VfB Stuttgart will travel to the Red Bull Arena on Sunday (15:30 CEST) for the Bulls' penultimate home game of the season.
Head coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke to the press before the game about the clash and the squad.
Julian Nagelsmann on...
... in-form VfB striker Saša Kalajdžić:
- "He's so strong in the air and with his back to goal, when he holds the ball up for teammates. He's helped create so many chances for VfB despite them being without the rapid Silas Wamangituka.
His strength in the air is really impressive. Even without Sosa, who is probably the best crosser in the Bundesliga, they still have players who can get the ball into the box. We won't always have the height advantage so we will need to use our bodies in a clever way so that he can't use his aerial strength to cause problems for us."
... missed chances:
- "We tend to train shooting and look to recreate situations in training that are like what you have in a game. It's not a motivation or mentality problem. We've seen recently that the lads were up for it and wanted to win, we just weren't able to score despite some good moves and chances. I'll be happy if we put our chances away on Sunday. At the end of the day, we want and need the three points to secure second."
... fit again Konrad Laimer:
- "Konni is really important for us, but he won't be able to replace Marcel Sabitzer this weekend as he's been out for so long. Konni is so happy to be back on the pitch, it's good for him and us. He's been on the sidelines a long time and is now highly motivated, regardless of the opponent or situation. You can see this during training sessions, but he'll need a little bit more time - after all he was away for almost a year - to get both the mentality and quality back."
... Benjamin Henrichs' progress:
- "I'm pleased that he's got the option to play at the Olympics. He's on the right path at the moment, but still needs some time. His body still needs adjust to the workload - he wasn't fully fit throughout last season either. He will definitely get his chance in the Bundesliga. This season hasn't gone to plan, though. He was injured for a couple of months and nobody is at fault there."
... the confirmed Champions league reforms:
- "There are two sides to the reform. On the one hand, the games will bring TV money, which will see the players and coaches earn more. On the other hand, the players will have a large number of games with fewer breaks. The pandemic has already contributed to this. The players, however, need more time for their minds and bodies to recover - otherwise we will have more injuries and the quality of games definitely won't increase.
More games don't only reduce the quality, but also hamper young players, who won't have the chance to train in top conditions as often. We need to make sure that there isn't a game on every day. These games should rare, because that's what makes this sport so enjoyable."
… the upcoming quarantine training camp:
- "We'll accept the decision for what it is. After all, it means we're still able to do our jobs. If this is what it takes, then it's absolutely no problem for us.
We've got a cool, new facility here and we know what it's like from last year. Unfortunately, my analyst tore his cruciate ligament during a kickaround last year, but he's on his way back now. We'll get on with it and make the best of our time."
+++ Squad update+++
- Marcel Sabitzer is back training individually after his calf problems. It's not yet clear if he will be fit in time.
- Yussuf Poulsen may also not feature on Sunday. He still has a thigh problem.
- Konrad Laimer no longer has any injury worries and could make his return on Sunday against Stuttgart.