German football trainers don't disguise their priorities during this unprecedented hectic winter scheduling stretch.
RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is on record as stating that today's Champions League clash takes precedence over the coming league fixture against Bayern.
|Julian Nagelsmann.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche|
For Hans Dieter Flick, Tuesday's UCL match against Athletico Madrid mattered little. Having already secured passage to the knockout stages after last week's win, Flick went so far as to leave three of his marquee players at home. Bayern's record winning streak in the tournament could be sacrificed ahead of the clash with second-place Leipzig this weekend.
Julian Nagelsmann made it clear that he would not rest any players before his team boarded the charter flight to Istanbul. "We are of course aware that we must win both matches in the Champions League because we have no 'make-up chances' there," the 33-year-old said, "If we don't win against Bayern, we still have a few more match days to achieve our goals."
Germany's need a win against Basaksehir in order to control their own destiny. Should they fail to secure all three points, they will enter next week's final UCL group stage match against Manchester United heavily reliant upon other results simply to finish in third place and achieve a Europa League referral.
"It's a good feeling to keep everything in one's own hands," the trainer noted.
Only three Leipzig players have been explicitly ruled out of the encounter. Lukas Klostermann and Konrad Laimer remained behind with injuries while Hee-Chan Hwang still awaits a negative COVID test.
Regarding the biggest story currently surrounding the team, Nagelsmann did answer some questions about struggling striker Alexander Sørloth. The much hyped summer acquisition again failed to get off the mark for his new club over the weekend, this time failing to convert a penalty against Bielefeld.
Nagelsmann reported that he had "left Sørloth in peace" after the match and would first speak with him during an upcoming one-on-one video training session.