The final home game of the year is just around the corner, and the Roten Bullen are looking to continue their perfect form at home this season before heading into the winter break. On Saturday afternoon (15:30 CET), RB Leipzig host 1. FC Köln.
Ahead of the game, head coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke about the upcoming game, as well as giving an update on the squad.
Julian Nagelsmann on...
...the upcoming opponents:
- "Markus Gisdol has brought stabilty to the team. They have become a strong team away from home and are extremely versatile. They are very good at transitioning from defending deep to their counterpress, and are even better in this regard than other so-called 'stronger' teams.
However, there will still be areas which we will be able to exploit. We will have to take advantage in order to have a strong end to the year."
...the current situation:
- "I'm happy with our current position in the league and would also be happy to pick up three points tomorrow. Winning is a lot of fun! I want to win both our next two competitive games. But, of course I'm also looking forward to having a few days off after that."
...potentially playing a front two of Poulsen/Sørloth:
- "The games in which we've played with more midfielders have been amongst our most successful, because we were more versatile in those games. I rarely make a decision based on a specific formation, but rather instead based on which players are currently in form. It could be the case that we play with a front two against Köln and even in the new year."
...new signing Dominik Szoboszlai :
- "We spoke shortly after his arrival. Dominik is a very nice young man and makes a good impression, especially in terms of his physicality.
He can play at different positions in attacking midfield. The intense nature of this position requires a lot from players, which is why he will definitely help us in this area.
He's got an exceptional right foot, and has a knack for set pieces as well. He's definitely a candidate to set up plenty of goals and to score several himself as well. I'm convinced that his self-confidence will be high when he joins us and that he will be of great help to the team!"
...RBL academy players:
- "I always try to reward our academy players. Joscha Wosz and Eric Martel are a good example of players that always give their all in training. Whether or not their efforts result in playing time depends on the current status of our squad.
The deciding factor is that they have the right mentality, because they all already have the talent needed. Our academy does great work, and we've taken several steps in the right direction."
+++ Squad Update +++
- Marcel Sabitzer and Dayot Upamecano both picked up slight knocks against Hoffenheim. It remains to be seen whether they will start against Köln.
- Justin Kluivert also picked up a knock against TSG and will not feature against Köln. The goal is to have him back in time for the DFB-Pokal game against Augsburg.
- Ibrahima Konaté suffered a slight tendon injury against TSG and will be out for the remainder of the year.
- Christopher Nkunku is still recovering from an ankle injury and will not feature against Köln. According to Nagelsmann, he could be an option against Augsburg.
- Laki Samardzic will be eased back into team training as of this Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. He could be an option for the squad for the DFB-Pokal game against Augsburg.
- Lukas Klostermann continues to be eased into a return to team training and will be fully fit again in the new year.
- Benjamin Henrichs, Hee-chan Hwang and Konrad Laimer are all not yet an option.