthens the central midfield dispels the rumors of him potentially being a right back option at least for now. It does however put him in a fierce competition with veteran players that are not interested in giving up their spots with Champions League football potentially in the future.

“We have been following Tyler’s progress intensely,” said Leipzig manager Rangnick. “This season, despite being just 19 years old, he put in some brilliant performances for New York Red Bulls, and he’s also been playing for the USA senior team since November 2017. We’re convinced Tyler is in the right position to strengthen our central midfield. We’re really pleased that he’s moving here and we’re certain that he’ll make the next step in his development in the Bundesliga.”

The Competition:

Kevin Kampl

Kampl is a midfielder that has been multi-purpose for Rangnick, even playing in the wings in this weekend’s win over Monchengladbach. His long history with the team also means that Rangnick has a plan for the 28-year old German who has proven to be a force over the past two years with the club.

Before coming to East German, Kampl honed his craft at Bayer Leverkusen before eventually making his way into Red Bull Salzburg in 2012. He remained there for three seasons as a consistent starter, maxing out at 51 appearances between continental and domestic play in 2014. That season he scored a career high 14 goals. From there he bounced from Dortmund back to Leverkusen before returning to the Red Bull system with Leipzig.

Kampl has a lead in the race not just for his experience in the Bundesliga but also his ability to adjust to whatever Rangnick asks him to do. Adams will need equal malleablity if he hopes to move past Kampl in the charts. There is also the possibility that Adams arrival means that a player like Kampl will be transferred. However, that likelihood is low considering how necessary a player the German has become for Leipzig’s championship hopes.

Diego Demme

Demme is another midfielder groomed in the Red Bull system. More importantly, his time has been almost exclusive with Leipzig. He joined the club in 2014, three seasons before the team’s meteoric rise to the first division. Over those years he has played no less than 16 games in each of the team’s campaigns, proving to be an irreplaceable piece to the puzzle under both Rangnick and the previous manager Ralf Hassenhutl.

His position is a bit more solid as a central defensive midfielder, even doubling as a center back when the team was bitten by the injury bug late last season. He has been solid when called upon and durable. He is also a player that is reaching the “old” age for Leipzig and may be on the transfer block as well, opening up a spot for Adams should he make the selection decision difficult.

Other Possibilities

There is also the chance that Rangnick doesn’t see Adams as being a midfielder. In that case, the young American may see himself competing with the likes of Lukas Klostermann or Marcelo Saracchi. For the moment that is not something that appears is in discussion but the season is long and if Leipzig continue on in the Europa League, the likelihood of Adams being needed to give other players rest grows larger.

Adams’ chances on the team will greatly depend on Leipzig’s master plans over the next few years. Either way the young midfielder will need to prove his skills outside of MLS if he wants to remain in the grand scheme of things as a new manager, Julian Nagelsmann, takes over at the club next year.

Photo by Steve Hamlin

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