RB Leipzig was the first major German team to begin its regular season on Thursday night. As a result of finishing sixth in the previous Bundesliga season, they had to enter the UEFA Europa League in its second qualifying round.
They are the only German team that has to qualify for a major European competition ahead of the coming season.
Their opponents were the Swedish team BK Häcken and the first leg was in Leipzig.
RBL had early problems against the side that had already began its domestic season. But it was the class of the Saxon team that began to show and make the difference from late in the first half on. Just before halftime, RB Leipzig scored the opening two goals of the game, via Bruma and Matheus Cunha.
In the second half, the Bulls dominated and added two more goals without reply. Kevin Kampl and Jean-Kevin Augustin were the scores then.
The four-goal advantage is obviously a considerable one to take to Sweden for next week’s second leg. Yet, there are no impossibilities in soccer and the German side must still take that match seriously.
Still it is overwhelmingly likely that they will progress to the third of four qualifying rounds, where they would face Universitatea Craiova of Romania, staring in early August.
After the mostly abysmal showing in the previous European season by German Bundesliga teams and the even worse performance by the national team at the just concluded World Cup, German soccer is suddenly in crisis. Perhaps it is the worst such crisis it has ever experienced.
Thursday’s victory by RB Leipzig was a tiny step in the right direction, as far as that is concerned, but still a very necessary one.
Qualification to the Europa League, so long before the start of the domestic season, may be tedious for Leipzig, but it a must for German soccer.