Business end of the year! Yet another midweek matchday awaits for RB Leipzig. This week, however, the boys will travel to TSG Hoffenheim's PreZero Arena in search of three more Bundesliga points, as opposed to squaring up against a Champions League opponent.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, head coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke about Wednesday night's clash (20:30 CET kick-off) and gave a squad update.
Julian Nagelsmann on ...
... facing his former club:
- "We want to win the game, whether it's my former club or not. We rode our luck in Hoffenheim last season. They played well and were actually the better side - it was their first game after changing head coach and they were desperate to qualify for Europe. This time, the situation is a different one. We will prepare for this game as we do for any other game and try and take the points, because we would like to remain competitive at the top."
... TSG Hoffenheim's current form:
- "Their game against Leverkusen was not as one-sided as the result might suggest. TSG had big chances in the first half and put their opponents under immense pressure after the restart - they could easily have equalised here. They have three good players suspended in Stefan Posch, Florian Grillitsch and Dennis Geiger. That's obviously a good thing for us, but whether it will have any influence on the game, I can't say. We won't make a big deal about the suspended players either, because Hoffenheim will have a good game plan regardless."
... his opposite number, Sebastian Hoeneß:
- "I've met Sebastian Hoeneß once before. He's a really nice guy, a family man, who, in my opinion, has very good views on football. TSG's points tally at the moment does not do their performance justice. They've been unlucky to lose on several occasions."
They set up with great flexibility and have good game plans, which are always tailored to specific opponents. The work being done at Hoffenheim is outstanding. They sailed through their Europa League group with 16 points. Hoeneß played a big role in achieving this, because he's a very good coach."
... a tighter race for the title this season:
- "Nobody knows how the teams will cope with a very short winter break. We competed at the top for a long time last season as well, but we will never be champions just by talking about our consistency. We need to actually be consistent for the whole season. If we do that, then we will be one of the title contenders - the players, the coaches, the club, they all really want this."
... the cup game against FCA:
- "The DFB-Pokal game against FC Augsburg will take place as planned. No agreement was reached regarding a postponement, which the club opposed for understandable reasons. So the game will take place on 22nd December in Augsburg. Obviously I would have liked the lads to have an extra two or three days holiday."
... the Champions League draw:
- "All the teams we could have drawn are strong ambitious opponents. In Liverpool, we're coming up against a top club with great history. We are really looking forward to the games, even though they're a long way away yet. It will be an exciting game. Despite the opposition's quality, we will be in a position to go through."
- Christopher Nkunku will remain out of action as a result of his ankle taking a knock. The coach hopes he can return to the squad for the home game against 1. FC Köln. Whether he will play is another question.
- Lukas Klostermann was back training on the pitch, but he isn't a squad option yet.
- Benjamin Henrichs, Hee-chan Hwang and Konrad Laimer are all still unavailable.
- Lazar Samardžić tested positive for Covid-19 and therefore will not be available. He is currently in quarantine at home.