Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Leipzig must ´stay on the gas pedal´ as Bundesliga title race revs up, says Nagelsmann

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 22 Feb 2021

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RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann insisted his side must “stay on the gas pedal” despite closing within two points of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Leipzig defeated Hertha Berlin 3-0 on the road on Sunday, capitalising on leaders Bayern’s 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Bayern also dropped points last week following their return from the Club World Cup in Qatar, drawing 3-3 with Arminia Bielefeld, meaning the margin at the top has been cut from seven to two points within a week, offering renewed title hope for Naglesmann’s side.

However, the 33-year-old German maintained the hard work has only just begun for Leipzig, who have finished the past two Bundesliga seasons in third position.

“It’s nice to get closer [to Bayern],” Nagelsmann said. “It used to be a seven-point-gap at one point. My team’s reaction impressed me a lot… We have to remain focused and try winning our games.

“I think I said at the beginning of the season that February and March will become harder for the teams, as the impact of the Corona pandemic needs to be overcome in the right way.

“There are a lot of games and we need to stay on the gas pedal, and we did that in today’s 90 minutes, as we did in the previous Bundesliga games.

“A lot of good teams are coming up now, with [Borussia Monchengladbach] Gladbach on the weekend, which will be a challenge. But we want to keep being successful in the Bundesliga and winning the games should speak for us.”

Leipzig’s four-game winning streak has also seen them open up a five-point buffer on third-placed Wolfsburg, while they are also now 10 points clear of fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen in the race for Champions League qualification.

“We kept going also keeping the Champions League qualification in mind where we have quite a gap to Leverkusen,” Nagelsmann said. “It is important to have a bit of a rest in terms of the qualification. The boys kept going and it was important to remain on the gas pedal and that’s what they did.”

Leipzig host eighth-placed Monchengladbach on Saturday, while Bayern entertain 14th-placed Cologne.

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