Timo Werner is planning the downfall of Tottenham in the Champions League while Liverpool is watching
There were two Timo Werners on the field last Saturday afternoon in the Red Bull Arena of RB Leipzig.
One of them was the striker who scored 26 goals this season in 35 club and country matches, giving him renewed interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, among others.
The other, who clung to his hand, was a six-year-old mascot who was only slightly shorter than his namesake. So while little Timo Werner was confronted with a must-win match against Werder Bremen, even Timo Werner rushed the field to find his mother and father after handshaking.
Timo Werner was formidable for Leipzig this season with 26 goals in all competitions
The striker is included in Julian Nagelsmann’s system, which is tailor-made especially for him
Werner trains with Leipzig in the Tottenham stadium on Wednesday evening for their match
Fortunately for Leipzig, it was Timo Werner who stayed on the pitch, and Julian Nagelsmann’s side went down to 3-0 to keep the heat on Bayern. But while the Bundesliga chuckled at the story of the striker and the footballer, Nagelsmann must have quietly wanted him to have two Timo Werners in his team.
Leipzig will face Tottenham on Wednesday evening and for Werner it will be more than just an audition for a possible move to the Premier League with Liverpool among those who show an interest.
Despite a recent dip in form and no previous experience in the Champions League knockout phase, his team can approach the final-16 collision with a sincere hope of reaching the final eight. They are currently only one point behind Bayern in the Bundesliga, and Werner, who will take the lead in North London, is an important reason for their success this season.
His goals record speaks for itself. His 20 goals in the competition this period include two hat tricks and four braces, and he has also collected ten assists in all competitions.
Werner has 20 goals in the Bundesliga this season, including two hat tricks and four brackets
Blessed with a high pace and impeccable finish, Werner was always well suited to neo-German football, which was preferred by Ralf Rangnick and Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Under Nagelsmann, who adds a healthy touch of ownership to the pressing and counter-pressing, he has even more flourishing. If Speedy Gonzales-like counterattacks remain his trademark, his ability to divert, lean back and create space for his co-attackers is also the key to Leipzig’s attacking game.
Like Robert Lewandowski of Bayern, he also has a talent for squeezing deadly shots out of tight spots when his side hits a parked bus.
He had to forget a World Cup in 2018, but he returned to the German team this year
Jurgen Klopp will watch Werner’s audition awaiting a possible transfer offer this summer
Because of his form this year, he returned to the national team after a miserable world cup in 2018, and he also drove out the last remains of a bizarre period in which he was one of the most hated players in Germany.
His move to Leipzig, widely hated for their Red Bull tires, and a shameful dive against Schalke in 2017 were short enough to turn an entire nation against him. For a while the chants of ‘Timo Werner is a son of a b *** h’ were the custom in all German stadiums, even those where Leipzig did not play.
It is an honor to Werner that he never came to the unfair treatment, and his simple and effective approach to the game has now won him more fans than opponents.
He also did not allow transfer speculation to influence his form. Although he flirted continuously with a move to Bayern last season, he shot more than one goal for Leipzig every two games, helping the Champions League qualification and the German cup final.
The setup in Leipzig is perfect for Werner and brings out the best for him
In the end it was Nagelsmann who persuaded him to stay another year, and Werner signed a new deal that kept him at the club until 2023. For many, it was the wise choice, and one that Werner should keep in mind while considering a switch to England or Munich this summer.
“The system in Leipzig is the best that Timo Werner can get in Germany right now. In Munich it would not have been tailor-made for him, “said former Arsenal and Germany keeper Jens Lehmann Bild last month.
Certainly there is something in it. Werner has always been the deadliest when he is the center of an attack. For Germany in 2018, when he was used as a reserve all-rounder to close a gap, he flopped spectacularly. Under Nagelsmann, where the system was built around him, he has been formidable.
Although it seems counterintuitive, it can also mean that Werner is not shining in his audition against Tottenham on Wednesday night. Nagelsmann will undoubtedly have a specific plan to defeat the men of Jose Mourinho, and unless Werner is at the heart of it, he may not achieve his best form.
Jose Mourinho, manager of Tottenham, will want to captivate Werner on Wednesday evening
Werner may not have a defining game against Spurs, but he will still interest top European parties
He is also, and will probably always remain, a mood player. Werner is an unstoppable force in the zone. But despite his record this season, he has gone through a small target drought in recent weeks, with no goals in his last five games.
But even if Tottenham turns out not to be a career-defining game, Werner will remain on the radar of the top European clubs in the coming months and rightly so. In Leipzig, they are doing everything they can to lose him this summer.
“If he continues to score, it is clear that not only Bayern is interested in such a world-class player. Timo is not unsaleable, we have to be honest about that, “said Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff Bild last month.
Perhaps the only solution for Mintzlaff and Nagelsmann is to somehow find a way to have two Timo Werners. That way they could sell one and keep the other on the field by scoring goals in the Bundesliga title race.