Stunned, Timo Werner stared into space. Even against his favorite opponent FSV Mainz 05, the RB Leipzig international remained goalless for the third competitive game in a row. And he symbolized the dilemma of the Saxons.
They urgently need to improve - for the cup and the fight for the Champions League. Now "the head comes into play too, you can't argue that away anymore," said coach Marco Rose after the 0: 3 against Mainz on Saturday.
"For me as a coach, it's about reminding the boys how good they can be - with one big but: we have to focus on very simple things, on fundamental virtues. We have to force it on ourselves - that's a decision We have to meet as a team," said Rose before the quarter-finals of the cup this Wednesday (8:45 p.m. / ZDF / Sky) against Borussia Dortmund.
Champions League is "a must" for Leipzig
The two sports directors - Max Eberl and the new sports director Rouven Schröder - also had further goals in mind. "It wouldn't be nice for several personalities if we didn't qualify. It's a must that we also want to achieve it," said Eberl on Sky about the Champions League prospects. The premier class is "a big bargaining chip" for current top performers like Dani Olmo, but also "for players we want to bring on board". After Freiburg's draw, fourth place is still within reach for the Saxons, two points behind.
The cup winners are plagued by several problems: Eleven goals in just three games are a sign of failure for the defense of the highly praised Josko Gvardiol. Goalkeeper Janis Blaswich was still the best RB player. "It could have ended much worse for Leipzig," said Mainz's Dominik Kohr, who scored the final score (67'). The other scorers were 45,597 spectators Marcus Ingvartsen (9th) and Ludovic Ajorque (57th).
Construction opponent Dortmund
On the offensive, magic foot Christopher Nkunku was missing at all corners and ends. André Silva has been goalless at FC Schalke 04 since his two goals at the end of January - meanwhile for twelve games. Werner, who has scored 13 times in nine games against Mainz, has only scored three goals in twelve games since the Schalke game in all competitions. "Otherwise we always scored a lot of goals. But sometimes you have such periods, it's about passion, mentality, attitude, that we keep the level high, push each other," said Emil Forsberg: "We had no dynamics, no solutions, none Creativity, all that was missing."
Ironically, everything should get better in the game of the losers on Saturday against Dortmund. "We have to come back as a team with everything," said the Sweden international. Blaswich demands: "We all have to stand together and bring that to the pitch on Wednesday."
Not an easy task for Rose, who after a strong run of 18 games without defeat is now also responsible for the highest Bundesliga home defeat. Against his ex-club BVB he has to put a completely renewed team on the pitch that is "unconditional and sharp". Borussia Dortmund as a kind of construction opponent - that also illustrates the Leipzig dilemma.