Julian Nagelsmann is ready to run the gauntlet of hate if RB Leipzig fans react bitterly when he returns to the Red Bull Arena as boss of Bayern Munich.
The coach who led Leipzig to a Champions League semi-final appearance in 2019-20, followed by a runners-up finish in the Bundesliga last term, has since switched allegiances to join Bayern.
Nagelsmann has defended himself against accusations of being “a liar” for the way he handled his move to the German champions, with the 34-year-old coming in for criticism after going back on a pledge not to take others with him to Bayern.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash between Leizpig and Bayern, Nagelsmann said: “I’m looking forward to it. I had two fantastic years in Leipzig. I think the coaching staff and the players are looking forward to seeing me.
“Of course I read something about me being a liar. Some fans aren’t happy I left Leipzig. At the time, I said in a press conference I wouldn’t take players or staff members.
“When you’re sitting in a press conference and say, ‘I want to take six players and seven members of my coaching staff along’, I don’t think that’s going to go down very well in public either.
“That’s also going to cause a very negative reaction. At the time I didn’t plan to take anyone along.”
When Nagelsmann’s move to Bayern was announced in April, it was revealed immediately that assistant coach Benjamin Gluck would join him in making the switch.
Since then, Xaver Zembrod and Dino Toppmoller have also joined as assistant coaches, both making the switch from Leipzig in July.
Versatile midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has also moved from Leipzig to Bayern, with Nagelsmann saying that deal suited all parties as the Austrian was entering the final year of his contract.
Dayot Upamecano had already agreed to leave Leipzig for Bayern before Nagelsmann was picked to succeed Hansi Flick.
There could be a frosty reception for the previously popular coach, but Nagelsmann said: “It’s not going to influence my performance. I worry about other things.
“We brought a good spirit into the club, had a good relationship with fans, and I think we furthered the club, developed the club. I tried to pay back the money that I earned there. It won’t influence me tomorrow – I’m not going to be a worse coach tomorrow if some fans boo me.
“Things like hate and all the insults and the words thrown at you, I find it very questionable. I assume there are going to be some unhappy fans there. From a coaching perspective I don’t really care.
“It’s not as if I’m experiencing friendly welcomes in Dortmund, for instance. I’m not worried – if doesn’t matter if a couple of people whistle, and if all 34,000 whistle or boo at me then it’s OK too, my right ear isn’t that good anyway.”
Nagelsmann could not end Bayern’s hold on the Bundesliga during his time in Leipzig, and Die Roten Bullen have won only one of 10 league games against the team who have won the last nine titles.
Leipzig are winless against Bayern in six games since a 2-1 home win in March 2018 (D4, L2), and their lone home defeat in the last 10 Bundesliga games came against Bayern – a 1-0 loss in April, prior to Nagelsmann agreeing his move.
Nagelsmann’s Leipzig successor Jesse Marsch has begun with two defeats in his first three Bundesliga games, and he has recent experience of tackling the champions.
As coach of Salzburg last season, his side were drawn together with Bayern in the Champions League group stage, losing 6-2 at home and 3-1 at the Allianz Arena. The 6-2 loss was his heaviest in charge of Salzburg.
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