RB Leipzig have made the headlines this season by their surprising push to the top of the Bundesliga table. They are currently unbeaten in the league and lead the Bundesliga standings by three points. However, a lesser known fact is that Indian goalkeeper Subrata Pal underwent a trial with the Bundesliga outfit back in 2012 when they were plying their trade in the fourth division.
Subrata, hailing from West Bengal, was a product of the renowned Tata Football Academy and was also a regular member of India’s U-16 to U-20 level sides. His consistency at club level and for the youth sides earned him a call-up to the India senior team under coach Bob Houghton.
Subrata was India’s first-choice keeper in their 2007 Nehru Cup triumph in New Delhi and was adjudged the Best Goalkeeper of the I-League later that year.
However, 2009 turned out to be Subrata’s best season of his career and he played a pivotal role for both club and country. The highlight of his performance came in the Nehru Cup final against Syria when he made three crucial saves in the penalty shootout to guide India to the crown. Subrata’s efforts were rightly rewarded when he was awarded the AIFF Player of The Year Award in 2009 and became the first goalkeeper to win the accolade.
Subrata underwent trials at a number of European clubs
Subrata’s first overseas trial came in 2010 with Canadian outfit Vancouver Whitecaps but he missed out on a permanent contract. However, the experience made him a better goal-keeper. The Indian shot-stopper’s first European expedition was a training-cum-trial stint at Red Bull Leipzig where he impressed the coaching staff, but the club felt that signing Subrata for the upcoming 2012/13 season was not possible due to various issues, including player registration.
Perry Brautigam, Leipzig’s goal-keeping coach, also showered immense praise on Subrata’s talent. The shot-stopper also had a stint at Denmark’s FC Vestsjaelland, a Danish top-flight team, and played in three games for the reserves side.
RB Leipzig have created quite an impression in the Bundesliga so far this season with their dominating performances. They are unbeaten in the league and have already beaten title contenders Borussia Dortmund in their run to the top of the table. Leipzig will face Schalke on matchday 13 as they look to continue their run.