Sports

February 21, 2023

Champions League: Leipzig’s Nkunku in doubt for Man City clash

Champions League: Leipzig’s Nkunku in doubt for Man City clash

RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku is doubtful for Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 clash with Manchester City, manager Marco Rose confirmed on Tuesday.

Nkunku — who came off the bench in Leipzig’s 3-0 win at Wolfsburg on Saturday after a three-month break due to an injury sustained in France’s World Cup training camp — could not complete training on Tuesday.

“His muscle had a bit of a reaction after the Wolfsburg game” Rose said of Nkunku, telling the media “we will not bring him on from the start.”

“Now we will see however the next 24 hours how the problems develop and whether he can be there at all.

“It’s a big wish of ours of course, but we don’t want to take any risks because we have a lot of other games.”

Rose confirmed Leipzig would also be without Spain midfielder Dani Olmo, who has failed to recover from a muscle tear.

While Olmo will definitely miss the game, City will be without midfield talisman Kevin de Bruyne, who is not in the squad for the match.

Rose said despite the Belgian’s absence, Man City “can bring in a world-class player when a world-class player is missing.”

The Leipzig-born coach singled out Erling Haaland, who he managed in two stints at Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund as a threat.

Rose, who admitted to having “a little less hair — and a bit more grey” than in his first stint coaching an 18-year-old Haaland four years ago in the Austrian Bundesliga, said the Norwegian “had gotten much better”.

“His mentality is insane. When he sees the goal, he goes crazy and will stop at nothing to score.

“He’s a world-class player for one of the best teams we have in world football.”

Sweden forward Emil Forsberg, who has the unfortunate honour of playing for the club side and the national side Haaland has scored the most goals against, said holding back the Norwegian would be a team effort.

“Everyone tries to stop him, but you can only stop him — and beat Man City — as a team”