Leipzig (AP) – Sporting director talks about “historic opportunity”, coach wants new goosebumps in the premier class.
“We are trying to be one or two laps ahead. It is our big wish,” said RB head coach Julian Nagelsmann ahead of the departure of the Bundesliga side Leipzig for the unusual final of the Champions League in Portugal, where the bosses received a surprise on the evening of their arrival. had prepared for the players “to let them know what it’s about,” Nagelsmann said: “You might get goosebumps.”
Sporting director Markus Krösche even sees the opportunity for the Saxon club to win the premier class as an outsider due to the special conditions of the Corona crisis. “Every team has the opportunity to win the title this year, including the elimination of the first leg and the second leg. So do we,” the 39-year-old said in an interview with “Sport1”. “It is already the most successful season in the history of the club. And it is up to us to continue to write our history in Lisbon. We have the historic chance to reach the final with two games.”
Even without top scorer Timo Werner, who moved to Chelsea, the Leipzigers are ready for the final round in Portugal, which will be played without spectators. “Timo was an important player for RB. But we are convinced that we can advance to the semi-finals without him,” said Krösche, referring to “an incredible number of players” such as Patrik Schick, Dani Olmo, Yussuf Poulsen, Christopher Nkunku and Marcel Sabitzer, “who can also score goals”.
RB will meet Atlético Madrid in the quarter-finals on August 10 (9 p.m. / Sky). Of course, there are “bigger names among the remaining teams,” noted the RB sporting director. But Atlético won’t make the mistake of not taking RB seriously or underestimating them. “My instinct is that Diego Simeone didn’t burst into tears of joy when he was drawn to us,” Krösche said. Simeone has been Atlético’s coach since 2011 and has already led the club to the European premier class final twice (2014 and 2016) and to winning the Europa League twice (2012 and 2018).
Nagelsmann is preparing his staff for a tough fight. “It will be a patient question. Atlético have experience holding zero for a long time, and they score very few goals. You can’t go blind,” demanded the coach. National player Marcel Halstenberg and forward Schick, both of whom have had back problems, are still a little worried.
“We still have legacy issues, including Halste. We have to see if we can bring him to a good physical level by Thursday,” Nagelsmann said. Captain Willi Orban is said to be ready to replace Halstenberg. Schick also has physical deficits after barely training for two weeks.
The group of 70 also includes newcomers Benjamin Henrichs, Hee-chan Hwang and Josep Martinez, who are not eligible to play in the Champions League. Ibrahima Konaté, injured, also started the trip to Lisbon. “Whether it’s an advantage or a disadvantage that we took a break and the others are in the rhythm is really hard to assess. So far there is simply no experience,” said Krösche.