By Christian Evans.
After selling Timo Werner to Chelsea in the summer many expected the RB Leipzig and their manager, Julian Nagelsmann, to struggle to find a replacement in an uncertain 2020 summer transfer window.
It’s a fear than now seems to have been well-founded as Leipzig have found the back of the net just 22 times in all competitions so far in the 2020/21 season, with seven of those coming across two games against a struggling Schalke side and second-tier Nurnberg.
Meanwhile, despite a difficult start to life at Chelsea, Werner has eight in 12 games and is thriving playing to the left of Tammy Abraham at Stamford Bridge.
Unsurprisingly, his departure has left a massive void in Nagelsmann’s team, one which has yet to be filled.
Surprisingly, Leipzig’s top scorer is Angelino, a left-back. That underlines the problem the Bundesliga side are having scoring goals.
It isn’t just the goals they’re missing, either. Leipzig are missing Werner’s movement off the ball, his vision, awareness, and his work rate. The German striker is a game-changer and without him, Leipzig don’t seem to have that player in their ranks since Werner’ departure.
It is borderline impossible to replace a player of Werner’s calibre — he scored more than 30% of Leipzig’s goals last season — and the club have failed to get anything from his replacements so far.
Hwang Hee-chan, their highly touted summer signing from RB Salzburg, has found the back of the net just once — in a DFB-Pokal game against Nurnberg. Meanwhile, loanee Justin Kluivert has underwhelmed or, more fairly, not featured, starting just once since arriving from Roma.
Alexander Sørloth is yet to score a goal for RB Leipzig in any competition so far this season.
It has to be said, so close to scoring his first Bundesliga goal..even had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for a offside.
The goal will come eventually… pic.twitter.com/cpndrcgLBw
— 🇳🇴 Football (@NORftbl) November 7, 2020
However, the biggest disappointment has been former Crystal Palace forward Alexander Sorloth. The Norwegian was fresh off a sensational 33-goal season with Trabzonspor and hopes were high in Leipzig.
Sorloth is a very physical forward, strong in the air, has great awareness, and is a good finisher — the Norwegian had all the tools to replace Werner, but has failed to hit the heights expected. He has just one assist and no goals in six games.
Sorloth wasn’t even on the bench for their recent Champions League game against Paris-Saint Germain, with Nagelsmann opting for Emil Forsberg and Dani Olmo up top.
After signing Sorloth in the summer, Leipzig’s technical director, Markus Krösche, claimed the Norweigan was “the club’s number one candidate” to replace Werner, but whether his absence from the squad is a sign Nagelsmann is beginning to lose faith, remains to be seen.
The goals that terrorised the Turkish Super Lig have so far been absent for Sorloth in Germany. Leipzig will hope he is able to find some following the international break, otherwise, they will be questioning their decision to spend £20m on the Norwegian.
If those goals don’t arrive, they will be looking to Yussuf Poulsen, Hwang, or Kluivert to step up. If neither scenario happens, Die Roten Bullen will likely face yet another season stuck behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga.