Julian Nagelsmann maintains RB Leipzig will fancy their chances against Atletico Madrid, insisting Timo Werner is not irreplaceable.
Nagelsmann and Diego Simeone go head-to-head in the revamped UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, as Leipzig take on Atletico Madrid at the Estádio da Luz on Thursday.
The Bundesliga outfit finished top of Group G, three points clear of second-place Lyon, and moved on to put four past Tottenham without replay in their last-16 tie.
Nagelsmann’s side now face a formidable challenge of a regular Champions League contestants, who have made it to the semi-finals in three of their last six appearances in the competition.
However, the 33-year-old coach is confident of his team’s chances of grabbing their first-ever Champions League semi-finals participation.
“My first thought was that they’re strong defensively. We’ll have to be creative and have control,” he told Marca.
“They’re a European heavyweight, especially in recent years. Diego Simeone has done a great job with a lot of success.
“They’re a solid team that we’ll have to drill through and that we want to drill through.
“It’s a good prediction to say it’s 50-50. [Smiles].”
Nagelsmann has also reflected on the bookies’ optic to rate Atletico Madrid as favorites.
“They’re more known in Europe, and we’re a young side.
“Atleti have worked well for a long time, and if I were a Spanish journalist, then I’d also make Atletico favorites. That doesn’t bother me.
“I want us to put in a good performance, and if we go through for Spanish media to say that we deserved it. I’d be happy with that.”
Timo Werner recently left Leipzig to join Chelsea and won’t be able to provide his contribution to Nagelsmann’s cause.
But, the German tactician believes the rest of the squad can perform in the absence of the club’s top scorer.
“It’s a good thing that we don’t have to play with ten men and that we can replace him. [Laughs].
“We have quality players to replace him with. Timo is a super player who scored a lot, but I see other players who were in his shadow who can replace him.”