Sports Focus: Leipzig facing title stress test in Bundesliga

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-30 23:18:45|Editor: yan
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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Several recent occurances indicate the atmosphere around the Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig has changed.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann criticized his players for lacking the required determination and is demanding a reaction after the latest defeat against Frankfurt.

In the winter break, the East-German club increased the competition in his squad by signing Spanish forward Dani Olmo for 20 million euros plus significant bonus payments.

According to media reports is Freiburg's German international Robin Koch likely to join in before the transfer window is closing on January 31. The 23-year-old is said to cost 20 million euros.

Signing Koch would mean RB's backrow (Klostermann, Halstenberg, and Koch) is nearly equivalent to the German national team's defense.

The actions indicate Rasenballsport is ready to go all-in this season to secure the title or at least to again reach a Champions League spot.

Now the Red Bulls are facing two crucial games against Moenchengladbach and Bayern. Both challenges might decide about the 2020 national title.

"It is up to us to decide where we want to end up. Is it worthwhile to climb right to the top of the mountain, or is it enough to enjoy the view from halfway, have a rest and eat something and climb down," Nagelsmann commented.

"I didn't have the impression in our training sessions players vote for climbing," he added.

The positive statistics of the last seven games against Borussia don't seem to satisfy Leipzig's coach. RB won five of the seven duels and achieved two draws. Leipzig didn't play any other team that often without losing.

Former coach Ralf Rangnick blamed RB performers for hiring a star hairdresser in advance of the defeat in Frankfurt. "I would have bet 100 000 euro's Leipzig performers don't ever hire a star coiffeur from England. As I see, I would have lost the bet. I am stunned now. The way to a golden steak isn't far anymore," Rangnick complaint.

Eating with a gold-covered steak at a fancy restaurant in Dubai has become a habit among young footballers, including one of the Leipzig squad. The consumption of the 1200-euro expensive dish has caused unrest at several clubs as has hiring a hairdresser a day before a match.

Leipzig seems aware of the importance of both games. Losing both, RB striker Timo Werner underlined, "means we can very likely say goodbye."

The German international's goals might be needed to survive a crucial stage. Werner scored 20 goals in 19 games, aside from 7 assists. The striker scored a hat-trick when RB beat Borussia in their away game by 3-1 in this season's campaign first half.

So far, Leipzig managed to return after its rare setbacks this season. The side won nine games in a row after losing to Freiburg in the first half of the 2019/2020 campaign.

Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg called the coaches' statement a wake-up call "everyone is paying attention to. This is giving all of us reason to think about our performance and improve."

Nagelsmann seems convinced his players got his message. "They understood it pretty well. I am not criticizing them for all, but want to get out the last remaining 5 percent," the 32-year-old commented.