RB Leipzig manager Domenico Tedesco has blasted his side for “giving out too many gifts” ahead of their Europa League semi-final second leg against Rangers on Thursday night.
Die Roten Bullen will take a 1-0 advantage to Ibrox thanks to Angelino’s late winner in the first leg but they have not had the best preparation for their trip. While Europa League teams are used to playing on Sunday following a Thursday game, RB Leipzig were made to wait until Monday to play their Bundesliga fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach.
On a normal post-Europa League week that might be a benefit, having an extra day of rest, but it meant that RB Leipzig will have one less day to prepare for this Thursday’s game – while Rangers faced Celtic in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday.
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And it wasn’t good preparation. Leipzig lost 3-1 to Gladbach, who are still struggling in the bottom half of the Bundesliga table, and went down to 10 men in the 64th minute, giving Tedesco’s side half an hour to at least get a point.
As a result, Leipzig have dropped down to fifth in the Bundesliga table with just two games left to play, one point behind Freiburg who win at the weekend to jump into the Champions League spots. It was Leipzig’s second consecutive league defeat after also losing to Union Berlin and there is a very good chance they will need to win the Europa League to secure their spot in next season’s Champions League.
But if they do not step up their performance, things could go wrong at Ibrox, and Tedesco was angry with the way his side played against Gladbach.
“We played disembodied. If this base is missing, you can throw the tactics board in the trash can,” he told reporters.
“We weren’t at the races in the first half and didn’t have any of the things that you need for a game like this. We’re giving out too many gifts at an important stage of the season.
“Congratulations to Gladbach on the deserved win. We have to do our homework for the final two games of the season and win. The games will be tricky against difficult opposition, and we’ve also got games in other competitions. We’ll give our all.”
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Tedesco also gave a hint at making a few changes from the defeat to Gladbach, adding: “So we now need to find brand new ideas for Glasgow and we also need new personnel too.
“Tiredness was no reason for this defeat, even if our intensity was completely lacking in the first half.”
The Italian had made five changes against Gladbach from the team that started the 1-0 win over Rangers last week, with Nordi Mukiele, Willi Orban, Mohamed Simakan, Kevin Kampl and Andre Silva all coming in. Orban was unavailable for the first leg against Rangers due to suspension but Tedesco may opt to leave him out of the starting XI once again, with Marcel Halstenberg potentially returning to the back three.
One man that is certain to start, however, is Christopher Nkunku who scored his 30th goal of the season across all competitions initially equalising for Leipzig before the game got away from them. The Frenchman is one of the most in-form players in Europe right now and reportedly has a host of teams interested in luring him away from Leipzig this summer, including Manchester United, AC Milan and Arsenal – and that’s before we get to the fans dreaming of their teams signing him.