Matchday is here! The new year has just arrived and RB's first competitive match of 2021 is here. On 2nd January (20:30 CET), Julian Nagelsmann's side will travel to the Mercedes-Benz Arena to face VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.
Our head coach spoke ahead of the match and also gave an update on the squad.
Julian Nagelsmann on...
... our next opponents:
- "I think VfB Stuttgart are a strong team, even if they haven't picked up that many points at home. Despite that, they've put in some good performances at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
They have a really interesting team, with a lot of talented individuals across the pitch. They embody how the coach wants them to play; with speed and at a high intensity.
My former assistant coach is doing a great job there. We both did our coaching courses together and that helped shape our careers - we were even roommates for ten months.
It will be an interesting game for both teams."
... the preparations:
- "Our team returned to the training ground on Friday for the first time. 10 first teamers and an academy player were recently in quarantine after coming from high-risk areas. They trained individually for a few days.
We haven't been able to work on many specifics this week, but we will in the coming fortnight, which we're pleased about. We will have to be careful though, because we have midweek games again after that.
It was really strange to see the players during the festive period. Even though the break was extremely short, it was a good rest for the players' heads and bodies. We'll see how good it was though against Stuttgart on Saturday night.
... the possible impacts of the shortened winter break:
- "I presume that the quality of the Bundesliga will suffer a bit from March onwards due to the shortened winter break and the heavy workload. A lot of teams will have played a lot of games by then. It could get tough, but that will depend on how clubs are doing.
Teams may deal with the workload better if they try to win every game instead of going on a winless run. That's only a potential guess - you can't predict it.
The sun and Vitamin D in the spring could also give teams and players a boost."
+++ Squad update+++
- Nordi Mukiele picked up a knock to his ankle in the cup game against FC Augsburg. He still has some pain, so has only completed some light sessions. He is therefore a doubt for #VfBRBL.
- Christopher Nkunku hasn't been able to train with the team, but has been working individually on his return. The coach expects him to return to face Borussia Dortmund.
- Justin Kluivert turned his ankle in the game against TSG Hoffenheim and has only just returned to the training ground. He is expected to return for #WOBRBL.
- The aim for Benjamin Henrichs is to return to training in February.
- Ibrahima Konaté is making good progress, but isn't completely free of pain yet. The coach hopes he will be fit to face Wolfsburg.
- There is no update regarding Konrad Laimer.