RB Leipzig booked their ticket to the DFB-Pokal final with a dramatic 2-1 extra-time win over SV Werder Bremen. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke after the game about the exciting 120 minutes and a turbulent week that included the announcement of his move to FC Bayern Munich. DFB.de was in attendance.
Question: Mr. Nagelsmann, how would you sum up the game?
Julian Nagelsmann: I was very satisfied with the first 25 minutes. We had a lot of shots, pressed the opposition hard, closed them down well and we were very present. After that, the game turned a bit. We had problems picking up the deep runs. We didn't always stand well to our opposition number and were a bit lucky in one or two moments not to go behind. We started the second half strongly and with a lot of pressure, we had a header that hit the crossbar and another shot hit the post. There was a goal in the game, but unfortunately, it didn't happen.
Question: So it went to extra time.
Nagelsmann: The extra time was exciting, of course. We scored two goals and conceded one, which we more or less did to ourselves. That shouldn't have happened. But the team fought incredibly hard. We deserved to win, but it was tough. Bremen got the ball into the final third quickly by simple but effective means and had a lot of power with their three attacking players. In the end, we were a little lucky but deserved winners.
Question: You could feel how great the happiness was about the victory. You seemed a bit more tense than usual before the game. How much pressure did you feel?
Nagelsmann: I was tense as is normal. A lot is at stake in a semifinal. To score a goal so late in extra time is of course very emotional. I only have compliments; the whole week was very turbulent for the club, but you could see that the news didn't do any damage to the team. The guys threw everything in once again, for me, for the coaching team. They have kept the dream alive of us being able to win the DFB-Pokal. A big compliment to the guys.
Question: How did it feel for you personally after the past few days were so turbulent?
Nagelsmann: Very good. I don't want to offend anyone, but I do think that if we had lost, one or two people would have said that's because they released the news at that time. I think it's impressive how the team performed. They do it for themselves, of course, but also for the coaching staff and for me. It's been like the for past two years and the team always give their all. You can see from that that it they haven't been affected. We all have a good bond and we all want to be successful together. I don't get the feeling that the guys are bitter. One or two are upset, of course. That's normal. But we've pulled together and we've said that we want to continue on this path successfully together until the last day on 22nd May.
Question: What would it mean to you to leave RB Leipzig with the first title in the club's history?
Nagelsmann: It would mean a lot. On one hand to crown the work we've done in the last two years. The whole club has developed very well and also in a footballing sense, the boys have also developed well. There have been many emotional moments in the last two years and we have celebrated a lot of successes. The icing on the cake would of course be a trophy. That would be a great thing for the club, the players and for me, too.
Question: Hee-Chan Hwang is still waiting for his first goal in the Bundesliga, but proved effective again in the DFB Cup. He scored one goal himself and set up the second. What did you make of him today?
Nagelsmann: He did very, very well. He scored a goal, and his assist was also technically impressive. Defensively, he was also very committed, so the opponent was always under pressure. He was obviously very pleased after his goal; you could tell that. He's a fine character and thanked me a thousand times after the game. There aren't many players who still thank me given the little playing time they have. It should be the other way around. I thanked him, too, of course.
Question: Emil Forsberg, who scored the winning goal, was also a substitute.
Nagelsmann: I actually wanted to bring him on earlier, in the middle of the second half, but the dynamic of the game kept changing. therefore, I kept having to rethink. I was very happy that he scored the goal. He was actually planned for the penalty shoot-out, but I also didn't ban him from scoring such a nice goal beforehand. He is the man for the late goals.
Question: What was the mood like in the dressing room after the game?
Nagelsmann: Hee-Chan danced a bit; the guys asked him to do it. He does it quite well, I must say. I actually wanted to say something, too, but then I decided not to. There are moments as a coach when you shouldn't take yourself more importantly than you are. This was one of those moments.