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Leitl and Tedesco discuss Sunday showdown: "No walk in the park"

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Head coaches Stefan Leitl (SpVgg Greuther Fürth) and Domenico Tedesco (RB Leipzig) provided injury updates and spoke on the nature of their upcoming encounter at their final pre-match pressers.
Domenico Tedesco.
Domenico Tedesco.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth head-coach Stefan Leitl has relied upon the exact same XI (albeit with some tactical tweaks) in his last four fixtures. That will have to change on Sunday as his regular ten Jeremy Dudziak is out with pain in his achilles tendon. Starting central defender Sebastian Griesbeck must also sit the encounter against RB Leipzig out on yellow card accumulation suspension.


Leite explicitly ruled out utilizing on-loan Hertha attacker Jessic Ngankam as Dudziak's replacement. While it had been anticipated that the 21-year-old would soon make his long-awaited comeback from meniscus surgery, Leitl revealed that the youngster had suffered further injury setbacks in training and would not be available for some time. American Julian Green and former Norwegian international Havard Nielsen are thus the likely replacement candidates.

As for Griesbeck, it looks as if Leitl will have to turn to one of his fullbacks to partner with Nick Viergever in central defense. Maximilian Bauer is also an option. The SpVgg trainer could also move Max Christiansen back to the CB position. Leitl may alread finds himself one starting fullback short after Luca Itter returned inconclusive COVID tests this week. The solution may be to insert Jetro Willems back in the XI at left-back or possibly give the returning Gideon Jung a go.

Despite their last-placed position in the table, Fürth have been widely regarded as playing much improved football over the past few weeks. The Middle Franconians are currently 13th-placed in the second-half-of-the-season table. A showdown against Champions' League contenders RB Leipzig may appear to presage an easily predictable result, but Leitl insisted that he still believed his squad could pull off the sensational upset.

"We need a reliable compactness in the center of the park while also showing courage," Leitl summed up, "Why shouldn't we be able succeed in surprising then?"

For his part, RB head-coach Domenico Tedesco echoed Leitl's sentiments in his own final pre-match presser.


"It will be anything but a walk in the park," the RB trainer noted, "The facts [about the second half of the season] speak for themselves. Fürth are only last because of the first half of the season. They defend very compactly and shut down the attacking lanes."

Tedesco listed midfield six-starter Kevin Kampl as "questionable". The Slovene is currently suffering from spinal issues that have been affecting his balance and causing earaches. The RB trainer let it be known that Kampl's status is "day-to-day". The same applied to defender Josko Gvardiol, who has been struggling with thigh problems.

On the positive front, Tedesco declared American midfielder Tyler Adams fully recovered from back-problems. Tedesco noted that the USMNT captain had proved capable of shouldering a full training load during the week. Either Adams per Amadou Haidara can easily start in Kampl's place. German international Marcel Halstenberg--after an injury layoff of nine months--may also be available to deputize for Gvardiol.

"We have to make use of space when it's in front of us," Tedesco summed up, "One-vs.ones and dictating the tempo will be the key to us winning this match."


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