"Leipzig will offer space"

Bundesliga’s game of the week; The match between TSG and RB Leipzig. Second plays third, with both teams on a level playing field. Julian Nagelsmann spoke to us ahead of Saturday‘s crunch meeting.

Julian Nagelsmann on:

The Opponents: Leipzig play very good football. They build themselves around an exceptional defence and a readiness to defend and as a result they save themselves a lot of hassle and chaos. It’s very difficult to break them down and very few teams have managed to do that this year. Leipzig will give you space, but it is very hard to make the most of that room. As well as this they come forward with a very high tempo, deliver dangerous set plays and bring high quality into their opponents half.

His squad: Lukas Rupp is still suffering with a knee problem and Jeremy Toljan will definitely not make the trip to Leipzig. There is still a question mark over Mark Uth and Andrej Kramaric. Both trained with the squad again on Thursday afternoon. It looks good for Pavel Kaderabek- he trained with the team on Wednesday and is 99% ready to go.

Match analysis: In much the same way as Leipzig we are definitely better than we were in the first game of the season. Then the performance was only okay and we would have won the game if we had defended better in the last few minutes. This game will be harder, but Leipzig will be able to say the same thing. It’s a top match that both teams have earned and we are itching to get going again.

Match analysis part 2: The main difference in styles between us and Leipzig lies in the way we construct our play. Leipzig know how to make use of the long ball, whereas we like to play out from the back. They have also developed themselves in this area and don’t simply chase the knock downs. There are similarities of course; both teams look to put their opponents very quickly, though they probably do that slightly better than us.

Previous clashes: There has only been one up until now and it was Leipzig’s first ever game in the Bundesliga. The game in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena ended 2-2. TSG took the lead against Ralph Hasenhüttl twice, only to be twice pegged back by the visitors. Marcel Sabitzer scored the equaliser in injury time.

Opponents Form: Leipzig lost their last game before the winter break 3-0 away at Bayern Munich and then began the break with a 5-1 defeat to Ajax Amsterdam. The tabloids began to speak of Leipzig’s demise and imagined a difficult return to the Bundesliga. Two friendly wins and a 3-0 league success over Eintracht Frankfurt later, and everything in 2017 is as good as 2016 for RB Leipzig. A team flying high was 39 points from 17 games will be a serious test for ‘Hoffe’.

Keys battles: TSG against Leipzig; Nagelsmann versus Hasenhüttl, and most importantly, Sandro Wagner against Timo Werner- the two hottest German strikers in front of goal this season facing off. Both have found the back of the net ten times for their team this season and both are crucial for their side’s success. The two could have a big influence on the outcome of the game. 

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