SPORT BILD: Mr. Henrichs, Leipzig is the only German team still in three races. What titles will RB win and where will you be at the end of the season?
BENJAMIN HENRICHS (25): Hopefully the Europa League and DFB Cup and a place in the top 4 for qualifying for the Champions League. A year ago I had a key moment: Kai Havertz, with whom I went to school and we played together for a long time in Leverkusen, scored the decisive goal for Chelsea in the Champions League final. Then it became clear to me once again: The Champions League is the biggest.
So is league performance the most important?
In terms of value, I would say that winning the DFB Cup and the Bundesliga are very important. But I am also very happy to win the Europa League title.
In the Cup semi-final this Wednesday against Union Berlin.
They are in a good mood, they have fast strikers. In the first half of the season we played badly in Berlin and lost 2-1. We still have a result to settle with them and we definitely want to go to the finals.
After the Union match, Jesse Marsch was sent off. Your former coach said he did not know what your strengths were. Current coach Domenico Tedesco immediately said that he knew you from youth games and knew exactly what you are capable of doing.
This more or less describes the development of my season. It was not easy for me under Jesse Marsch. In the first half of the season I did not have a game over 90 minutes for a long time, then came Domenico Tedesco as a coach who relied more on me. I feel like I am getting better and better to make up for this with the performance, although I think I can do even better.
After defeating the Union
Booth Karaoke! This is how Leipzig celebrates entering the finals
Source: Instagram: @kevinkampl
Would you have left if Marsch had stayed?
I admit that at the time I was already thinking about a change. There have also been discussions with my family on how to proceed. Because time was hard, even in public perception. Suddenly I was criticized everywhere. For example, I have often read posts on Instagram in which I have been criticized. I still trained hard and did not let go of myself. This helped me after changing coach. The fact that Domenico Tedesco came was the problem. Of course I feel better now because I am still important to the team.
How did Tedesco manage this?
At first we had a clear conversation in which he told me how he had planned with me. This is exactly what he did. I had played in his first two games as much as in all his previous games. Since then I have had a coach who talks to me and trusts me. With that, thoughts of a change were removed from the table.
Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa
Leipzig has lost just two of 20 Tedesco games. Explain the reasons!
Our face in the second half of the season is completely different from that of the first half of the season. In the beginning we only had good results with the new coach, now we are playing well too, the trained automatics have worked well. The situation here is wonderful. This shows that the coach is reaching the team.
How does he do that?
Honestly. The coach speaks clearly about the good and the bad – to everyone. It’s hard sometimes, but you never have the feeling that he is personal, that he wants to help us.
According to Tedesco, you are “sticky” with the team, keeping players united and important to the soul.
Yes, I would be happy to take care of that. For example, for me it is important to translate everything for foreign players. I know from Monaco and I know how it feels when he does not get everything.
So said Tedesco before the winning goal for Forsberg
Source: RB Leipzig / Bullen.TV
How was Monaco?
If Diego Benaglio (was the goalkeeper in Monaco; ed.) Had not taken care of me, I would not have understood anything. There were no translators. I once had a language teacher that the club canceled because it was too expensive. After all, I then learned French much faster. This is another reason why I can say: the time in Monaco was not so successful in terms of sports, but I made great strides as a person.
In Leipzig, for example, you settled a dispute between Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku over a penalty kick against Cologne on the pitch.
Both were confident they would place the ball. I went there and said: agree, now one shoots, the other ball takes the other.
Nkunku then bounces off the ball inside. He has shown many matches worldwide. Would you have believed such a development three years ago?
At the time I was playing as a left winger with Monaco against Paris. “Christo” had played on the right, so we were in a direct duel. His performance was – say – capable of improving (laughs). When I came to Leipzig I told him I did not think he was a very good player. I apologized for the thought. He is a brutally good footballer in attack. Today we laugh at our first professional duel.
Cup madness at the time of injury
Forsberg goes from Leipzig to Berlin
Are you using your contacts to tell Nkunk to stay in Leipzig?
IM trying. It would be nice if we could keep the team together. Last summer we lost the coach, the captain and two important defenders. These were definitely the reasons for our poor start to the season. If we can keep the team together …
… then RB follows Bayern and becomes champion?
Then we will have the quality to continue playing at the top. In the second part of the table we are ahead of Bayern. Maybe there could have been more this season, hard to say. We need stability to attack Bayern. Leipzig has often been close, but then unfortunately collapsed. The current second part of the season should be the reference point we use as a guide.