From Liverpool to Leipzig via Tranmere: Peter Gulacsi's rise to the top


The former Liverpool, Tranmere and Hull goalkeeper is currently playing for Bundesliga table toppers RB Leipzig.

The rise of RB Leipzig has been a rapid and remarkable one, and one rather mirrored by their current number one Peter Gulacsi. The Hungarian was once a very promising young shot stopper, joining Liverpool from MTK Budapest at the age of 18, but by the time he was 23, Gulacsi had failed to register a single appearance in 5 years at Anfield and failed to impress on-loan at Tranmere, Hereford and Hull City.

Few would have predicted Gulacsi being the man between the sticks for the Bundesliga leaders a considerable way into the season just 3 years later, but that is where he finds himself. Where Bayern Munich have Manuel Neuer, RB Leipzig have Peter Gulacsi, and it is Leipzig who are currently leading the way in the German top flight. 

An ever-present for club and country, Gulacsi has kept 7 clean sheets in 17 appearances this season, including against the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg. Leipzig are yet to lose a game this season, and find themselves 3 points clear of Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.

GulacsiFormer Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi in action for RB Leipzig

Founded in 2009 by the energy drink company Red Bull, RB Leipzig started life in the fifth tier of German football, the equivalent to the English National League. Promoted four times in their seven full seasons as a football club, Leipzig completed their incredible rise by reaching the Bundesliga last season, finishing second in the Bundesliga 2 behind Freiburg. 

Despite their speedy ascent and willingness to spend money, few anticipated a start to life in the Bundesliga as accomplished as the one made by Ralph Hasenhuttl's men 12 games into the season.

Much of Leipzig's success has been attributed to Ralf Rangnick. The former defensive midfielder did a fine job with the likes of Hannover, Schalke and Hoffenheim, and has been working his magic at Leipzig since 2012.

Manuel Neuer - Germany celebrates with adidas Golden GlovesManuel Neuer is used to being goalkeeper in the team at the top of the Bundesliga

When RB Leipzig were founded, Peter Gulacsi was on-loan at then League One side Hereford. Leipzig's near 43,000 capacity Red Bull Arena is a far cry from Hereford's 4,913 capacity stadium Edgar Street, but it is a mark of the volatile nature of football that Hereford were in fact playing at a higher level than Leipzig at that time.

The Bulls have since been wound-up, and their phoenix club find themselves in the eighth tier of English football playing the likes of Paulton Rovers FC, whilst Leipzig sit above Bayern Munich and record wins away at Borussia Dortmund. 

Gulacsi himself played 18 games for Hereford, 19 times for Tranmere and 15 times for Hull City. It's fair to say he didn't set the world alight during those loan spells, and supporters of the English trio may be surprised by the rise of Gulacsi to becoming number one for both Hungary and the Bundesliga leaders.

Oliver Burke in action for RB LeipzigOliver Burke in action for RB Leipzig

Whilst 19-year-old Oliver Burke's switch from Nottingham Forest to RB Leipzig has received a great deal of coverage in the UK, even most supporters of the teams Gulacsi previously played for are unaware of his success story.

The Hungarian international left Liverpool in 2013, joining RB Leipzig on a free transfer. He spent two seasons in Austria, winning a league and cup double in both seasons, before switching from one Red Bull owned club to another for £2.5 million in July 2015.

He played just 15 games as Leipzig won promotion to the Bundesliga last season, but has been an ever-present during their remarkable start to the 2016/17 campaign, displacing former first choice Fabio Coltori, and it looks as though the 35-year-old Swiss will have a hard time dislodging Gulacsi now. 

Peter Gulacsi - Hull CityPeter Gulacsi during his time at Hull City

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