Episode V! Die Roten Bullen entertain Benfica in the fifth Champions League game of the season and will be fighting to secure their place in the knockout stages. One point against the Lisbon side will be enough for the current Group G leaders to confirm a place in the last 16.
Julian Nagelsmann and Emil Forsberg spoke in a press conference about the task at hand and the current squad situation.
Coach Julian Nagelsmann:
- "Reaching the knockout stages would be a great achievement for this team and for the club. I would be especially pleased for the lads - it would be a just reward for all their hard work, during last season as well. It's always nice to be part of a new chapter for the club.
I'm expecting the opponent to set up in a similar way to the reverse fixture. Sure, there will be the odd change of personnel, but Benfica will look to play their way through, which is how they caused us a few problems in Portugal. In my opinion, this was the hardest game of the group stage so far.
Benfica will play to win and will have to increase their efforts going forward as the game goes on, in order to keep their hopes of the last 16 alive. Hopefully, this will give us room to play to our strengths.
Die Grundmentalität meiner Jungs ist außergewöhnlich! Egal ob Mentalitätsspieler wie Konrad Laimer oder fußballerische Feingeister wie Emil Forsberg. Jeder legt wenn es darauf ankommt einen wahnsinnigen Kampfgeist an den Tag, führt viele gute Zweikämpfe und beackert das ganze Feld. Wir haben eine gute Kombination aus Feingeist-Momenten und Einsatz. Das spricht für die gute Ausblidung des Klubs, schon in den vergangenen Jahren und prägt die Philosophie in Leipzig.“
My players' fundamental mentality is exceptional! Regardless of whether you're a mentality man like Konrad Laimer, or a football genius like Emil Forsberg, everyone is going into every game and every challenge with an unbelievable fighting spirit. We're enjoying a good mix of great footballing moments and pure effort. This speaks volumes for the club's training philosophy."
- "As a player you live for games like this - this is why we play football. It would obviously be an unreal experience for our fans if we made the last 16, but it is a dream for all of us players as well, because you always want to compete with the very best!
Benfica are a good side who like to play football, just like us, so we need to be 100 percent focused!
I'm not thinking a lot at all about injury problems in our defence. We've got a lot of good players who can take responsibility. Everyone who comes in will deliver!
I too have a long injury spell behind me, but I feel good and fit now. Obviously you still have to think about your own body and at the end of the day, the coach will decide who plays. We've got a superb team and are playing well, regardless of who's on the pitch."
- Yussuf Poulsen has recovered from his ankle problems and is available.
- Marcel Halstenberg, on the other hand, is suffering from some muscle pain in his ankle. He is a doubt for Wednesday.
- Whether Nordi Mukiele (muscle strain) and Dayot Upamecano (ankle bruising) will play is also uncertain.