Leipzig boss Nagelsmann unfazed by Atletico virus cases


Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann says he is fully focused on their Champions League quarter-final despite two detected cases of coronavirus in the squad of Thursday’s opponents Atletico Madrid.

Atletico’s Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko, who tested positive for COVID-19 at the weekend, have been isolated and left at home but the match in Lisbon is due to go ahead as planned.

Atletico breathed a sigh of relief on Monday as their players and staff all returned negative results in a further round of testing before the team flew to Portugal.

“We know that there are clear UEFA protocols for such cases. If it remains two cases, it won’t have much effect,” said Nagelsmann.

“We are concentrating entirely on our preparation and won’t let it get to us.”

RB Leipzig, who were only founded in 2009, had never got to the knockout stages in Europe’s top club competition before this season, and having beaten Tottenham in the last 16, they are eager to claim another big-name scalp.

Nagelsmann’s biggest concern is trying to replace the firepower of Timo Werner, who netted 34 times this term, including four goals in the Champions League, before the Germany striker joined Chelsea last month.

Denmark striker Yussuf Poulsen is set to partner Czech Republic forward Patrik Schick, who is on loan from Roma, up front on Thursday.

“Once you’re there, you must have the determination to go all the way to the final and the title,” Poulsen told AFP subsidiary SID.

The German side are fully aware of what to expect against Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who have plenty of experience at this stage of the competition.

“Atletico are a strong team, they show it every year in the Champions League,” said Leipzig’s Dani Olmo, with Atletico finishing runners-up in both 2014 and 2016.

“We have trained very well and we are ready for this big task,” he added.

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