At the moment, Timo Werner has the highest transfer market value of any German footballer in the Bundesliga, and is valued at €60 million according to transfermarkt.com. After the World Cup disappointment, the striker is now making his way through Europa League qualification. However, RB Leipzig also have a game this Saturday (15:30 CEST), away to fourth-division side Viktoria Köln, whose stadium holds 6,000 people. Timo Werner spoke to DFB.de about the DFB-Pokal game, Ralf Rangnick and the national team.
DFB.de: Mr Werner, RB Leipzig are currently playing in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League in record high temperatures. How are the team doing right now?
Time Werner: The team are in a really good place right now. We have played more competitive games than usual, compared to a normal August. What matters is that we are in the third qualifying round, with a foot already in the play-offs and the players who featured at the World Cup are regaining their match fitness. The DFB-Pokal game against Viktoria Köln comes at a perfect time for us.
DFB.de: Viktoria Köln, your first-round opponents, have already started their season and are currently fifth in the Regionalliga West. What will the game come down to?
Timo Werner: We don’t know much about Viktoria Köln right now as we are preparing for our game against Universitatea Craiova. However, we are a Bundesliga team and we want to win. We will certainly have to play well and we know every cup game can go either way so we will be prepared. We must not underestimate them. They will have the crowd behind them, which can create a difficult atmosphere for us to play in. But if everything goes to plan, we will beat them.
DFB.de: This cup game is a bit of a David versus Goliath scenario. What do you think about that?
Werner: To be honest, as a Bundesliga player that is always a difficult situation. When you play a team that is a division or two divisions below you, they will always put in 110% and as a Bundesliga team, you simply cannot lose. Goliath has to win, but everyone is supporting David. I am looking forward to this game a lot – the whole cup atmosphere is special.
DFB.de: What is your relationship with head coach Ralf Rangnick like?
Werner: Until now everything has run smoothly. He knows the players and their strengths well, because he brought most of us to the club! Rangnick is a strict coach and he knows exactly what his priorities are. I know exactly what he expects of me and so we work well together. We are just all excited for the season to start so we can show everyone we can play well under Rangnick too.
DFB.de: Rangnick is a fan of pressing and counterattacking football. Will it be more difficult for you to adjust when you join up with the Germany team in September for the games against France (06.09.18) and Peru (09.09.18)?
Werner: Nowadays in football, every player must be versatile. At club level, you have to be able to change when a new coach comes in, as coaches usually have different playing systems. Us players have to be able to play in these different systems every time someone new comes in. This is just the norm nowadays for Bundesliga players and almost definitely for internationals too. However, the way we play at RB Leipzig is actually quite similar to the German national team because we both have quick build-up play, the football is physical and there is a lot of high-intensity running. No matter which system you play in, the basis is very similar.
DFB.de: Do you think Germany have to press more and play more counterattacking football in order to find success again?
Werner: That’s a good question. The coach will definitely find a winning solution again. Our early exit from the World Cup was a setback but I don’t think we should overreact. We had our best qualifying campaign ever before that and even if the World Cup was too short, we shouldn’t bring everything into question. I hope and expect that we will go to Munich on 6th September fully focused and committed for the game against France. The coach has explained to us clearly what we have to do differently and what new things we have to incorporate into our game. We need to concentrate on doing these things properly.
DFB.de: Your first game of the Nations League is against the world champions – the perfect way to restart, right?
Werner: Well, it certainly won’t be an easy game. France will be the favourites but that could also allow us to play more freely. In any case, we’re looking forward to getting back to it with the national team; we’ve got an early World Cup exit to make up for.