Before taking on VfL Bochum in the DFB-Pokal, RB Leipzig first welcome Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday evening (kickoff: 18:30 CET).
Head coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke before the game in a virtual press conference.
Julian Nagelsmann on ...
... the meaning of the Leverkusen game:
- "Saturday’s game has no direct impact on the title race; Bayern are leading by seven points. However, it’s a very important game, especially when considering the Champions League qualification places. We can extend out three points lead with a win, but a loss would see them overtake us. Whatever happens in the game, it wont be the end of our season.
Both teams started the season really well but haven’t picked up as many points as they’d have liked over the past six games – it’s nothing dramatic. FC Bayern seem to have pulled away a bit but behind them it’s very close. Therefore, it’s important for us to increase or at least maintain the distance between ourselves and our rivals."
... the reunion with former players:
- "The fact that I know Nadiem Amiri, Kerem Demiray and Patrik Schick well and coached them in the past is not an advantage for us, nor does it have any impact on our opposition analysis. For me, Peter Bosz is one of the most capable coaches in Europe and he plays really nice football. Under him, my former players have made more good steps."
Of course, you certain traits of a player. If I went for a kick-around with Nadiem, I'd know exactly how he’d try to play. On Saturday it's different: I don't know the plan Peter Bosz has given him.
- "Mentality wasn’t the problem against Mainz. It was similar to the games against Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund: our first half was completely different to the second and we let the setbacks throw us off track, and we lost sight of our aim. That shouldn’t happen.We have the quality to bounce back and turn around any setbacks we face, both mentally and physically. The boys heads and bodies are in good condition.Whenever we didn’t perform well for a few games last season, I left the guys alone way too much and only worked on few things with them. I don’t want to make that mistake again. For example, on Monday evening we carried out a video analysis session, when usually the boys would have had the time off.It is important that we bring this easiness back into our performance so that we can also deal with Leverkusen's speed and transitions."
We are all hungry and want to play to our limit!
... a possible let-off because of Bayern’s lead:
- "It’s not like we haven’t had tough tasks before and the ambitions of the club are not a burden for us. We are all hungry and want to play to our limit. We’re still going in all three competitions. Our goal of reaching the Champions League places can still be achieved and we’re in a good position to do so.
... the transfer window:
- "It makes sense to consider a loan for Dennis Borkowski. He’s at an age where he needs playing time in order to continue developing, and he doesn’t have that at the moment, also because the U19 are not playing due to the pandemic. However, he is too talented to just sit on the bench all the time. But for teams who are fighting for a league title or their safety, it’s no time for experiment, and Dennis needs rhythm."
+++ Team news +++
- Yussuf Poulsen returned to full training with the team on Wednesday and is pain free following his adductor problem. He is available once again for Saturday’s game against Leverkusen.
- Ibrahima Konaté returned to team training this week and will train individually again on Thursday. He is expected to complete the final team training session on Friday and return to the squad for Saturday. However, it is unlikely that the defender will play a large amount of minutes.
- Emil Forsberg suffered a knee injury during 11 vs 11 on Wednesday. An MRI scan has revealed no serious injury, but he will miss the weekend’s game as well as the DFB-Pokal clash against VfL Bochum. The plan is that Emil will be able to return to training next week..
- There are no new injury updates for Konrad Laimer, Benjamin Henrichs or Dominik Szoboszlai.