This Saturday is all about securing a place in next season’s Champions League. RB Leipzig are away to Arminia Bielefeld on matchday 34 in the Bundesliga. Domenico Tedesco’s team need just a point to guarantee their place in Europe’s premier cup competition.
Our head coach spoke to the media at the pre-match press conference about the game.
Domenico Tedesco on...
... focus ahead of the final league game:
Our focus is fully on the Bielefeld game. This is like a final for us in the Bundesliga and we’re really looking forward to the game. We’ve been working so hard over the last few weeks and months to get ourselves into a position like this.
... Arminia Bielefeld:
We played against them here at the Red Bull Arena in just my third game in charge. They are a tough team to play and they managed to beat us here. I’m expecting another tricky match and we will need to find the right balance like always.
We’re travelling to Bielefeld to play to our best and to obviously try and win the game. We will need to be solid and compact at the back, but also press at the right moments and play at a higher intensity too. We will need to double up on the wings because they like to put a lot of crosses in. Aside from that, we will need lots of possession to be able to create chances – and then we obviously have to take those opportunities.
Teams are giving their all against us and we have to be ready for games like these. I don’t expect Bielefeld to just sit deep and park the bus, they will press us high and we have to be ready for that. We have to prepare for the best possible Bielefeld performance. I’m certain that they’ll want to leave it all out on the pitch. It’s up to us as their opposition to show them what we want from the game straight away and what we’re intending to do.
... the effect of having lost at home to Bielefeld earlier this season:
I’d have preferred we hadn’t lost the reverse fixture, because it somewhat ruined the Christmas break for me. Of course it’s logical that when you lose at home and then have a lot of time to process the defeat, it can also help you to some extent. I think we were something like five points ahead of Bielefeld at Christmas and that gap is now 30 points, which makes me think that the result actually did our team some good.
... the different ways in which the side could line up on Sunday:
Emil Forsberg is consistently showing just how good he is, and he’s making a real contribution to our team at the moment. It’s going to be difficult for us to make decisions regarding the squad. Everyone’s fit, wants to play, and is certainly excited given the stage of the season at which we find ourselves. However, we need to make decisions for the good of the team and set ourselves up in such a way that we can cause problems for our opposition. We’ve certainly got plenty of choice in that respect.
... Amadou Haidara’s return to training:
First of all, I’m very pleased to see Amadou back in training, that’s the most important thing. We’ve got Bielefeld this weekend and then the DFB-Pokal final next weekend – we’ll have to see to what extent he can make a contribution in these two fixtures. But on the whole, it’s certainly very positive to see Amadou back.
... the matches against Rangers and Atalanta:
The physical side to our game was lacking against Rangers, and we knew that was going to be an important aspect of the tie. It’s important that we address this point, because our opponents were certainly very physical. On the one hand, our performance against Atalanta was really good, and I hold the victory we got in Bergamo in very high regard – the entire team was on song that day, it was the perfect game. On the other hand, we didn’t put in a perfect performance at Ibrox and therefore lost the game. However, our physicality hasn’t been a problem for us in many of our other matches this season.
... excitement ahead of the upcoming matches:
Of course we’re looking forward to the next two matches, because we’ve worked hard to put ourselves in this position. That’s something I’ve often said to the players: These games, the ability to enjoy moments like these, are a privilege - for example, a game in Bielefeld on Saturday in which we can seal qualification for the Champions League. One thing is extremely clear, and that’s that we all want to be playing in the Champions League again next season.
- All players are fit and available ahead of the Bundesliga finale. Amadou Haidara has returned to team training and is also at Tedesco’s disposal.