Nagelsmann aiming for another commanding win against Hertha


Leipzig’s talented young manager Julian Nagelsmann will be demanding a repeat performance from his side as they welcome mid-table Hertha Berlin to the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday evening.

Timo Werner’s hat-trick helped them make mincemeat of Mainz on Sunday and moved him on to 24 goals for the season, but the Red Bulls will need to translate that five-star performance into a string of positive results to be sure of a spot in next year’s Champions League.

Hertha have had two days extra rest following their big derby win and will come into the game full of confidence, but realistic about the challenge they face.

Where they stand

Leipzig’s impressive stadium, originally built for the 2006 World Cup (credit: Bundesliga)

Three points for the hosts in Wednesday’s early kick-off will see them move on to 57 points and end the night second in the Bundesliga – ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goal difference, after their defeat against Bayern Munich on Tuesday effectively ended the title race.

The visitors, meanwhile, have pulled themselves clear of relegation trouble and now sit comfortably in 11th, with two wins, two clean sheets and seven goals, since the Bundesliga returned to action.

A thumping 4-0 win against city rivals Union in Friday’s Berlin Derby came hot on the heels of an impressive 3-0 success at Hoffenheim and a third successive three points could give Hertha an outside chance of a late run for a Europa League spot.

Hertha players celebrate their derby victory by clapping the empty stands (credit: HerthaBSC)

Since Leipzig’s promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016 though, they’ve won six of their seven meetings with Hertha, scoring 26 goals in the process – including a 4-2 win earlier this season.

They’ll be heavy favourites again on Wednesday despite the Berlin side’s upturn in form since returning from the coronavirus suspension.

But Hertha’s only win against the Red Bulls did come on the road, in 2017. Despite playing with ten men for over 80 minutes, Berlin took a three-goal lead and hung on for a memorable 3-2 triumph.

Team news

Yussuf Poulsen will miss out for Julian Nagelsmann’s men; an MRI scan on Monday revealed that, during his 250th appearance for the Red Bulls against Mainz at the weekend, he suffered an injury to his right ankle ligaments.

They’ll also again be without Ibrahima Konaté and Ethan Ampadu, who has a back problem.

Leipzig should have Emil Forsberg back in their matchday squad after recovering from tonsillitis, but the Swede may have to settle for a place on the bench after the team’s impressive showing at the weekend.

Peter Gulacsi (credit: RB Leipzig)

Peter Gulacsi, a spectator in goal during their impressive 5-0 win, will be hoping for an equally quiet night against the visitors from the capital on Wednesday.

The Berliners are set to be without four first team players for their relatively short trip to Leipzig: Marius Wolf (ankle), Karim Rekik (knee), Santiago Ascacibar (foot) and Niklas Stark (groin).

Salomon Kalou remains suspended by Hertha, after posting a video of himself flouting coronavirus social distancing guidelines.


Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann said: “They have good players and Labbadia is a very passionate coach – I’m glad that he’s back in the Bundesliga – but I hope their run of form comes to an end.

“We want to pick up where we left off in Mainz. We are also improving our game with the ball.

“Our aim is to let in a similarly low amount of goals as we did last term. If we manage that, we’ll be looking good with our strong attack.”

On their opponents from Berlin, he continued: “They will probably sit deep and play on the break.

“Vedad Ibisevic is excellent with his back to goal and Matheus Cunha is great on the ball.

“Dodi Lukebakio is very quick and dangerous on the counter, so we’ll have to be careful when we lose possession. We’re well prepared.”

Bruno Labbadia (credit: HerthaBSC)

Hertha head coach Bruno Labbadia was in confident mood after their recent wins.

He said: “Behind both victories was a lot of hard work. Naturally, this increases the belief in our abilities and it’s great that we could show that in the Derby. The atmosphere is great and we want to take that with us into the game against Leipzig.”

But he was also realistic ahead of a tough test at the Red Bull Arena.

Labbadia continued: “We will have to endure a lot and play with intensity against Leipzig’s football. However, in my opinion man-marking or staying on particular players doesn’t make sense. We have to work against them as a team and as a unit.”


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