BERLIN: Disappointment among RB Leipzig players over their Champions League Round of 16 exit at the hands of Liverpool is unlikely to linger long, with the club having now set its sights firmly on domestic trophies.
Leipzig, in second place in the Bundesliga two points behind leaders Bayern Munich, on Sunday host in-form Eintracht Frankfurt, in fourth place and locked in a battle for a top four finish, hoping to maintain their chase of the champions.
“The Champions League exit may hurt a bit,” said Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg. “We now have to draw our lessons and look ahead because we have important games in the German Cup and the Bundesliga.”
Bayern, chasing a record-extending ninth consecutive league crown, have not been as dominant as in past seasons, with Leipzig playing a stellar Bundesliga campaign and having been left as the Bavarians’ only title rivals with 10 games remaining.
Bayern are on 55 points, with Leipzig on 53. The two teams are set to meet in the Bundesliga in early April, straight after the break for international matches.
“We should not only talk about the game on April 3 against Bayern,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “We have a few games to play before that and we have to reach our limits every time.”
“We want to challenge for both the league and the Cup.”
Leipzig’s rock-solid backline – the best in the league – has been the pillar of their success so far, having let in 20 goals in 24 Bundesliga matches.
In attack they have absorbed the departure of striker Timo Werner, and with 15 different scorers in the Bundesliga this season they are the second most versatile team up front.
The Saxony club, which has yet to win a trophy in its brief history, is also through to the German Cup last four, taking on the winners of the postponed quarter-final between Jahn Regensburg and Werder Bremen.
“We have to put the Liverpool game quickly behind us even if it hurts,” Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann said. “We have important tasks ahead of us which we need to tackle.”
Bayern travel to Werder Bremen on Saturday while third-placed VfL Woflsburg, on 45 points, host basement club Schalke 04.
Champions League quarter-finalists Borussia Dortmund, in sixth place on 39, host Hertha Berlin. – Reuters