Ahead of RB Leipzig’s UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg against Glasgow Rangers at the RB Arena, RBL head coach Domenico Tedesco, assistant coach Andreas Hinkel and defender Angeliño answered the questions of the media.
Domenico Tedesco on ...
... Rangers’ playing style:
- "Rangers are, similarly to Atalanta or more recently Union Berlin, a robust, physical side who defend with a man marking system. Generally speaking, Scottish football has more individual duels. If you let Rangers play their game, they can beat any opponent with their physicality. That’s proven in their recent results, where they defeated Borussia Dortmund and SC Braga, and not just by slim margins.
They also have a lot of quality on the wings. They use this time and time again with their strong individual players like Ryan Kent, who can drive the attack forward. In addition to that you obliviously also need good players in the box. That’s the case for Rangers, who have good forwards who can make use of the many crosses. Therefore we have to try to prevent them from developing those moves. They’ll always try to find solutions with the ball if you don’t put them under pressure. They also have the ability to get their central midfielders high up in attack and play it quickly into their forwards, get behind the defensive line and create problems."
... The unavailability of Rangers’ attackers:
- "Rangers have a lot of quality in their ranks. Of course there are a few question marks over the way they’ll line up because both of their regular forwards are unavailable. But in the last came, Joe Aribo did a great job and showed that they can always be dangerous. They bring a lot of speed in their game and dominate the half spaces just like a real top team."
... Lessons from the Union defeat:
- "We’ll bring in the necessary fresh legs for the game. But I think tis tie will be decided in the second leg, even though we’ll do everything we can in front of our own fans and a sold out home stadium to give us a great starting position for the trip to Ibrox. We’ve shown that we can deliver back-to-back top performances.
The defeat to Union obviously hurts. But we had a brilliant run of 15 games without defeat, which isn’t easily done. I always like to emphasise what we’ve achieved so far and the situations that we’ve managed to get ourselves out of. I think there of the games against Dortmund, who you don’t beat 4-1 away every day. Or the game against Bayer Leverkusen and the away win against a strong Atalanta side. They were all fantastic successes.
Those things make the loss last time out tolerable to an extent. That doesn’t mean that we won’t take the right things away from the game and we want to do it better next time."
... Rangers’ strengths:
- "I wasn’t shocked that they knocked out Dortmund and Braga. They played really well and taking a closer look at individual games, like the win against Dortmund or in the Scottish Cup against Celtic, it’s not surprising to see them where they are. The team is well organised and are coached by a great head coach. A lot of good work has been done at the club off the pitch and the squad has always been strengthened through great work in the transfer market."
... The possibility of an all-German final:
- "The next game is always the hardest one, so it doesn’t make much sense to me to spend any time thinking about a potential German final at the moment. First of all, we have a difficult semifinal against a strong team ahead of us. The best way to keep your focus is to simply focus on the next game and your own game."
... Sightseeing in Glasgow with Andreas Hinkel:
- "My assistant coach Andreas Hinkel has been talking about Scotland and the football there for years. Going to attend an Old Firm game between Celtic and Rangers is a dream of mine that I’d like to make a reality one day. The people there are football crazy, in a positive sense. We will have time before our game to see a little bit for the city; it should be really nice there. I would also like to visit the Scottish Highlands at some point – they look really impressive."
... The importance of Konrad Laimer:
- "I think Konrad Laimer still has a lot of potential to improve and still hasn’t reached his peak. He’s still young. He wins us the ball and is a player who always willing to listen and spends a lot of time thinking about the game. That’s a fundamental to becoming better. It really helps us when he’s playing. His deep runs create space and chances. He can also dribble with the ball at his feet and occupy the opposition defence in doing so."
... Anticipation for the first leg at home:
- "We’re really looking forward to a sold-out stadium and also the fact that so many Rangers fans are coming to Leipzig. It’s also good for the businesses in the local area. The fans come and drink beer, eat out and stay in hotels. It helps the economy here. But what we’re most looking forward to is an incredible atmosphere at the Red Bull Arena. That’s that best thing that can happen to us. We want to soak it in and use it to push us."
Andreas Hinkel on ...
... The game against Glasgow Rangers:
- "I’m really looking forward to the game. Since we found out that we were playing a Glasgow team, I’ve been up for the game because that means that we’ll by flying to Glasgow and I love that city."
... Rangers’ physicality:
- "We’ll speak to the team again in detail about Rangers. But it is well known that Scottish teams are more physical than German sides. They have an incredible mentality. That paired with their footballing elements like their counter attacking game or their press makes them a very difficult opponent. It will be an interesting game."
... The atmosphere in the second leg:
- "The atmosphere at Ibrox will be amazing – but not as amazing as it is at Celtic’s ground, I have to say. There will be a little time for sightseeing, but the city has more to offer than just football. When I say that, I’m thinking of the many beautiful parks, the great museums, the pubs and restaurants. It’s a city with a place in my heart and I’m really looking forward to returning there with RB Leipzig."
... What makes Scottish football special:
- "Football has its roots in the UK. Not only that, but also in Glasgow. If I’m not wrong, one of the first ever international football games was played there. Football is anchored in the culture and for a lot of fans, it’s simply tradition to travel abroad and follow their team wherever they go. No matter where I was with Celtic, the fans were there too. Clubs mean an incredible amount to their fans, which will make this game really special."
Angeliño on ...
... The hunger to win:
- "It won’t be an easy game against Rangers, but it’s the Europa League semifinal. It’s not going to be an easy game against any team at this level. The teams that people describe as smaller sides can still shock the bigger teams and knock them out of the competition. We’ve had a great run recently and the good mood in the team remains intact. The yellow card suspensions for Mo, Willi and Kevin are frustrating but we have enough quality in our squad to fill in for the missing players and deliver a top performance."
... Mentality in the team:
- "The defeat came at the right time in the end. But we’re concentrating on the task at hand and are thinking back to where we came from and the great run that we managed to pull off. We’re in the race for the Champions League place, we’re DFB-Pokal finalists and we’re about the play in the Europa League semifinals. That is motivation. We’re continuing to work hard and want to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as Saturday. Our team has a great amount of will and we have real quality. We’re in a good way."
Team news ahead of #RBLRFC:
- Amadou Haidara (MCL injury in left knee) remains sidelined. He is back in Leipzig and has been able to begin running training.
- Lukas Klostermann has taken part in team training during the week.
- Kevin Kampl, Willi Orban and Mohamed Simakan are all suspended after picking up too many yellow cards.