RB Leipzig had to wait to find out who they would be drawn with as they were in pot 4, but when they did they had to be happy. Drawn with Zenit St. Petersburgh, Olympique Lyonnaise, and SL Benfica, Leipzig avoided many of the massive clubs such as Manchseter City Liverpool and Real Madrid.
Instead they got a group that sets them up to advance, if not win. It won’t be easy, unlike some groups that have clear worse teams, this groups should provide competitive matches throughout. Leipzig is the most talented team, playing in the best league, but their opponents won’t go away without a fight. This is definitely a great opportunity for Leipzig, but no game will come easy, and they will have to be up to the task every time they step on to the field if they are going to advance.
Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg didn’t have to wait as long to find out who they would face, as they sat in pot 3. Salzburg looks set to cruise in the Austrian league, so Champions League is the big test for them.
After two solid campaigns in the Europa league, they earned a chance to test themselves on the biggest stage. When all the balls were drawn, Salzburg was left with a group featuring Liverpool, Napoli and Genk. This is a tough group with Liverpool being a clear favorite but the gap between Salzburg, Napoli, and Genk is not massive, and all 3 will fight for the chance to advance. Jesse Marsch will need to make sure his young team is ready for the big stage.
One of the most interesting matchups of the group stage will be when Salzburg host Liverpool. The game is already sold out, and will also be the first time Naby Keita and Sadio Mane return to Red Bull Arena. Before they were stars in the premier league both players rose to prominence as top prospects at Salzburg.