Kevin, we’re second in the Bundesliga and second in our UEFA Champions League group. We’re also in the second round of the DFB-Pokal. What, in your opinion, are the reasons behind this – yet another – successful start?
Firstly, we’ve got a really good team with absolute top players. We’ve even been able to compensate for losing Timo Werner. We’ve grown even closer together as a team and everyone is giving even more. Secondly, we’ve all maintained our appetite for success – we’ve already seen how special it can be to play in a Champions League semi-final. Despite the absence of spectators on that night in Lisbon, it was an unbelievable experience, and we’re hungry for more! The set-up of our team and the quality that we have, combined with our desire to enjoy more such moments have been key to our success so far.
There are a number of big games coming up over the next few weeks. How are you approaching this tough run mentally?
I’m really looking forward to it! We always want to test ourselves against the top teams, so this imminent run of games offers something special for us. Our Champions League group especially has really strong sides in it this season and we’re all excited for every one of these games. This is why we play football – that’s our mission, to measure ourselves against the best teams in Europe. Even though the run up to Christmas now will be packed with games, which means we’ll have to make sure we recover well between each one, we’re looking forward to what lies ahead. In the current climate, which is difficult for everyone, we are just grateful for even being able to play football and do our jobs. And I can promise you this: We are giving everything to try and give our fans entertaining games to watch in front of the TV, and hopefully something for them to celebrate too – that’s our goal.
You mentioned the quality of our Champions League group. We’ve got some deciding games ahead of us. What will be the key to winning these games and ideally progressing to the last 16?
We need to be brave, just like we were in the last game at home to PSG. We showed that we can beat teams of this calibre. Even though they were missing two of the best players in the world in Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, who normally raise the standard even more, we showed that if we are brave and committed, we can not only hold our own against them, but actually be the better team on the pitch. When you come up against these teams, the best recipe for success is to show character, ambition and desire.
The big game against FC Bayern is also on the horizon…
We’ll be focusing on the league games against Frankfurt and Bielefeld and the European fixtures in Paris and Istanbul first – only then will we start thinking about our game against Bayern. Obviously we’ll be trying to win in Munich as well, but we know how unbelievably hard it is to beat FC Bayern. You need a perfect day, where everything goes to plan. It also has to be said, however, that we are in a great position ourselves. We’re second in the league and we want to keep fighting at the top of the table.
Kevin Kampl as an RB Leipzig player
Our coach Julian Nagelsmann is constantly developing the team. What is special about his work here in your opinion?
With Julian Nagelsmann you can just always sense his strong desire as a coach and that he’s always striving to improve. He always wants to take the team to the next level and he is never satisfied – he’s always thinking about the next step he needs to take in order for us to keep improving. This desire has rubbed off on us and the whole team is absorbing the attitude. Everything Julian tries to teach us works extremely well. That’s especially down to him being a young, highly-motivated coach, whose methods are perfectly suited to RB Leipzig’s philosophy and to our young team. That’s how you keep developing and reaching new levels from season to season. Our increasing experience internationally is also helping us find new ways of winning games and influencing how confidently we approach games, even against top teams. Our coach sets us up for all these things perfectly – especially psychologically.
What are your aims as a team?
When you’re playing for an ambitious club like RB Leipzig, where the club is making continuous progress and you’ve come close to glory, playing in the Champions League semi-final or the DFB-Pokal final, it would of course be nice for everyone, for players, for fans, for the whole club, if we were to win a title. That would be the absolute pinnacle and would really top off the club’s history. It is our biggest goal, which we’re all giving everything for, to someday win a title together.
Thank you very much for the inteview, Kevin!