RB Leipzig’s Promotion Shows that Davie Selke was Right to Join Them

Last summer, Davie Selke shocked Werder Bremen and most Bundesliga fans after he decided to leave the club for second tier side RB Leipzig. After having a very good season with Bremen in the top flight, scoring 10 goals and pairing with Franco di Santo to give Werder a lethal attack during 2014/2015 campaign, it didn’t make much sense as to why he decided to go to Leipzig. The move was very controversial, as it is unheard of that a talented young player voluntarily moves down a tier after establishing himself at the game’s highest level, and created a great deal of unhappiness among Werder fans with the young striker, who had just joined the club in 2013 from the Hoffenheim youth system.

Selke’s eight million euro move shattered the 2.Bundesliga transfer record, which caused many to hate RB Leipzig even more than they already did. But one year later, after everything went to plan with RB gaining promotion, his decision looks much better than it did before. That is because Werder Bremen barely stayed up last season, and after losing Jannik Vestergaard already this summer, the green-whites could be in dire trouble again. Meanwhile Leipzig are only getting better, and will probably finish ahead of Werder this season with the mentality that they employ.

RB Leipzig Met the Expectations

The main reason why Selke went to RB was the fact that they were expected to gain promotion from the second tier last season. After a disappointing first season in the second tier that saw Leipzig finish 4th, they needed an upgrade. The addition of Selke along with all of their other exceptional players made them perhaps one of the most talented 2. Bundesliga sides ever. RB were expected to be in the top flight this year. And this is exactly what happened, as RB finished second place in the 2.Bundesliga and are now in the Bundesliga, which is where a player like Selke belongs.

Davie Selke
Davie Selke

And since RB are in the top flight, they are in the same league as Bremen, except RB actually look like the better side on paper. Player like Selke, Emil Forsberg, Marcel Sabitzer and others are much more talented than most of the players on Bremen’s current roster. Since this is the case, Selke looks like a smart man these days, because even though he cost himself a year of Bundesliga football with Bremen, it looks like he’s in a better situation this season and in the long run. After Leipzig met the expectations with their automatic Bundesliga promotion, Selke’s decision looked wise right away considering the state of the two clubs.

Most fans and pundits are expecting Leipzig to finish ahead of Bremen and not have any problems staying up due to their talent. And after Werder barely escaped relegation last season, they could be one of the early favorites to get relegated this season. This reality is part of why Selke left the club, and it’s why he went to Leipzig who, barring unforeseen circumstances, will stay up and possibly finish in the top half of the league. If RB perform at the level that they’re capable of, Selke will look even smarter than he already does since all of the things that he was promised would have come to light.

State Of Both Clubs

Besides the fact that RB Leipzig as a club have done their part in justifying Selke’s decision, Werder Bremen have also justified Selke’s move for all of the wrong reasons. As mentioned earlier they barely stayed up this past season, which wasn’t very surprising for most fans. Since they performed at the dismal level that most of us expected them to, it looks ok that Selke left what looks like a sinking ship.

Bremen are a sinking ship since they’ve already lost one of their key players from last season in Vestergaard, and they also lost Levin Oztunali as well since his loan deal has expired. Besides those two, key player Papy Djilobodji is returning to Chelsea, and who knows what they will get from a Claudio Pizarro, who was brilliant last season but will turn 38 in October. With holes to fill, and the question marks surrounding Pizarro, Werder look like a team who will be in serious danger of relegation. Combine that with the fact that they haven’t spent a lot of money at all in recent seasons and they look like they’re a side nowhere near where RB Leipzig is at the moment.

Since Bremen are in the state that they’re in as a club, there is no denying that Selke was smart to jump ship. They’ve become a club that is happy with staying in the Bundesliga, and just wants to scrape on by season after season. This kind of mentality isn’t what ambitious young players like Selke are into. He’s a top prospect and a German U-21 international who certainly wants to play for the senior team one day. The mentality that has infected Werder in recent seasons would hamper his efforts to become a full international, especially on a national team as competitive as Germany’s, and despite that fact that RB were in the second tier, their ambitions and financial clout are more suited to a rising young star. To be blunt, Werder currently behave like a small club, while RB desire to be a force in German football as soon as possible.

Since RB have the ambition that suits young players who aren’t quite good enough for a Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund just yet, they have a squad loaded with young stars like Selke. Even though this is their transfer policy under Ralf Rangnick, it wouldn’t work if the players didn’t share the club’s ambitions. The RB squad is filled with young stars. In addition to Forsberg and Sabitzer, the likes of Yussuf Poulsen, Willi Orban, Lukas Klostermann and others looking forward to make their mark in top flight football with the club from the former East Germany. Bremen would never be able to pay or attract talented players like this in their current state. That’s why Selke’s decision makes so much sense with RB in the Bundesliga now.

While Bremen hope to survive another Bundesliga campaign, RB Leipzig hope to be playing in Europe in the near future, with Selke being the talisman. The summer signings of Leipzig appear to reflect this ambition that they’ve had for a long time now. First they landed Ralph Hasenhüttl as manager, and more recently have signed young Timo Werner from Stuttgart, perhaps the poster boy in German football for a young talent not developing as expected at a club constantly struggling to survive.  With other signings such as Marius Müller from Kaiserslautern and Naby Keita from RB Salzburg, Leipzig are making their intentions clear.

According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Keita cost 11.25 million pounds, which is more than Werder spend in an entire summer window. Since RB are so financially superior to Bremen they are bound to make more signings than the Weserstadion club. That is just another reason for Selke to feel good about his decision, since he knows that RB will continue to buy while Werder continue to sell. Players like Keita, Werner and even Müller wouldn’t sign with a club that won’t help them go further in their careers like Bremen, but rather with a club like Leipzig.

That is exactly what Selke thought when he decided to leave Werder Bremen. The relative ambitions of Werder and Leipzig, and the superior financial clout and player talent of Leipzig, indicate that Selke’s unusual move to step down a tier may be the right one after all.


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Alex Lynch

Alex a passionate fan of the Bundesliga and German Football who resides in the United States, who also loves writing and talking about the Bundesliga.