RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is hoping to become the youngest-ever head coach to win Champions League as he prepares to take on Atletico Madrid.
The 33-year-old German has admitted that meeting with Atletico counterpart Diego Simeone will be a tough proposition, however, dismissed suggestions that his charges will be out of their depth against the Spanish giants.
“We’ll have to be creative and have control. They’re a European heavyweight, especially in recent years,” Nagelsmann, who took Hoffenheim into the Champions League before joining Leipzig last year, said in an interview with Marca.
“Diego Simeone has done a great job with a lot of success. They’re a solid team that we’ll have to drill through.”
Leipzig dumped out Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in the last 16, winning 4-0 on aggregate. He added that while he respects Europe’s big-name coaches, he wants to do things his way.
“I think I’ve developed my own style, we play the football I like and that I want to play,” he said.
The German turned down an approach from Real Madrid in 2018, saying it was not “the right step” for his career.
“We agreed that we could speak again in the future if Real Madrid were to need a coach and if I were available,” he said.
Leipzig will be underdogs against a rugged Atletico side that knocked out holders Liverpool in the last 16. He is confident of causing an upset despite missing the services top striker Timo Werner, scorer of 34 goals this season who moved to Chelsea.
“It’s a good thing that we don’t have to play with 10 men and that we can replace him,” he said. “Timo is a super player who scored a lot, but I see other players who were in his shadow who can replace him.”