Man Utd: Three Leipzig players to look out for ahead of the Champions League fixture at Old Trafford

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.

Hoffenheim Take Huge Risk with Appointment of Rookie Manager


German outfit Hoffenheim have today taken one of the biggest calculated risks in their history: appointing a 28-year-old as manager.

Julian Nagelsmann will become the youngest manager in Bundesliga history after stepping up from youth team coach to replace Huub Stevens, who has had to resign due to ill health.

It is rumoured that Nagelsmann was pencilled in to take over the reins in the summer; however he has now been plunged into a relegation battle due to Stevens’ demise.

The youngster has signed a three-year contract, and so the Hoffenheim board have implied that even relegation this term will not be the end of Nagelsmann’s reign.

The beleaguered side are seven points shy of safety in the Bundesliga, and five adrift of Werder Bremen in the play-off place. And with a trip to Bremen upcoming on Saturday, Nagelsmann will need to hit the ground running with his new charges.

Young Blood

Of course, plenty of youthful gaffers have ploughed a similar path to Nagelsmann as a professional football manager.

Andre Villas-Boas had earned his UEFA coaching badges by the age of 19, and had been appointed manager of the British Virgin Islands by the age of 21. He joined Jose Mourinho as part of Porto’s coaching staff a few years later, before taking over at Academica in 2009 at the ripe old age of 31.

He took the Portuguese side from the bottom of the league (they hadn’t even won a game when Villas-Boas took over) to a safe mid-table spot, and they even progressed to the semi-finals of the League Cup. His former employer Porto took notice and handed him the hot seat in the summer of 2010.

A chronic knee injury ended Brendan Rodgers’ playing career, but that didn’t stop him from making the leap into management: he took over as Reading’s youth team boss in his mid-twenties, before taking on the big task as Chelsea youth team boss at the age of 31. The rest is history as far as the Irishman is concerned.

The youngest manager currently plying his trade in the Premier League is Eddie Howe, who took over the management of Bournemouth at the age of 29. After three consecutive promotions and earning the title of ‘Manager of the Decade’ at the Football League Awards in 2015, Howe is very much a manager on the up.

But even his achievements at such a fledgling age are put in the shade by old big ‘ead himself, Brian Clough.

At the age of 30, Clough was appointed manager of Hartlepool, and from here the most extraordinary journey began. Just two years later he took over at Second Division Derby County, and then three seasons after that the Rams were champions of England. The Clough magic clearly began at a young age.

His managerial CV is up there with the very best, with two First Division titles (the equivalent of the Premier League today), two FA Cups, four League Cups and two European Cups (yesteryear’s Champions League), it’s obvious that age was no barrier to sound management. Let’s hope for Hoffenheim’s sake history repeats itself.