Bundesliga News

Nagelsmann doubtful Szoboszlai and Laimer can still contribute:
"We're not handing out sugar cubes at the pony farm"

By Peter Vice

RB Leipzig's €20 million January acquisition is still yet to log a single minute for his new Bundesliga club. 

At a Wednesday presser, head-coach Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that Dominik Szoboszlai remains absent from team training and a return cannot be forecast. 

The young trainer also cast doubt on a potential return this year for Konrad Laimer. 

Dominik Szoboszlai.
Dominik Szoboszlai.Photo: GEPA Pictures/Jasmin Walter

A targeted February return never materialized. After taking up light training early last month, Dominik Szoboszlai once again had to withdraw from the practice pitch with nagging abductor issues. The 20-year-old, whom Leipzig made the most expensive Hungarian international ever purchased during the January transfer window, has not been able to join team training for several weeks.


"With Dominik, it's really quite difficult," Nagelsmann told a group of assembled reporters at a Wednesday press conference, "I can't exactly say when he'll return. Accordingly, I can't say what sort of role he can still play."

The penultimate adverbial modifier "still" seemed to suggest that the young trainer didn't envision any sort of role for the RB Salzburg purchase over the course of the season's remaining nine fixtures. Presumably, it would take several weeks for Szoboszlai to work his way up to match fitness, and then "still" find his way into the starting XI in the middle of a title race.

Taking the opportunity to address the status of another long-term injured player, Konrad Laimer, Nagelsmann noted that he did have some sympathy for players itching to contribute after long injury layoffs.

"I'm happy to reward players who have been injured for a long time, particularly if they've progressed through a hard and painful rehab," he said, "but it has to make sense from a player and team perspective. We're not handing out sugar cubes at the pony farm here."

The idiomatic expression the 33-year-old trainer refers to an activity German children perhaps partake in a bit more often than their counterparts across the world.


The phrase is often used to illustrate that the adult world isn't a place where everyone gets a turn and may also be translated as "life's not a fairy tale."

Naturally, if Leipzig title dream dies, matters could be quite different.

"We'll wait and see how the season goes, and then see if you can give one player or the other more playing time," Nagelsmann noted.


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