Emil Forsberg has already played in the DFB-Pokal final with RB Leipzig, losing to FC Bayern Munich in 2019. On Thursday (20:45 CEST), Leipzig will get a second chance to lift the trophy when they face Borussia Dortmund. In an interview with DFB.de, the 29-year-old talks about the upcoming final, his football-loving family and the Sweden national team.
DFB.de: Mr. Forsberg, how great is the desire to win the DFB-Pokal, what would be the first title in the club's history?
Emil Forsberg: It's huge. Everyone at this club wants to win the first title. Of course, you can already feel a degree of tension, but we're training very well, and of course we're looking forward to the final and want to win.
DFB.de: You've already been to the final of the DFB-Pokal once before with RB Leipzig in 2019. Back then, you lost 3-0 to FC Bayern Munich. What memories do you have of that game?
Forsberg: Of course, the feeling before the game was completely different to the one afterwards. Nevertheless, it was a great experience that I will never forget. The result aside, you dream of being able to play in games like that. Now I have another chance and I want to leave the pitch as a winner so that the feeling after the game will be just as good as it was before.
DFB.de: What have you made of your final opponents Borussia Dortmund this season?
Forsberg: From the outside, Dortmund's season has been a bit of a rollercoaster. They have had some highs, but also a few lows. They changed coaches midway through the season, but the team now seem very stable again. Borussia Dortmund are one of the best sides in the Bundesliga; they're very strong and hard to beat.
DFB.de: Head coach Julian Nagelsmann has the chance to crown his two years at RB Leipzig with a title before moving to FC Bayern Munich next season. How has the team taken his decision?
Forsberg: If you see the reaction we showed a few days later in the DFB-Pokal semi-final against Werder Bremen [winning 2-1 in extra time], the way we performed as a team and just how good the mood is among the team, then it shows that everything is fine. Julian wants to win, and we want to win. We fight for him, he fights for us, and we have a common goal: we want to win the cup. That's the only thing that matters.
DFB.de: How did he inform the team about his departure?
Forsberg: He had a conversation with us together with Oliver [Mintzlaff, RB Leipzig CEO]. That's all it was. We are all professional football players and know that transfers are a part of the game.
DFB.de: What would you say Julian Nagelsmann has achieved in his two years at RB Leipzig?
Forsberg: I think we've improved a little bit each year. This year in particular, we are even stronger in our play on the ball and find many more solutions in our build-up play, as well as in the final third. As a result, we should actually have scored even more goals.
DFB.de: Not only Julian Nagelsmann is moving to FC Bayern Munich, but also centre-back Dayot Upamecano. Timo Werner left for Chelsea last year. Do such departures hinder the club's development into a real contender for the league title?
Forsberg: It's quite normal in football for good players to move on. We still have a lot of guys who have been part of this team for six years and are still performing. On top of that, we have always added quality players to the squad, such as Christopher Nkunku or Dani Olmo. New additions usually find their feet quickly, so the transition doesn't take that long.
DFB.de: In the coming season, RB Leipzig will be coached by Jesse Marsch, who was the club's assistant in 2018/19. What memories do you have of him?
Forsberg: He's a great person and a superb coach - he has also shown that at Red Bull Salzburg. We want to kick on with him again next season.
DFB.de: Let's talk a little about you: Your grandfather Lennart was a professional footballer, as was your father Leif Forsberg. Was your path to becoming a professional therefore always laid out?
Forsberg: It always went in that direction, of course. But I also played a lot of other sports like tennis, ice hockey or floorball, so it wasn't a given that I would become a footballer, but that's how it worked out.
DFB.de: Was there a key factor in that?
Forsberg: I remember playing against a first-division team in my home country of Sweden with GIF Sundsvall, a second-division side. I played well and was also named Man of the Match. That was a good indicator and showed me what I was capable of. After that, I focused all my attention on football.
DFB.de: Your wife, Shanga, is also a former footballer and played for RB Leipzig from 2016 to 2018. Is football the topic of conversation in your family?
Forsberg: Yes, we talk about football all the time. It's just in our blood. My daughter also plays football now. Whenever I come home, I have to train with her (laughs).
DFB.de: When you joined RB Leipzig in 2015, the club was still playing in Bundesliga 2. Would you have expected such a success story back then, all the way to the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal final?
Forsberg: As strange as it sounds, that was always our aim. I had long talks with Ralf Rangnick, who was the sporting director at the time, and he showed me the plan. Everything has turned out exactly as predicted back then. I'm very happy about how we've grown as a club together with the fans. The decisive factor was continuity. You just have to look at how many players were in the starting eleven for the DFB-Pokal final in 2019 who had been playing for Leipzig in the second division [7 in total], and with the exception of Timo Werner, all the others from that XI are still here now. Players like that help the newcomers quickly find their way in the team.
DFB.de: Let's talk about the Sweden national team. Sweden's superstar is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is now back in action for the national team. How do you find him as a teammate?
Forsberg: He's a great player and person who always wants to win. We're all happy that he's back with the national team. You could see straight away in the last two matches that he makes us better. He is still a world-class player who also demands a lot from his teammates. He also has a lot of experience of course - he has played for many big clubs and in big games. That's why it's also helpful when a player like that speaks to the team.
DFB.de: Sweden will face Spain, Poland and Slovakia in the group stage of the European Championship. What do you make of your chances for that competition?
Forsberg: We want to advance, of course. That's our goal. No one expected that from us at the 2018 World Cup, and we still made it to the quarterfinals. I think we've got even better since then.
DFB.de: Is there a favourite for you at the European Championship?
Forsberg: There are always favourites, for example France, Belgium and England. But anything can happen at a European Championship. We'll have to wait and see who wins it - maybe it will be us (grins).
DFB.de: At the 2018 World Cup, you faced Germany in the group stage and lost 2-1 after conceding a goal in injury time. How would you do against Germany if you faced them again at the European Championship?
Forsberg: That's a good question. I don't really know. We lost the game back then, but still advanced from the group. Germany always have a very good squad with a lot of good players and are one of the top teams in Europe.###more###