Feature: Leipzig flying high with Nagelsmann

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-27 21:06:04|Editor: Wu Qin
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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Julian Nagelsmann is an independent character. The 32-year old usually doesn't care about public opinion, but pragmatically follows his patterns. One of them is always being prepared to face new challenges. Another one is never being afraid to adopt new strategies and working styles.

Despite only having taken over as head coach of RB Leipzig earlier this summer, Nagelsmann already has lofty goals in mind. The 32-year-old has designs on challenging the Bundesliga's leading lights of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, not to mention making headway on the continent too, with the Champions League group stage draw lying in wait this Thursday.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor Ralf Rangnick is no easy task, as the 61-year-old not only guided Leipzig to third place last season, but is also known for his tactical innovations that have helped shape German football.

Nagelsmann's approach continues to build on Rangnick's achievements while cautiously improving the team's game. Leipzig's squad seems to feel comfortable with his style, with two wins out of two representing the club's best start to a Bundesliga season since winning promotion to the top flight in 2016.

The 32-year-old is undoubtedly benefitting from the foundations laid over the past three years that have seen the Red Bulls become the number three team in German football. In the 104 first division games since 2016, only Bayern (248) and Dortmund (201) have accumulated more points than Leipzig (192), with last week's 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt being the club's 236th win in 400 competitive games.

But Nagelsmann is not one to rest on his laurels. The next challenge comes on Friday evening in a crucial away game when Leipzig cross swords with Borussia Monchengladbach.

The presence of Nagelsmann played a vital role in convincing star striker and German international Timo Werner to extend his contract with the club until 2023. The striker's new deal might contain an exit clause worth between 30 to 60 million euros, but securing Werner's immediate future was a key success for Leipzig and Nagelsmann.

Werner scored twice in the first two games of the season, prompting CEO Oliver Mintzlaff to proclaim: "This is a statement that proves we are no longer a side that only develops young talents."

Werner, who rejected an offer from Atletico Madrid and is said to be on Bayern's watchlist, is thought of as one of German football's most promising prospects. "I hope Bayern don't miss out on him in the future. I was surprised the club didn't take him this summer," noted former German international Lothar Matthaus.

Nagelsmann admitted to being pleased about Werner's commitment as "we need him, and he is going to help us a lot this season, and he knows about the value of Leipzig for him."

After all, Nagelsmann is investing all he has to lift his colors to a new level. While the club seems on the right track on the domestic front, it will be the standard of performances on the continental stage that will have a greater bearing on his first year with the East German club.