The semi-final of the Champions League is almost here! On Tuesday evening, the Roten Bullen face top French club Paris Saint-Germain for a place in the UEFA Champions League final.
Our CEO Oliver Mintzlaff answered journalists’ questions ahead of the Champions League semi-final in a virtual press conference.
Oliver Mintzlaff on...
... making the semi-final:
“We’re a young club, and by making the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League we’ve done something that we never expected before the season. As a club that’s only played four seasons in the Bundesliga and is in the Champions League for just the second time, all of us – the team, coach, staff, the whole club – are of course extremely proud of what we’ve achieved. This has already been such a special and valuable experience which we’ve never had before.”
... head coach Julian Nagelsmann:
“Julian focuses on every little detail and is obsessed with success, in a positive sense. He’s also – like everyone else here – a great team player. He does such thorough analysis of the upcoming opponent and invests so much time and energy in ensuring that preparations for matchday are as good as possible. That is absolutely what distinguishes him as one of the best. Together with his team, Julian has been a huge part of how we have developed to where we are now and how we’ve been able to take the next steps and keep improving.”
... the tournament so far:
“We came to the Champions League tournament in Lisbon with a great feeling. The team and coaching staff have been very focused and above all confident from the start. That’s vital if you want to beat world-class teams such as Atlético Madrid and it allows us to give everything in the upcoming match against Paris Saint-Germain.”
... the young team:
“Yes, we have a young team, but this group has nonetheless been able to gather quite a lot of experience. Experience has nothing to do with age. We have a team that, despite its average age, is much more focused and can deal with the pressure of playing in a Champions League semi-final really well.”
... the format of the tournament:
“I find the tournament format of this year’s competition really interesting and good. It has something special, as all the ties are played over one leg. Although you do have to take into account that ties played over two legs mean that two matches are shown on TV, which does generate more revenue. You need to look at all the aspects of it.”
... the squad for the 2020/21 season:
“We’ll assemble a squad that allows us to qualify for the Champions League again next season. We already have a team that fits together magnificently, plays brilliantly and implements our philosophy perfectly. I’m convinced that we’ve put together a squad in good time and that the coach and sporting director are satisfied with it going into the new season.”
... restructuring at RB Leipzig:
- “As a young club, we have to keep adapting our structures, because the need for permanent changes does arise in the day-to-day running of the club. I put RB Leipzig up there as one of the five or six biggest clubs in Germany. We therefore operate on a large scale, and it isn’t enough to do that with just a sporting director.
For that reason, we wanted to match our responsibility as a business and operate better and on a wider scale. To achieve that, we need clear processes – both on an administrative as well as a sporting level.
Florian Scholz, who was previously working very closely in the sporting department, is now about 70% on that side. We want him to be able to take the ideas from the business side of the club much more directly into the sporting side. That also means that Markus Krösche and Christopher Vivell can concentrate on assembling the squad.
We’ve split things up in this way so that we can operate on a broader scale and at the same time distribute our skills so that we’re a more flexible organisation and that our areas of responsibility still fit together perfectly. That’s working very promisingly at the moment. All three individuals now have more responsibility and more room to work with. We think that, amongst many things, our youth system will now be able to function even quicker and better.”