Southampton’s pre-season campaign began with a 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig in a 105-minute contest at Lavanttal-Arena.
All five of the club’s summer signings played some part, with Gavin Bazunu making a spectacular save early in a goalless first half.
Leipzig, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, took the lead nine minutes into the second period when former Manchester City left-back Angeliño arrowed a free-kick into the bottom corner.
A Saints side showing a raft of changes drew level through Adam Armstrong’s glancing header on 65 minutes, but Emil Forsberg immediately restored Leipzig’s lead, before Ilaix Moriba finished the job with a stunning late third from distance.
Saints started the match with four debutants in their starting line-up, with Bazunu in goal, Armel Bella-Kotchap on the right side of a three-man defence, Roméo Lavia partnering Ibrahima Diallo in midfield, and Joe Aribo on the right of a front three spearheaded by Nathan Tella.
There was an early moment of alarm when captain Jan Bednarek tugged back Alexander Sørloth, going into the book inside two minutes, before Forsberg’s resulting free-kick was deflected wide.
Bazunu’s first involvement was mightily impressive – a flying one-handed save high to his left to thwart Dominik Szoboszlai’s fierce first-time shot from 25 yards that was bound for the top corner.
Saints responded with some neat link-up play between Kyle Walker-Peters and Aribo near the corner flag, opening up space for Diallo to let fly with a cleanly-struck left-footed shot that rose just over the angle of post and bar.
With both sides contesting their first friendly of the summer, a drinks break was called after 26 minutes – a welcome opportunity to take a breather in the 26°C heat of southern Austria.
Saints were more energised after the break, as Moussa Djenepo broke down the left and crossed low for Tella, who mistimed his effort from a promising position, before Lavia confidently strode forward and drilled a low shot wide from the edge of the box.
Bazunu’s afternoon was cut short at half time, having claimed a couple of crosses with authority, as Alex McCarthy donned the gloves for the second period.
Unfortunately, the substitute was picking the ball out of his net within nine minutes, as Angeliño arrowed a low free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner after Sørloth was upended by Mohammed Salisu.
Leipzig, Europa League semi-finalists and German Cup winners last season, immediately made half a dozen changes to their side, while Ralph Hasenhüttl introduced a whole new outfield XI on the hour.
It did not take long for the new-look Saints to make their mark, as Will Smallbone’s teasing cross from the right was cleverly glanced in at the near post by Armstrong, whose deft touch found the net via the inside of the far post.
Parity was short-lived, as Forsberg latched on to a clever reverse pass from Dani Olmo and drove a low shot across McCarthy to restore the Germans’ lead three minutes later.
The electrifying start to the second half gave way to a gentler pace thereafter, but Moriba signed off in style with a spectacular long-range strike that flew past the helpless McCarthy with the last kick of the 90 minutes.
An additional 15-minute period was to follow, meaning the majority of Saints’ outfield substitutes were afforded 45 minutes of action.
In goal, Mateusz Lis became the club’s fifth debutant of the day, instantly making a smart save low to his left to deny Xavier Schlager, while youngster Diamond Edwards took the tally of Saints player involvements to 24.
Smallbone, who created the goal for Armstrong, nearly repeated the trick with a low ball to the far post that was lifted over the crossbar by Thierry Small from close range, leaving the 17-year-old frustrated with himself despite the tight angle.