After beating Paris Saint-Germain comfortably in the first game of the Champions League group stage last week, Manchester United will now host Leipzig at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Despite the side’s inconsistencies in the Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men and their style of play is more suited in Europe, especially with how they’ve setup recently within a 3-4-1-2 system.
With the Bundesliga side travelling to Manchester without the likes of Amadaou Haidara, Konrad Laimer, Lukas Klostermann and Nordi Mukiele, Julian Nagelsmann will be looking to show off his tactical flexibility and versatility, something that he is being well known for at a young age. Due to the 33-year-old’s intelligence and adaptation, the team are yet to suffer a defeat so far this season.
Leipzig’s project is one of the most exciting things in Europe, where many football supporters are expecting them to reach the levels of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. This can potentially happen, especially with the important assistance of Dietrich Mateschitz, who is an Austrian billionaire businessman and is the co-founder and 49% owner of the energy drink company Red Bull.
With no further ado, here are the three key Leipzig players to look out for tomorrow…
Dayot Upamecano – Centre back
Majority of Manchester United fans will already be aware of centre-back, Dayot Upamecano, who was constantly linked with a move to England in recent months by the English and German media. The French international is regarded as a key individual within the Leipzig backline, having become a regular starter for the side in recent years and is now seen as one of the best defenders in Germany.
With his strength, ability to read the game and burst of pace, the 22-year-old has the skillset and the potential to go onto become one of the best centre-backs in Europe. On Wednesday evening, he will be put to a huge test, facing the likes of Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, who have proven to be deadly on the counter through their movement, positioning and dribbling.
Dani Olmo – Attacking midfielder
Since joining Leipzig in January 2020, Dani Olmo has been able to take his abilities and performances up a notch under Julian Nagelsmann, who has been carefully developing and improving the player week by week. Whether he is utilised in the number ten role or as an inside forward, Olmo is able to make an impact through his one-on-one dribbling as well as his intelligence to work in tight areas.
Olmo has surprised a number of people with his finishing and his shooting from long distance, as he has a tendency to use the inside of his right foot to achieve the right power and placement of the ball. Not only that, the midfielder links up effectively with the lone forward along with the wide players, allowing him to be seen as an unpredictable and difficult player to read by the opposition.
Yussuf Poulsen – Centre forward
Although he is no longer playing up front with Timo Werner, who had left Leipzig for Chelsea in the summer, Yussuf Poulsen is relishing the lone forward role in the 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-2-1 system. So far this season, he has completed two goals and one assist in four league appearances and will be looking to open his account in Europe shortly, as he will be up against both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
The Danish international is commonly known for his ability to win aerial duels as well as be a huge nuisance in the penalty box, as long as the crosses are placed correctly in the dangerous areas by the likes of Angelino, Christopher Nkunku and Dani Olmo. If the creativity and service is there for Poulsen to latch onto, then there should be no doubts in him causing a number of problems to Manchester United’s backline, as they have been under the scrutiny for poor defending and organisation.