RB Leipzig: Lurking in second
After four competitive games without a win, RB Leipzig put the bad run behind them with a 3-0 victory over Werder Bremen last weekend. The small dip in form after the winter break may have cost them first place, but they continue to lurk just one point behind industry leaders Bayern München – remaining very-much in contention for the first title in the club’s short history.
On the one hand, head coach Julian Nagelsmann has officially gone on record saying that RB Leipzig’s aim is to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League, on the other hand, it is no secret that the ambitious young coach and his troops are dreaming of getting their hands on silverware in the not-too-distant future. “The team has huge potential and they have not yet reached their limit,” says Nagelsmann.
Following the 2-0 defeat in Frankfurt a few weeks ago, the coach did, however, remind everyone that at times his team are still a long way from being a top team. “We are not on Bayern and Dortmund’s level, so we have to make better use of every single minute at training. I don’t know if every player has understood that,” as he put it.
We're not on Bayern and Dortmund's level.
His words have since been interpreted as a rant, or as general criticism, but Julian Nagelsmann has denied all such claims. Sporting director Markus Krösche also said that “anyone who knows Julian knows that he is very ambitious and that he fiercely speaks his mind. He’s completely right to address these problems in the way he did.”
Acquiring the coveted Dani Olmo
Leipzig’s recent activities in the transfer window once more underscored their long-term ambitions to be among the best in Germany. Amidst significant conflicts of interest around the continent, RB were able to sign Spain’s U21 European champion Dani Olmo with a transfer fee of around 20 million Euro. They also brought in left-back Angelino on a loan deal from Manchester City. There was one transfer target that fell through, however: Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg. Despite extensive discussions with Nagelsmann, the young Norwegian eventually decided to join Schalke’s Black and Yellow neighbours.
In Timo Werner, who already boasts a season goal tally of 20, alongside Czech Republic international Patrik Schick, who has become increasingly dangerous in front of goal after recovering from ankle problems earlier this season, RB Leipzig have two clinical strikers, even without Haaland. One of the two, Werner, converted a penalty on Wednesday night to hand his team a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the away leg of their Champions League last 16 clash. “I’d gone a few games without scoring and passed up a few chances earlier in this game as well,” said the Germany international, reflecting on the first leg win, which made him even happier to finally find the back of the net again.