#RBLTSG preview: “Expect full throttle from Leipzig”

TSG will travel to Leipzig this weekend, where an encounter with Ralph Hasenhüttl and his RBL side awaits, kicking off on Saturday at 15:30 CEST. Sixth plays fifth, with just one point separating the two teams in the Bundesliga. Ahead of the match against RBL on matchday 31 of the Bundesliga, caught up with Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann to get his thoughts.

Julian Nagelsmann on…

..the opponent:

“Leipzig have an unbelievable tempo on the pitch. There are one or two players that aren’t as fast but the rest of them are little rockets. I read what Ralf Rangnick and Ralph Hasenhüttl had to say and am expecting our opponents to be on top. They will certainly look to defend aggressively. Leipzig will put us under pressure; they definitely won’t sit back. They haven’t got any European football this week and will be a bit fresher because of it. So, I’m expecting an opponent that, like us, will give it their all out on the pitch.” news:

“Dennis Geiger will be out for a long time. He had to leave Monday’s training session and then went to have an MRI scan. The tendon that before was just damaged is now a lot worse. It’s no longer just the muscles but the actual bicep tendon itself. We are expecting him to make a return around matchday 2 or 3 of next season. Stefan Posch has also suffered a setback with his groin injury and is still out but apart from that everyone is fit.”

...TSG’s position:

“Fourth place is obviously very interesting. We want to somehow force our way into that spot and to do that we definitely need a win on Saturday. Because of how important this game is for the Champions League spots, this game has a kind of final-feel to it. I don’t really like calling it that but the media love using it and I think in this case it sort of applies. Nevertheless I have to say that our current position is very good for TSG, especially in a season where we have no doubt had our ups and downs. 


“During our win against HSV we wasted too many chances in the first half. A team with more self confidence than Hamburg would’ve got a goal, so we need to make sure we’re stable. Given how late in the season it is, we need to make sure we wrap up the points as early as we can. In Leipzig we will need to do a few things differently to how we played them in the first half of the season. We need to be more flexible; we can’t sit as deep but neither can we leave ourselves vulnerable to the counter.

Previous encounters 

The two teams have already met three times in the Bundesliga; once in the first half of this season and twice last season. The balance between the sides is dead-even; each celebrating one win with the points being shared once. The time TSG won is remembered fondly by all TSG fans from back in December 2017. 4-0 was the final score as Nadiem Amiri, Mark Uth and Serge Gnabry got the goals with the latter scoring twice. His second goal also won him the Goal of the Month award for December as he lobbed the Leipzig keeper from more than 40 yards out. 

RBL’s recent form 

Leipzig have only won two of their last eight Bundesliga games and saw themselves put out of the UEFA Europa League by Olympique Marseille. RBL have not been in the best form of late and will surely be looking to improve for the final four games of the season. Their first season in European competition however has been a successful one, as they made it to the quarter finals of the Europa League. However this is no surprise for a team with the likes of Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg and Naby Keita to call upon. TSG will therefore be fully aware of the challenge that awaits them in the Red-Bull-Arena and will not mistake this dip in form for a lack of quality. 

The key battle

Leipzig are famous for their high-pressing and aggressive playing style. Only two teams have had a higher amount of contests per game and only Bayern have won a higher percentage. TSG will therefore need to be precise in their build-up play and be sure to make their presence felt in the battles. Games against RB Leipzig are physically demanding but Julien Nagelsmann’s team will be fully aware of that and have already shown earlier in the season that the quality of their football can prevail against a physically strong opponent.

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