It was an extraordinary season for RB Leipzig last year. The top-tier German side finished runners-up in the Bundesliga title race and made their first-ever UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance. However, six months later, the team is already out of the elite European football tournament and is currently stuttering at the ninth position on the league table.
Yussuf Poulsen, who has been a part of the club since 2013, feels the changes the club witnessed in the summer transfer window as the reason behind the steep fall.
Julian Nagelsmann, who made headlines for being the youngest manager after guiding Leipzig into the UCL semis, joined hands with defending champions Bayern Munich. The 34-year-old didn’t go alone and took forward Dayot Upamecano with him. Central defender Ibrahima Konate made a bigger move as he switched to Premier League, signing for Liverpool in the summer.
“We had a lot of changes this year. We change our coach, we lost a couple of our top-performing players in the transfer window in summer,” said Poulsen on a virtual media-meet organised by Sony Sports Network.
However, the Danish forward is optimistic and hopes to see the team bounce back in the second phase of the league.
“I think it’s normal for a club that’s developing as fast as we’ve been doing. People who have been here for a long time are not here anymore and you get some changes, which takes some time to get to the level that you’ve already achieved.”
“We had a half year where we didn’t perform well as we wanted to but now we think we are on the right track again,” added Poulsen referring to the team’s commanding 4-1 win over Mainz last week.
Poulsen also backed new coach Domenico Tedesco, who was appointed in December, to turn things around. “We’ve now got a new coach that we think we are fast getting used to. He’s got a lot of good ideas that are showing of. I think the first match after the winter break also showed that, even though we’ve a lot of people out due to corona, injuries and we couldn’t fill out our bench with the people in the squad,” said the 27-year-old, who has netted four goals in this season so far.
Sharing his thoughts on Covid-19 cases once again shooting, the Leipzig forward termed the situation to be “difficult”, before adding “it is the time we are living in.”
“It’s just not our team but the same for all the clubs. We are in a more restricted area and we see only each other and have Covid tests everyday, so we are more protected,” said Poulsen.
“That’s why when we have one case, it’s often only one or two cases and then they are sent into quarantine but that’s the reality we have to manage. And I think up till now, we’ve managed that really really well,” he added.
Leipzig will take on VfB Stuttgart in their next clash and will be hoping to secure back-to-back wins.
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