RB Leipzig defies the death of favorites: “Now a lot is up to us”

Even if RB Leipzig struggled for long stretches against the bravely fighting second division team from Rostock, progression in the DFB Cup was deserved in the end. “We are very happy,” explained RB coach Domenico Tedesco after the final whistle: “We had a lot of control. Maybe it was a bit boring for the spectators because we played a lot horizontally and missed the right moment to change the tempo do. That’s a small fly in the ointment.”

Rostock makes life difficult for RB

After Yussuf Poulsen’s early lead, the host failed to put the lid on early. Rostock narrowed the spaces and was primarily concerned with defensive work. Scorer Poulsen analyzed: “When the opponent is deep, it’s always difficult. Rostock did well.” So it lasted until the final phase before Dani Olmo netted after a counterattack to make it 2-0. “We didn’t have many opportunities, but we took advantage of them,” Poulsen summed up.

Dortmund and Gladbach also say goodbye

Even if the game was tough, the only thing that counts for Leipzig is getting into the next round. RB had reached the final twice in the past three years, but had no chance against Bayern Munich in 2019 (0: 3) and in 2021 against Borussia Dortmund (1: 4). Now you belong to the narrow circle of title contenders – also because the favorites died in the round of 16.

While one Borussia from Dortmund was knocked out of the competition by second division leader St. Pauli, the other Borussia from Mönchengladbach, which had previously dismantled Bayern that had subscribed to the title, had to give up without a murmur against second division club Hannover 96. “It’s just the trophy. You don’t get anything for free. Anything can happen,” said Poulsen.

Despite the elimination of the top clubs, the road to the final remains rocky. In addition to RB, the three Bundesliga clubs Freiburg, Union Berlin and Bochum are also represented. They are joined by the second division clubs Hannover, Karlsruhe and the two Hamburg clubs HSV and St. Pauli. Who RB meets in the quarterfinals will be drawn on January 30th. But no matter what the opponent’s name: Leipzig should now be the favorite in every game. “Now it’s up to us,” emphasized national player Lukas Klostermann.

Basically, the game was a bit tough. We’ve shined before. Lukas Klostermann Defender RB Leipzig

The tedious performance against Rostock showed that getting into the final will be anything but a sure-fire success. RB was lucky in the second half when Streli Mamba initially only hit the side netting after a counterattack. Shortly thereafter, keeper Peter Gulacsi made a mistake and involuntarily hung up for Björn Rother, who clearly failed with his shot from the middle circle. “Basically, the game was a bit tough,” said Klostermann: “We’ve already shone more.”

Concentration on Wolfsburg

Now the focus is on everyday life in the league before the quarter-finals in the cup continue at the beginning of March. RB Wolfsburg receives in the Bundesliga on Sunday. The recent upward trend should continue, ideally the jump to a Champions League place beckons. “We know that with this team we basically have the opportunity to win every game,” stressed Tedesco. A possible final in the cup does not play a role in the mind of the 36-year-old German-Italian. “We continue to focus on the next task. There is still a semi-final and a quarter-final before the final.” Poulsen put it much more offensively. “Our goal is to win something this year. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”


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RB Leipzig defies the death of favorites: “Now a lot is up to us”

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