In his moment of greatest success, cup winning coach Domenico Tedesco (36) is also considering his former club Schalke. “The promotion is great, Schalke simply belongs to the Bundesliga. I also know what this promotion means to the staff and the fans. I am especially happy for them.” In 2018, he led the Royal Blues to the runner-up championship, but then wanted to close the gap against Bayern Munich by Take big, fast steps. After a weak period, he was released after a few months. After playing the best second half of the Bundesliga season with RB Leipzig, Tedesco is believed by many to be able to attack champions Bayern Munich. One thing is clear: conditions are much better than they were at Schalke at the time.
Can Leipzig stop the Munich championship series? “The club is very ambitious and ambitious – which is why we are all here,” Tedesco says. “In the last few months we have done really well not by making big jokes, but by working hard. We want to keep that.”
The coach is currently on vacation with his family. “As I know myself, I will still think about football every day, even when I am on vacation. Planning for the new season is in full swing,” says Tedesco, who also reflects on his time at Schalke when developing RB. “Of course you take something with you from every station. But I don’t think the two cases are alike. The second place at Schalke came as a surprise. Then we had a certain disruption, which unfortunately we couldn’t do as we would have liked for various reasons.”
At the time, Tedesco very quickly tried to bring more elements of football into what was previously a somewhat defensive game. This is not necessary at the RB right-back, as RB Leipzig were among the teams with the most possession and the most chances to score in the second half of the season.
Team planning in Leipzig
At Schalke 04, Tedesco lost three key players after finishing second: Max Meyer (26), Thilo Kehrer (25) and Leon Goretzka (27). In Leipzig it became clear that the team would stay together as long as possible. “The team is completely healthy. There will be no big disruption,” the coach said. He is firmly planning with superstars Christopher Nkunku (24) and Konrad Laimer (25). “The club has positioned itself very clearly on this matter. As a coach, that makes me happy of course.”
There are even signs of rethinking the packed tenth place. RB was already ready to part with one of the trio of Emil Forsberg (30), Dani Olmo (24) and Dominic Szoboszlai (21). But when the Hungarian was actively offered by other clubs and at least returned with interest from Real Sociedad, the Leipzig leaders refused to release Szoboszlai. He should stay, like Forsberg and Olmo.
The coach has a lot of quality at his disposal, but he also has to temper the demands of the three stars. “The three have the quality of being able to make a difference in the game. However, like everyone else, they put themselves at the service of the team. From my point of view, this team spirit, the cohesion of the team, was a very important building block,” Tedesco hopes to have a positive impact.
It also builds on the fact that his first pre-season engagement with the whole team included a step in development. Even players who play for their national teams in the Nations League join RB right-back just a week into training.
Six physically strong should complete the team. In order to free up the place of the opposite team, the club will be willing to let go of players who have not recently been in the starting lineup. With Amadou Haidara (24), Tyler Adams (23), Angeliño (25) or Nordi Mukiele (24), RB may consider suitable offers. But Tedesco doesn’t want to get rid of a professional.
When Tedesco himself extends his contract, which runs until 2023, he’s in the stars despite the cup win. “There is zero zero point pressure on the boiler from both sides on this issue,” the coach says. “We are very comfortable about it. It is no secret that I feel very comfortable here. I think you can see and feel that too.”