News : RB Leipzig: Everything is still there? – Sports
Nothing had happened at first sight. The only official season goal of RB Leipzig is to secure qualification for the upcoming Champions League season. And the lead over the fifth in the table Borussia Dortmund was still twelve points on Sunday evening, after the 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt, with nine games remaining. But you could smell the Leipzig draw against the gusty wind that was blowing over Leipzig. “We are very annoyed,” said Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, 33: “It is not deserved that we do not score three times.”
But it didn’t help. The conclusion of the evening remained: Leipzig can no longer become German champions on its own for the time being. And if you wanted to, you could hear a grumbling undertone that lapped into resignation when midfielder Emil Forsberg added that “everything was still possible”.
Is everything still there? Well: If you use historical brands as a benchmark, this only applies to a limited extent. Since the 2012/13 season, FC Bayern has been at the top of the table on every 25th matchday, and has always brought the lead over the runner-up to the finish. No matter whether you were just two goals ahead in the goal difference (2018/19 season) or 23 points like 2013/14.
This time it happens, after all, that a kind of finale is still pending. On the Easter weekend, Leipzig welcomes FC Bayern (possibly without central defender Dayot Upamecano, who was muscular). So there is still no need to scatter clothes and palm leaves on the Bavarian path. Accordingly, Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff refrained from hosanna: “It’s far too early to talk about the championship,” he said. Although he also knows that FC Bayern has provided empirical evidence over the course of history to turn the breath of the rival, which you can feel in the neck, into a tailwind.
To conclude from this that the title fight should be canceled would actually be too early. It happened last season that Leipzig was ahead after the first row and then in the end could only save itself to third place. But that happened in a season with special circumstances. It has been worked up in detail, as Leipzig’s trainer Nagelsmann explained these days.
Last year Leipzig was often “too sluggish in transition” – Nagelsmann improved that
Since the players were very busy with the pandemic in the past year, they were “perhaps too much left alone,” said Nagelsmann these days, “in terms of content, they could have done more”. Lessons have been learned from this, the games are analyzed more frequently and more intensively in front of the video screen than in the previous season. Another reason why Leipzig dropped points in the second half of the season a year ago was that the transition game did not go so well. “To put it bluntly: We opened the game very well, had good situations in the last third, but were often too sluggish in the transition,” said Nagelsmann.
One of the ways they tried to counteract this inertia was to rotate early in the season. The freshness was noticeable: Most recently, Leipzig lined up six wins in the league, and the Leipzigers also knew how to please against Eintracht – and create opportunities. That they treated them “too carelessly”, as Nagelsmann called it, or even “sloppily”, as manager Markus Krösche said, was one thing. On the other hand: A draw against Eintracht, this time after goals from Forsberg (46th) and Daichi Kamada (61th), can happen.
Nagelsmann a candidate for Bayern? RB boss Mintzlaff is “deeply relaxed”
However, Nagelsmann suffered a “screaming attack” due to referee Felix Zwayer’s smug and seemingly erratic game management. The referee also showed Nagelsmann the yellow card because the coach loudly (and legitimately) complained about an unpunished foul by Sebastian Rode on Dani Olmo. Nagelsmann then kindly asked Zwayer for information – and received it: “The argument why he (the foul on Olmo) did not whistle was that (Frankfurt’s) Jovic was fouled in the action beforehand. He did not whistle, that’s why he thought he wouldn’t whistle the next foul either, “Nagelsmann paraphrased Zwayer’s decision-making, before coming to a plausible conclusion:” This chain of arguments does not reveal itself to me. “
Otherwise, Sunday was marked by personnel debates. RB manager Krösche canceled FC Schalke 04 in the light of the Ralf Rangnick Theater; Nagelsmann, on the other hand, had to endure that he is even traded as a candidate at clubs that are not even sure whether they should shave their coach at all or have to say goodbye, for example at FC Barcelona and FC Bayern. Ronald Koeman’s contract in the Catalan capital runs until 2022, the contract of the potential Jogi Löw successor Hansi Flick in Munich even runs until 2023. Nagelsmann is also tied to Leipzig until 2023. He was “deeply relaxed” about Nagelsmann, said Leipzig boss Mintzlaff. He knows that Nagelsmann has already demonstrated his loyalty to the contract – when he was called by Borussia Dortmund during his time at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.