Sinsheim (dpa) – In the shadow of the upcoming Bundesliga summit, RB Leipzig and Julian Nagelsmann have made themselves comfortable.
Already on Saturday, the extremely efficient Saxons could be the laughing third and suddenly become Christmas champions if table leaders Bayer Leverkusen and long-term champions FC Bayern Munich take away the points in a duel. Nagelsmann quickly downplayed this opportunity after the unadorned 1-0 fight at his old club TSG Hoffenheim: “That is not decisive. Last year we were also Christmas champions.” Then came the fall of the first place, even the Champions League places were still in danger.
In fact, RB’s interim balance after twelve league matches is three points better than in the previous season. If you observe the path of the Nagelsmann team and also the pale trio on Wednesday evening in Sinsheim, you will see two big differences in addition to the better yield.
On the one hand, Leipzig now spreads the burden of attackers Timo Werner (28 league goals) and Patrik Schick (10) over many shoulders. Sometimes the winger meets Angelino, sometimes the captain Marcel Sabitzer and time and again the already written-off Yussuf Poulsen, who again secured three points in his only dangerous scene.
“Yussi is a player who is already responsible for scoring goals. So this time it was more likely that someone was paid for it as a striker,” said Nagelsmann. Unlike Alexander Sörloth, Hee-Chan Hwang and Justin Kluivert, who were brought in in the summer, the 33-year-old coach can rely on Poulsen and his accuracy. Overall, Nagelsmann judges the new structure of the Champions League round of 16 as positive. “It’s always good when you can split targets and shots.”
The second big difference is the rip-off with which Leipzig also wins weaker games. If matches were remembered in the preseason when Leipzig started furiously and then lost, there has been efficiency for weeks now with not always great playful performances. Competition winner Poulsen saw “no top performance” in Sinsheim, but added: “It is all the more important that we ultimately decide exactly such a game for us.” For goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who himself was very strong, it is “important if the defense is good. That was the case today.”
The best defense in the Bundesliga is definitely an asset in the battle against Leverkusen and Bayern. The remaining competition for the two top-class starters Dortmund and Gladbach is already a bit behind. “Now we have a small gap in fourth and fifth place and we can focus even more on the individual races”, said Nagelsmann.
If another Bundesliga wins against the relegation-threatened 1. FC Köln succeeds on Saturday (3.30 pm / Sky), Nagelsmann can relax and watch the top match Leverkusen against Bayern in the evening (6.30 pm). “Then we will certainly be in a very good place at the table during the winter break.”