Werner exit won't leave Leipzig outnumbered against Atletico - Nagelsmann

By Sports Desk August 12, 2020

Timo Werner's departure does not mean RB Leipzig will be "outnumbered" against Atletico Madrid, with Julian Nagelsmann confident his squad still carries a sufficient goal threat.

Chelsea shelled out a reported £45million (€50m) to secure the signature of Werner, who opted to link up with his new team-mates in west London rather than remain with Leipzig for the rest of their Champions League campaign.

The Germany international scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for the Bundesliga side in 2019-20.

Leipzig consequently head into their quarter-final against Atletico on Thursday without their most potent attacking weapon, but Nagelsmann believes they can still do damage at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

"We don't have to play outnumbered, we will replace [Werner] with a capable player," Nagelsmann told a pre-match news conference.

"I can reveal that 11 will start the game, but I will not reveal who will play instead of him. We have quality.

"Timo would have started tomorrow, but we can replace him and we have the ability to get in front of their goal.

"We have players who didn't play when Werner was here and will now get their chance to show what they can do and score plenty."

Nagelsmann's attacking options could be further limited by Patrik Schick being on the way back from a knee injury, while Marcel Halstenberg has been dealing with a back problem.

"We'll see how they are doing. On Friday they were good; we'll see if they can start and play 90, or if they'll start on the bench," said Nagelsmann.

"If they can play 90 minutes, if they're at 100 per cent is a question for all my players, though, and we'll see that tomorrow."

Atleti have been regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League under Diego Simeone but Nagelsmann feels the fact remaining matches will be played as one-offs rather than over two legs makes up for Leipzig's inexperience in European competition.

"We'll look to play our game, we're focused on ourselves," said the Leipzig boss.

"We know that they have a lot of experience over two legs - but anything can happen in just one game as opposed to two legs. Atleti don't have experience in one-off games, just as we don't in this new Champions League format.

"They're physical, they have a really strong centre-back in the shape of [Jose] Gimenez and [Stefan] Savic next to him. We obviously want to look get down the sides and move the ball out wide and try and find gaps in their backline; we won't change our style.

"There's pressure and nerves. But we want to relax the players and not increase the pressure ahead. There's always tension. We've spoken through different scenarios - if we score, if they score.

"We're focused on the game, it'll be exciting and we want to make the first step and take the lead. We will be ready."

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