Sport Bild: Mr. Henrix, RB Leipzig is the only German team still in three competitions. What titles will RB win and where will you be at the end of the season?
Benjamin Henrich (25): Hopefully the Europa League, the DFB Cup and a place in the top four will qualify for the Champions League. I had an important moment a year ago: Kai Havertz, with whom I went to school and played together for a long time in Leverkusen, scored the decisive goal for Chelsea in the Champions League final. Then it became clear to me again: the Champions League is the greatest.
Is the league performance the most important?
In terms of value, I would say that winning the DFB Cup and the Bundesliga is very important. But I am also very happy to win the Europa League.
In the cup semi-final this Wednesday against Union Berlin.
They are in a good mood and have quick attackers. In the first half of the season we played badly in Berlin and lost 2-1. We still have credit to settle with them and we definitely want to get to the final.
After the Union match, Jesse Marsh was sent off. Your ex coach said he doesn’t know what your strengths are. Current coach Domenico Tedesco said right away that he knew you from the youth matches and knew exactly what you were capable of.
This pretty much describes the evolution of my season. It wasn’t easy for me under Jesse Marsh. In the first half of the season I didn’t have a game for more than 90 minutes for a long time, then Domenico Tedesco came in as a coach who relied on me the most. I feel like I’m getting better and better at paying for that through performance, even though I think I could still do better.
After defeating Al-Ittihad
Karaoke booth! This is how Leipzig celebrates its final entry
Source: Instagram: @kevinkampl
Would you have left if Marsh had stayed?
I admit I was already thinking of a change at the time. There were also discussions with my family about how to move forward. Because time was also difficult in general perception. Suddenly she was criticized everywhere. For example, I often read posts on Instagram in which I have been criticized. I’m still training hard and haven’t let myself down. That helped me after changing the coach. The advent of Domenico Tedesco was the point of contention. Of course I feel better now because I am important to the team again.
How did Tedesco manage this?
At first we had a straightforward conversation in which he told me how he planned with me. This is exactly what he did. I played the first two matches as in all the previous matches. Since then I’ve had a coach who talks to me and trusts me. However, ideas for change were off the table.
Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa
Leipzig have lost only two of Tedesco’s 20 matches. Explain the reasons!
Our face in the second half of the season is very different than it was in the first half of the season. At first we only had good results under the new coach, now we are playing well too, and the well-trained mechanisms have worked well. The mood here is great. This shows that the coach is up to the team.
How does he do that?
genuinely. The coach speaks clearly to the good and the bad – in everyone. It’s hard sometimes, but you never feel like he’s personal, that he wants to help us.
According to Tedesco, you are “glued” to the team, you bring players together and are important to the soul.
Yes, I would be happy to take care of that. For example, it is important for me to translate everything for foreign players. I know that from Monaco and I know how it feels when you don’t have it all.
He knew it!
He said that Tedesco accepted the winning goal for Forsberg
Source: RB Leipzig / Bullen.TV
How was Monaco?
If Diego Benaglio (he was a goalkeeper in Monaco, editor) hadn’t cared for me, I wouldn’t have understood anything. There was no translator. I once had a language teacher who the club canceled because it was too expensive. After all, I learned French then faster. This is another reason why I can say: the time in Monaco was not very successful in terms of sport, but I made great strides as a person.
In Leipzig, for example, I settled a dispute between Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku over a free kick against Cologne on the field.
Both were sure they would put the ball down. I went in there and said: Make a deal, now you shoot one, the next ball gets the other.
Then Nkunko actually hit the ball. He has shown many matches on a world level. Would you have believed such a development three years ago?
At that time, she played as a left winger for Monaco against Paris. Christo played on the right flank, so we were in a head-to-head duel. His performance was – as we say – subject to improvement (laughs). When I came to Leipzig I told him I didn’t think he was a very good player. I apologized to him for the idea. He is a good footballer in attack. Today we laugh at our first professional duel.
Madness Cup in Overtime
Forsberg heads Leipzig to Berlin
Do you use your contacts to tell Nkunko to stay in Leipzig?
I’m trying. It would be great if we could keep the team together. Last summer we lost the coach, the captain and two important defenders. These were undoubtedly the reasons for the poor start to the season. If we can keep the team together…
..then chases the right-back Bayern Munich and becomes the champion?
Then we will have the quality to continue playing at the top. In the second half of the table, we are ahead of Bayern Munich. There could have been more this season, it’s hard to say. To attack Bayern we need consistency. Leipzig was often close, but then unfortunately collapsed. The current second half of the season should be the benchmark we use as a guide.