All in the Game: Can Nagelsmann and Leipzig skate past Spurs?

Fort William Ultras are on the naughty step, Saarbrucken the giant killers of the week

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann. Photograph: Focke Strangmann/EPA

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann. Photograph: Focke Strangmann/EPA

 

You won’t get board with Nagelsmann

There had already been plenty of reasons to love Julian Nagelsmann, like that time, when he was Hoffenheim manager, that he revealed he works on his tactical plans while sitting on the toilet (“I paint my idea on a piece of paper with a ruler and a lead pencil. I work like a baker. I mix things, shove them in the oven and see if it tastes well”) and his response when asked if he was a contender to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich: “No - he has more trophies in his cupboard than I have underpants.”

Now we have some more reasons after his interview with the Daily Mail ahead of his current club RB Leipzig’s second leg against Spurs in the Champions League. Not only is the 32-year-old actively into snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, mountain-biking, SuperMoto motorcycling, he’s training to become a light aircraft pilot and his ambition is to become a mountain guide in the Alps. He’s not ordinary, this lad.

Best of all: “Sometimes I go home on the skateboard. I live only seven kilometres away. All the fans who see me are laughing. But they never say, ‘he’s crazy’. They recognise that you are living a normal life.”

Ancelotti may have more trophies than Nagelsmann has underpants, but can you see him skateboarding home from Goodison Park?

Fort William Ultras on the naughty step

Highland League club Fort William were on the receiving end of a whole heap of attention last week after their chairman Peter Murphy announced that “following unacceptable behaviour of The Ultras supporters group over a number of games this season we have taken the decision to ban this group from home games. They will be able to gain entry individually if accompanied by a parent.”

That the club, which has an average attendance of around 200, had any Ultra supporters at all was a bit of a surprise, and that they now won’t be allowed in to games unless they’re with their Mammies or Daddies caused no end of chuckling. “You’ve never known fear ‘til you’ve been chased by a Fort William Ultra, with a shinty stick,” as @DavidJWood2 put it.

Mind you, it’s not as if the Ultras have had all that many games to attend of late. Since ending a 74-game run without a league victory back in September, when they famously beat Clachnacuddin 1-0, Fort William have had a string of fixtures postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, their very gorgeous home ground of Claggan Park left looking more like a loch.

So, they might be bottom of the table again (they finished last season on minus seven points), but they only trail Lossiemouth by three points and have nine - nine! - games in hand. When the Ultras turned up with their Mammies and Daddies on Saturday for the game against Nairn County, how did it go? It didn’t. “Today’s match at home to Nairn County has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.” At this rate, they won’t finish the season ‘til 2046.

Quote of the week

“He can be one of our most important players until the end of the season. He is infectious.” In light of current happenings, Frank Lampard’s Pedro compliment was a bit unfortunate.

Number of the week

0 - That’s how many selfies Wolves players are now allowed to have taken with fans, due to the coronavirus. Instead, said the club, “a warm smile and personal greeting will suffice”.

Word Of Mouth (I)

“It’s not important what famous people say. People with knowledge will talk about it ... I wear a baseball cap and have a bad shave. My opinion is really not important.” Jurgen Klopp on being asked for his views on the coronavirus outbreak. Appropriately enough, his comments went viral.

“Lots of people don’t even know if Troy has long hair or short hair. Or is blonde or is dark…. [BUT IT’S]’Troy, Troy, Troy, Troy, he should play’. There was a guy behind me on the bench: ‘Play Troy, play Troy’. I don’t think he even knows Troy.” It’s beginning to sound like Jose Mourinho won’t be happy ‘til Troy Parrott is flogged to Fulham for a fiver.

“Now people can see [after the FA Cup game against Norwich] that he has to work a lot, so don’t think that Parrott is the second Harry Kane because he’s just a young kid that needs to work.” See above.

Giantkillers of the Week

Saarbrucken, of course, after they became the first fourth-tier team to reach the German Cup semi-finals thanks to their penalty shoot-out win over Fortuna Dusseldorf, during which goalkeeper Daniel Batz saved four of Dusseldorf’s efforts to add to another penalty save in normal time.

How happy was Batz? Very. “That’s more than I’d saved together in my whole career!”

But nothing beat the ecstasy Saarbrucken vice-president Dieter Ferner was feeling after the triumph. “This,” he declared, “is the biggest sensation since the birth of Christ.” That’s very big.

Word of mouth (II)

“Milner is the ideal midfielder, the tough and physically strong Englishman who helps young people a lot. He is for the boys what Carragher and Gerrard were for me when I arrived: masters of life.” And this tribute from Liverpool old boy Mohamed Sissoko was even before that masterful goal-saving clearance from James Milner on Saturday.

“The specific characteristic of the ball and Willian’s shooting technique made life really difficult.” If Liverpool goalie Adrian - who made a hames of Willian’s shot in that FA Cup defeat to Chelsea - ever ends up in court, he should hire Jurgen Klopp as his defence counsel.

“Playing around the calendar and always putting the public health as secondary consideration. You are probably the biggest and darkest clown I have ever seen.” Let’s just say, Inter Milan president Steven Zhang is a touch displeased with Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Cristiano Ronaldo after Juve’s defeat to Lyon. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA
Cristiano Ronaldo after Juve’s defeat to Lyon. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

Never change, Ronnie

When Cristiano Ronaldo moved from Real Madrid to Juventus, the German website Transfermarkt gave him a valuation of £90 million. But now that he’s a rusty 35 and had only managed a meagre 21 goals in 21 league games this season, including that record-equalling run of scoring in 11 consecutive games, when he was getting around double that in Spain(ish), they recently dropped his transfer value to a paltry £67.5m. And worse, they gave his team-mate Paulo Dybala a higher valuation (£76.5m).

Knowing Cristiano as we do, you’d guess this didn’t go down exceedingly well. How badly?

Well, as Transfermarkt reported on Instagram, “we can’t tag Ronaldo because he blocked us after he saw his market value”.

Never change Cristiano, never change.

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