DTimo Werner had a smile on his side right away. “Thank God I didn’t have to sing, I was spared that,” said the national soccer player this Wednesday at his presentation at RB Leipzig on the initiation ritual in the new, old team circle. Instead, he had to walk through an alley and got a slap on the back of the head from everyone.
The 26-year-old seemed relieved that the move from Chelsea FC back to his oasis of well-being in Leipzig was so quick and apparently uncomplicated for around 20 million euros plus bonuses. “It’s nice to be back,” said Werner after the hectic past few days.
Werner: “It’s important for Flick that I play”
Werner seems to have matured over the two years in London but hasn’t lost his feet on the ground despite earning millions of pounds on the island. He does not see himself as a savior, as numerous fans celebrate him on social media after his change became known. “The fans have always supported me in the tough times that were also in Leipzig. That’s why I’m happy to be able to play in front of them again – but not as Messiah, but as Timo Werner,” said the most successful RB scorer in the Bundesliga to date.
He thinks he can fit into the changed Leipzig game. He had already discussed this with coach Domenico Tedesco when the change became more concrete. “I know the coaching staff a little bit from my time in Stuttgart. Of course, the coach is the most important part for a player. We spoke about what he expects, what the club expects, what I expect. I think we were both very impressed,” said Werner, who also received support from national coach Hansi Flick when it came to returning.
“It’s important for him that I play and that he has options again,” emphasized the native of Stuttgart. “There’s a World Cup this year, that doesn’t happen too often in a player’s career. You want to prepare optimally for that,” said the attacker: “It was clear to me relatively quickly that Leipzig was a very good step in the phase I was in.”
Werner has continued to develop in the two years at Stamford Bridge despite the unsatisfactory season. He used to lack the physical robustness. In England he had to accept duels in training because of the high level of competition. “I can now position my body better and put it in to secure balls,” said Werner. In general, his work behavior has developed in a positive direction. “Now at 26, I know that training work is a higher priority.”
The striker is also measured in Leipzig by his hit rate. “A lot of people expect me to score goals again,” said Werner, emphasizing that he didn’t want to challenge anyone for their place in the team. “I’ve never been like that and never will be,” he said. He harmonized excellently with the currently most successful RB player Christopher Nkunku in the 2019/2020 season. “I scored a few goals for him, he felt all my goals. It can all work,” said Werner, expressly including the other RB strikers such as Yussuf Poulsen, André Silva and Alexander Sörloth. “They are all of high quality.”
The newcomer did not want to name goals for this season. But playing with RB at the top, making the leap to the World Cup and yes – possibly also taking the position of top scorer that became vacant after Lewandowski’s departure – that would be ideal for Werner. But first and foremost, the fun of playing football should come back.