RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is relishing the chance to go one step further after becoming the youngest manager ever to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
The ambitious 33-year-old has already exceeded expectations in his first season at Leipzig and took his side into the last four with Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid.
Now just Paris Saint-Germain — coached by fellow German Thomas Tuchel — stand in his way of reaching the final.
‘Games against Thomas are always very interesting,’ said Nagelsmann, ‘because he has a very good idea of how to play football. I hope that I will also come up with a good idea against him and that my boys will perform as they did against Atletico. Then we will play a very good game.’
Tuchel is 13 years older at 46 and briefly coached Nagelsmann as a player in the Augsburg reserves 13 years ago. An injury cut Nagelsmann’s playing career short and he became a scout at Augsburg for Tuchel.
Tuchel also represents the new generation of German coaches who have emerged in the past decade and become known for meticulous planning and their emphasis on tactics and all mental aspects of the game.
Leipzig managed to neutralise Atletico’s biggest weapons with a flexible and hard-working defence and he is now working on a plan to face Tuchel.
‘I have often played as a coach against him but rarely won,’ said Nagelsmann.
‘Hopefully that will change now. I would be satisfied with a bad game if we win.’
Atletico were heavily criticised back home in Spain for squandering a golden chance to reach at least the last four again. ‘Atletico’s stinginess cost them dearly,’ said the front cover of Spanish newspaper Marca, lambasting theirs players for being over-run by Leipzig.
Despite his side being favourites, Diego Simeone deployed a typically cautious 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders and only brought on £113million signing Joao Felix after going 1-0 down.