RB Leipzig's place at the top of the Bundesliga table after five matches of the 2019/20 comes as no surprise to Emil Forsberg, who knows what his team are capable of.
Leipzig are unbeaten through the first five matches of a Bundesliga season for the first time. Under new head coach Julian Nagelsmann, they have already handled the task of facing defending champions Bayern Munich, collecting a 1-1 draw on Matchday 3.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Swedish international Forsberg discusses Leipzig's title chances, working under Nagelsmann and facing Bayern...
bundesliga.com: Leipzig are top of the table after five matches of the 2019/20 season. Do you believe you should be considered genuine title challengers?
Emil Forsberg: "I think it's too soon to talk about the title. The most important thing for us now is to keep staying humble and to do the work every day in training and in games. We need to take each game for what it is because there are no easy games in the Bundesliga, and we have to be 100 per cent focused in every game. It's too easy to talk about the title now. We have had a fantastic start, but it's really important for us to keep our feet on the ground, to stay humble, and to keep working hard.
bundesliga.com: But to be top of the table and unbeaten through five matches in no mean feet...
Forsberg: "I think it's a sign that you're on a good path because we have a fantastic team with young players who are hungry and talented. We have a really good team, so it's not a surprise for me that we are at the top of the table."
bundesliga.com: It takes a great team to win the Bundesliga title. Do you think Leipzig are that?
Forsberg: "We are a great team, but it's still a long season and if we start thinking too highly of ourselves at the beginning, then things will go wrong. It's changed our mentality, but the most important thing is to keep staying humble. We know that we're really good footballers and that we have a lot of talent, but it has to be done on the pitch and that is what we will keep focusing on."
bundesliga.com: There are a lot of new faces in the club, players and coaches, including Julian Nagelsmann. How has it been settling into a new team again?
Forsberg: "We've played together for the last four or five years, so we know each other really well and we know what it takes off the pitch. It always takes time for the new players to come into it and it also took me five or six months when I first came to Leipzig. It always takes time to get to know the league and the country. However, we know each other very well, we have had successes together and we have brought Leipzig up to the Champions League. We also came second in the Bundesliga, so we have had a lot of success together. The new players are also really good players with a lot of potential. We have a lot of games, so we're going to keep changing. We had a very good season last year and we did a lot of good stuff both defensively and offensively. We're a young team, so there are always things you can develop, and we're doing that right now."
bundesliga.com: You've already come up against a title rival in Bayern Munich on Matchday 3. Do you think you did enough in that game?
Forsberg: "We didn't put on as much pressure as we should've done in the first half. We were a little bit passive and we let them have the ball a little bit too much. Bayern are one of the best teams with the ball if you let them have it. It may have been a question of respect for us, but we changed that in the second half and came out and played without respect. We showed them that we can also play football and that we could cope with them. It was a good game for the public between two good teams and there were two different halves. You have to love these challenges because this is what you live for and why you play football."
Watch: A tactical analysis of Leipzig 1-1 Bayern!
bundesliga.com: You stepped up just before half-time and scored a penalty to bring the scores level. How confident are you with taking penalties in those big situations?
Forsberg: "I never doubt myself in a penalty shootout and I always think I'm going to score, even if it's against Manuel Neuer, Peter Gulacsi or Gianluigi Buffon. Of course, it was at a difficult time, but I was able to put it in. I'm an important player! I try to help the team, whether it be scoring or producing an assist or playing a good pass that leads to a goal, it doesn't matter how. That is the kind of player I am, and I try to help the team as much as I can. I know what qualities I have, so I just need to keep working hard and success will come."
bundesliga.com: You were out for around three months last season with a groin injury. How difficult is it being injured?
Forsberg: "I was in Austria for almost a month without my family, so it was a hard time. When you're injured, you're not here as much as you are when you're training normally. When you're injured, it's also a little bit nicer to come home and not think about the injury you have or that you are not able to play football. You come home and see your daughter and wife and you just forget about football. This is important and it was an important time for me to have my family. Even if I didn't see them all the time, it was important to know that they were by my side and speaking to them changes everything."
bundesliga.com: You and your partner, Shanga - who also plays for Leipzig - welcomed your first child to the world a year ago. How has that changed your life?
Forsberg: "It changes your whole perspective on life. Before it was just all about football for me, but my daughter is everything for me now. Everything I do, I do for her and I try to make life simple for her. I live for her and that's the way it is. It's hard to explain because you just have another perspective on life. You also have more responsibility because you have another life to take care of. It's fun and it brings you a lot of joy every day. Yesterday I was out for a walk with her and she's making people laugh and likes to show off. I'm having fun every day now."
bundesliga.com: You've been with Leipzig for five years, coming from Sweden of course. Do you like to go back to Sweden for some home comforts?
Forsberg: "It's always nice to come home to Sweden and eat Swedish food because it's a big difference compared to German food. But we've been here for five years now and we feel at home here. We know how everything works and now it's the other way around because when we say we're going home, we're going to Germany and when we go on vacation, we go to Sweden. Our home is here, and I really like it here."
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