Competitive football returns with a special reunion! On Saturday, 15:30 CEST, Die Roten Bullen square up against 1. FC Nürnberg in the first round of the DFB-Pokal with a familiar face in the opposition dugout.
Julian Nagelsmann spoke in an official press conference about the encounter with his former assistant Robert Klauß, RB Leipzig's new signings, possible transfers, season targets and personnel.
Julian Nagelsmann on...
... The cup tie against Nürnberg and his reunion with Robert Klauß:
- The fact that we’ve been drawn against Nürnberg in the cup is a bit like ‘Murphy’s Law’. But regardless of their new coach being Robert Klauß, it’s not an easy draw. With a poor season behind them, the team is now in a rebuilding phase. They will throw everything at Saturday’s game in order to get a result. Obviously we’re expected to win, and that’s what we want to do – reach the next round. We are the top-tier side, the Champions League semi-finalists.
Robert’s got a lot to offer from a coaching perspective and he’s a great person. I’m happy for him that he’s been given this job in Nürnberg – he deserves this opportunity. He’s set the Nürnberg up well and has done very well in a lot of the preseason friendlies. A few things we do here can now be seen at FCN, but that’s completely normal. Perhaps Robert has a slight advantage because he knows our team better than I know his, but I’ve got the better players out on the pitch, which evens things out. I won’t be inventing a new brand of football for this game just because Robert was our assistant coach for a long time."
...Potential motivational problems after the Champions League semi-final:
- "I’ve seen top-notch performances from my players during this short and rugged break. There are no motivational problems after the Champions League semi-final – the lads are all buzzing to get going again. I’m glad we’re not playing for nothing on Saturday, as would be the case in friendlies – we’re going straight back into competitive games, fighting to reach the next stage of the DFB-Pokal.
Teams only suffer from motivational problems when they’re completely satisfied. Obviously we are proud of having reached the Champions League semi-final, but that hasn’t led to us being satisfied. We’re all craving to do things better in the future. We all want more. Our aims haven’t changed – they’ve been outlined quite clearly: We want to qualify for the Champions League again and want to challenge for the league title, finishing in the top 4. In the Champions League, we want to get through the group stage again and in the cup we have a lot to improve on, after we didn’t perform as we’d hoped to last season."
… Our new signings, Hee-Chan Hwang and Benny Henrichs:
- Chan could be an option for the cup tie; he had a few problems in his first week here, but we’ve not seen any of those in recent days. He’s been very, very good in training – he’s a nasty piece of work to defend against. His pace and his low centre of gravity will make things difficult for the opposition. You’ve only got to look at his thighs to know the lad’s an absolute beast."
- "Benny’s not been able to take part in much training at all so far - he missed most of preseason through injury. He’s not been involved in team training for a week and a half, but Nürnberg could be a bit too soon for him – he’s not fully in the rhythm yet. He’s been playing well, but we have to weigh up his injury problems against how necessary it is to play him. He needs to stay fit and above all achieve stability. As things stand today, I would say he’s not ready to start on Saturday."
... On Transfers:
- We won’t get relegated if we don’t sign any new players. We’ll play a big role in the league no matter as we are. The transfer window is still open and there is enough time. It would definitely be a bit easier for us with a few more players. I am confident, but I’m also very happy with the team as it is and I’m not panicking about the coming weeks."
+++ Team News +++
- Konrad Laimer will not be available for the DFB-Pokal game against 1. FC Nürnberg and will be unavailable indefinitely. He’s still suffering from knee problems, which is also why he wasn’t with the Austria national team this week. There’s no serious injury to be detected though.
- Due to the still ongoing Spanish cup competition, Josep Martinez is not eligible to play on Saturday.
- Emil Forsberg, Yussuf Poulsen and Dayot Upamecano only returned from their respective national teams on Thursday and will first be tested for corona. We’re expecting the results to come back negative and that they will take part in training again on Friday.
- Ibrahima Konaté is expected to be able to return to training at the end of September. He’s currently completing his recovery programme but has not yet been in integrated into the team sessions. His comeback is on the right track.