Nagelsmann reads the riot act after Leipzig's rude awakening in Frankfurt

The Guardian-11 months before

Seven days later and Leipzig were still having trouble switching on for the full duration of proceedings, although the order of service was inverted this time around. Nagelsmann’s team began the afternoon by breathing the sort of flames Germany’s top flight has become used to in the last couple of years. They ended napping at the fireside as Eintracht Frankfurt turned up the volume and took over the party. Having had 12 efforts at goal to the home side’s one before the break, Lepizig were caught cold by Almamy To...ré’s beautifully struck opener and rarely looked like getting back into it, before Filip Kostic profited from defensive confusion to finish them off in stoppage time.

Eintracht Frankfurt After scoring at least three in their previous nine Bundesliga matches, this was one heck of a comedown. Leipzig’s players admitted they’d been put off their stride by “robust” opponents, as Peter Gulacsi called them, while Konrad Laimer praised Frankfurt for having “defended really well from the first to the last second”.

Bundesliga Their fiercely ambitious coach was not about to spare them, though. “The question,” posed Nagelsmann, “is whether we want to reach the summit or whether we stop underneath and enjoy the beautiful view.” He chided them for their efforts during the preceding week of training, claiming a lack of investment had cost them. “We didn’t have a good 11 against 11 on Wednesday,” he continued, “with little commitment and enthusiasm. It’s not so easy on the pitch if you don’t push yourself to the limit in training.” Explaining his candour he said: “You have to put your fingers in the wound every now and then.” His players will be expecting a tough week. “We are not on a par with Bayern or Dortmund,” Nagelsmann emphasised, “so we have to use every minute of training to work harder than Bayern or Dortmund to get closer [to them].”

Yet it never really felt as if effort was the issue. “How nice it is when football professionals listen to their coaches,” Frankfurter Allgemeine’s Peter Hess wrote on Sunday morning. “Nagelsmann had advised his Leipzig before the game not to think so much about tactical things, but rather to get themselves to the right emotional level.” One wondered whether Leipzig had been so taken with that idea of physical engagement that they overlooked their more habitual smarts. They had swept Union aside the previous week with a rush of adrenaline, rather than any significant change of approach, riding the visceral thrill of Werner’s brilliance. They tried to do the same here in response to Touré’s wonder strike but ran aground against opponents that felt as if they were prepared.

Almamy Touré’s strike arrows into the top corner. Facebook Twitter Pinterest “In the first half we were clearly inferior, and sloppy,” said Eintracht’s coach, Adi Hütter. Yet their own preparation served them well. They were always likely to be chasing their tails in the first half of the season, attempting to replace their magical attacking trio of Sébastien Haller, Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic. Just as things had looked like unravelling before Christmas, they have been rewound up in 2020. This was a second straight win, partly informed by some big returns. Kevin Trapp, back to banish some fairly ordinary goalkeeping to distant memory, was tidy and influential before the break, and David Abraham also looks good after returning from the long ban that followed his bizarre assault on Freiburg’s Christian Streich.

bizarre assault on Freiburg’s Christian Streich And then came Touré. Djibril Sow revealed the dressing room ribbing the French right-back had suffered after missing “a huge chance” at Hoffenheim last week. Touré retorted that he would set the record straight this week, but nobody imagined anything quite like this. The former Monaco defender had already looked the part in the adjustment to a back four, with Frankfurt solid in a 4-4-1-1. This rocket, so unexpected it had striker Bas Dost giggling while discussing it in a post-match television interview, was a welcome bonus.

Nagelsmann and his charges did not feel much like laughing, even after a week in which they won the race to sign the feted Spanish attacking midfielder Dani Olmo. Leipzig have Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern up next. We’ll quickly find out if they have the mentality to carry on and reach the peak.

RB Leipzig have secured the signing of highly-rated Spanish youngster Dani Olmo on a four-year deal 🤝

Another top young talent headed for the Bundesliga! January 25, 2020 Bayern were meant to be tested by Schalke but after Robert Lewandowski breached the defence of one of his favourite victims in the sixth minute, it became a question of how many. Hansi Flick’s team – and especially Thomas Müller – were scintillating, the visitors were rabbits in the Allianz Arena Saturday night headlights and it would have been worse than 5-0 without VAR’s interventions. “You need several things to go for you if you want to win in Munich,” reflected Schalke’s coach, David Wagner, “and today none of those things happened.”

The Erling Braut Haaland show continued; OK, his contribution wasn’t quite as pivotal this week as he came on to score the fourth and fifth goals in Dortmund’s 5-1 win over Köln on Friday night, but that left the Norwegian teenager with a barely believable five Bundesliga goals in 56 minutes of action. “I just think it’s a shame that Erling is letting up,” grinned goalkeeper Roman Bürki. “Three goals in Augsburg and only two tonight.” That Dortmund have scored 10 in two games in 2020, closed the gap at the top and still look vulnerable is perhaps a conversation for another day.

Gladbach were back in business after last week’s slump at Schalke, but they made heavy weather of beating Mainz via Alassane Pléa’s double – right up until Florian Neuhaus’ spectacular chip from way out over Robin Zentner’s head. The keeper escaped near catastrophe at Borussia-Park two years ago when he took his eye off the ball and attempted to kick the penalty spot but he wasn’t so lucky this time around.

"That is a true work of art... A masterpiece!"

Florian Neuhaus, take a moment and applaud yourself 👏

The Gladbach midfielder beat a panicking goalkeeper with an inch-perfect lob... January 25, 2020 Leverkusen 3-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf, Werder Bremen 0-3 Hoffenheim, Bayern 5-0 Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 RB Leipzig, Freiburg, Paderborn 2-3, M'gladbach 3-1 Mainz, Union Berlin 2-0 Augsburg, Wolfsburg 1-2 Hertha Berlin, Dortmund 5-1 Cologne

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