Julian nagelsmann’s smile is always particularly mischievous during surprises against FC bayern. He already achieved this in his youth as a player for TSV 1860 munich.
As the youngest head coach in the bundesliga, he then defeated the record champion 1-0 with TSG hoffenheim in the 2016/2017 season. In the following season he added a 2:0. "I have a good record against bayern. I hope we can build on that on saturday. Then with another club, but with the same coach," nagelsmann told the "sport bild" newspaper.
The 32-year-old successor to ralf rangnick, who has already been mooted as a future candidate for the coaching post in munich, can approach RB leipzig’s ninth duel against the double winners as the leader of the table with a two-number lead. He has virtually a job guarantee in saxony. "He doesn’t have to get nervous if there is the odd defeat. We know that this is a new era and things are changing and it takes a certain amount of getting used to," said RB CEO oliver mintzlaff before the start of the season.
The signs are different for niko kovac, who has rather gone through a steel bath in his first bayern year. Especially in the decisive weeks before the cup final in may against leipzig (3:0), he had missed the official back-up of the management in the final phase of the championship. Unlike the chairman of the board karl-heinz rummenigge, however, president uli hoeneb was the rough supporter of kovac at the club.
Especially in the champions league, more than the eighth finals are now expected in his second year. "We wanted to defend the double. And internationally, we would like to do much better," said the 47-year-old kovac about his own goals. "I believe that niko weib, that we are a club that needs success. He’s facing it, everyone here at the club is facing it," rummenigge announced during the munich team’s trip to the USA. "I wish him a season that is just as successful as last year’s double – and one or two more rounds in the champions league. Then everyone was very happy at FC bayern."
Kovac does not want to overestimate the duel in leipzig. "We’ve already had three tough tests in the bundesliga," kovac said after the 6-1 win over mainz, when asked if leipzig was the first real test of the season. Nagelsmann – voted "coach of the year" in 2017 after the coup against bayern – sees the munich team as already very consolidated at the moment and demands an "aubergewohnlich good performance" from his team.
After the zero number in may at the red-bull arena, the guests are taking the task enormously seriously: "I think that leipzig is a team that can have a say in the championship," said goal-scorer robert lewandowski, who after just three match days has scored six goals, one more than RB striker timo werner. RB stalwart konrad laimer, who had just earned a 0-0 european championship qualifying draw with austria in poland, said: "we don’t need to hide from anyone."