Tue, 28 Mar 2023

by Oliver Trust

BERLIN, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Despite the roles defined ahead of the last 16 duel in the Champions League against Manchester City, optimism is growing that RB Leipzig may possibly spring a surprise.

Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the 2022 German Cup winners feel comfortable as underdogs when crossing swords with City.

The successful second half in the first leg "gives us the confidence to deliver a blow," Leipzig CEO Max Eberl stated before the team left for Manchester.

Despite having to replace vital cornerstones such as French international Christopher Nkunku and midfielder Xaver Schlager, coach Marco Rose said that "we take things as they are. The latest league win gives us the confidence that we can do without them and survive."

The recent upswing of German international Timo Werner and the return of Spanish international Dani Olmo increase Rose's options.

"We don't travel to Manchester to have a good time," Eberl said, while adding that Tuesday's outcome won't affect the club's main tasks.

The Leipzig official spoke of the important message to the players that Leipzig can provide them with Champions League competition every season.

The 49-year-old emphasized the club's determination to win silverware and hasn't given up on this year's Bundesliga.

"I don't only see a duel between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund; I see us around taking opportunities when they turn up," the former defender said.

Appointing former Schalke man Rouven Schroder as sporting director seems to underline Leipzig's ambitions to play a significant role in German football in the future.

In Eberl's perspective, Leipzig provides the best opportunities for young players such as Olmo, Josko Gvardiol and Nkunku, as they made their way into their respective national teams while playing for Leipzig.

Eberl announced changes in the squad over the upcoming three transfer periods, as Nkunku and Austrian international Konrad Laimer are said to leave after this season.

Such a transition won't affect the team's ambitions to keep riding the wave since Rose took over. Creating a solid base at management level seems to trigger optimism to keep a high level on both the domestic and international stage.

"The squad might get new faces, but we have proven the club has the energy to stay at the top and challenge for titles," Eberl said.

The CEO's ambitious plans seem to include a surprise in the Etihad Stadium. "Yes, we go there to win the game," Eberl said.

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