Bundesliga is back! On Sunday at 15:30 CET, the Roten Bullen begin their Bundesliga campaign against 1. FSV Mainz 05 and head coach Achim Beierlorzer - who worked for RB Leipzig between 2014 and 2017 .
Ahead of the home game, head coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke at the official pre-match press conference about spectators being back in the stadium, the mood among the team and Sunday's opposition, Mainz 05.
Julian Nagelsmann on ...
… The start of the Bundesliga:
- "We're really happy that we can play in front of fans again. It is a fantastic first step, for the players, us coaches, the club, but above all for the fans. And of course, there is a lot of anticipation ahead of the new season.
Finally we're back again. Finally we can fight once more. We want a similar start to last season against Union Berlin. We want to give the 8,500 fans another reason to celebrate: not only being back in the stadium, but hopefully three points."
… Goals for the season:
- "We want to finish in the top four, and have a good Champions League campaign, but we dont have the expectation of reaching the semifinals. We also would like to get further in the DFB-Pokal this season, and we've already made a good start in doing that."
... The mood in the team:
- "Sometimes having a shorter preparation period isn't such a bad thing. When pre-season is too long, the time until the first game can often seem to drag. The team are showing good signs, and among the coachng team there's a great atmosphere too. I think everyone is really enjoying it. I can see that the whole team wants to improve, and because of the nature of the squad, that' what we need.
The schedule is very tight. We know that this doesn't leave much time for training. Therefore, it would be very beneficial if players can deal with certain things off the pitch, even when the coaches aren't involved. That's exactly what my players do. We have a very balanced squad - nobody is falling behind and everyone is at the same level.
I'm sure that we can get off to a good start on Sunday."
… 1. FSV Mainz 05:
- "The amazing thing about football is that past results mean nothing. The game on Sunday starts at 0-0. We don't have the expectation that we need a repeat of last year. For that to happen we'd need a perfect day.
Mainz have had a good pre-season and are an experienced side with a lot of quality and tempo. The have an organised defence, have agile defenders and a fast attacking midfield. They also have a robust attack. The result doesn't matter to me, as long as we score more goals."
... His personal preparation for the new season:
- "Like an animal in hibernation, I've gathered my resources and built up enough energy for the new season. Everone else would probably say that I have too much energy anyway and should reduce my energy level, rather than increase it!"
+++ Team news +++
- Konrad Laimer underwent athroscopy on his knee to remove scar tissue which was affecting the ability to bend his knee. It is still unknown how much time he will be unavailable for.
- Marcel Sabitzer returned to team training on Friday. It is still undecided whether he will play in the game on Sunday. He is feeling good and has felt no pain during training. The coaching team is still to discuss with the medical team whether he is ready to play. "The minute he feels something, he won't start the game," said Nagelsmann. "Even though he is our captain and always performs well, we have to find the balance between risk and reward. We have a lot of games to play and Sunday's is not a decisive match iwhen looking at the whole picture."
- Ibrahima Konaté will return to parts of team training next week.