LEIPZIG, Dec 7 — RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann says his confident side can seize their chance in tomorrow’s key Champions League match at home to Manchester United with only the victors assured of a last 16 berth.
“I’m not sure for whom the situation in the group is psychologically worse,” said Nagelsmann.
“Manchester were first in the group for a long time, now they can be eliminated with one game.
“We have fought our way back and can still make it through on our own terms.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s final round of matches, leaders Man Utd, Paris Saint-Germain and third-placed Leipzig are all on nine points in Group H.
However the Germans have the worst goal difference, due mainly to their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Man Utd at Old Trafford in October.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United had looked certain to reach the last 16 after an impressive win at Paris Saint-Germain followed by their home rout of Leipzig.
However, United’s shock loss away to Istanbul Basaksehir threw the group open. Last week’s 3-1 home defeat to Paris Saint Germain set up a tense final round of games.
Leipzig boosted their last 16 hopes with a last-gasp 4-3 win at Basaksehir and then gained a 3-3 draw at Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday.
“It gives us a good feeling. We know we can keep up with teams at this level,” Nagelsmann added.
RB Leipzig, backed by Austrian energy drinks giants Red Bull, want to be a regular fixture in the last 16 of the Champions League.
After last season’s run to the semi-finals, it would hurt the ambitious German club to bow out in the group stages with a home defeat.
“We are up for it. I am convinced that when we have a great match plan again — we can beat Manchester,” said Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer.
Having scored with a brilliant header against Bayern last Saturday, playmaker Emil Forsberg says Leipzig are “in a good mood and hungry”.
They will be without key defender Dayot Upamecano, who is suspended.
Despite facing Bayern and United inside three days, Nagelsmann insists his side can cope.
“We’re not whining about it,” said the 33-year-old.
“You don’t have to tell the players that they are tired, you have to tell them that they are machines. And they are,” he added with a grin. — AFP