Max Eberl can win his first major title in the DFB Cup final. In the run-up, the sporting director of RB Leipzig spoke in an interview with the “Sports Information Service” about his first final, the Bayern rumors and the challenges on the transfer market.
The cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt will take place on Saturday. How much do you long for your first big title?
Max Eberl: Of course, the anticipation is extremely high. After reaching the Champions League in the Bundesliga, we are all the more looking forward to such a final. The second cup win in a row would be the culmination of a very exciting and thrilling season. For me it’s the first final, Leipzig as a club is already practiced. Defending the title now would be great. Of course, if I could be a part of it, that would be fantastic.
At Eintracht Frankfurt, coach Oliver Glasner wants to step down with a title. How sorry would you be to spoil his departure?
Olli already won a great title last year – the European Cup. He really did a fantastic job in Frankfurt. I think that they have dealt with the issue of the separation at the end of the season in a very professional way. But the sympathy would be limited, hopefully Oliver Glasner will forgive me. I work for RB Leipzig – and we want to get the next title for RB Leipzig.
Before this big final, we also have to talk about Bayern. They need a new board of directors. Her name came up quickly, Oliver Mintzlaff recently denied it in “Sport Bild”. How did you take the rumours? To what extent was there contact with Bayern?
It’s an exciting topic. In general, rumors in football are inflated incredibly big without any basis in fact. It is known that I have a connection to Bayern Munich, it is my footballing cradle. I also have a connection to the city and also to Uli Hoeneß. That’s why my name is quickly associated with Bayern. I’ve gotten to the point where I only work with facts. The fact is: I have a contract in Leipzig. The fact is: there was no meeting with Bayern Munich. It is well known that I am in contact with Uli Hoeneß from time to time. But we never talked about this topic. It is also a fact that we are currently working very hard on the RB squad for the new season.
You have been in office for six months. At the beginning there was a lot of discussion about you personally, there were the unpleasant events surrounding the Gladbach game and the bitter 0:7 against Manchester City, but also the win against Bayern and the Champions League qualification. How did you find your first RB months?
It’s not about me at all. Of course my installation meant that a lot happened with RB Leipzig. Also because Oliver Mintzlaff left the club in the operational area at relatively short notice and rose to the top of the Red Bull group. Even before I took office, after winning my first title, there were high expectations before I had to change coaches in September. In terms of sport, we have experienced many highs and some lows. For example, the 0:7 at City after a 1:1 in the first leg and the subsequent league defeats against Bochum and Mainz.
Nevertheless, we had a very good Bundesliga season and an outstanding cup round and deservedly beat Borussia Dortmund and SC Freiburg, for example. A lot has also happened for me personally. I came to a club that works differently than I was used to before. Despite a self-evident familiarization process, I got into day-to-day business very quickly. I think I’ve done that well so far. And hopefully we will continue to do well in the transfer period.
RB won the 2022 cup and can now win it again. But in the league it wasn’t enough to really get involved in the championship race despite a weakening Bayern. How important and how realistic is it that RB might take this step next year?
I am convinced that if we had gotten the squad through the season without an injury, it would have been a three-way battle this season and not a one-on-one. Our aim is, ideally, to get into the Champions League every year. And we also want to be there if one of the two competitors above is weakening. We’re trying to prepare for that. Now it’s a summer where players will leave us and we want to keep building the club. Bayern Munich is the measure of all things – and they will remain so.
Before Corona, football in Europe had undergone an incredible financial development. Now everything has leveled off a bit. I am convinced that we will not generate more income, for example in the area of TV money, but hopefully stay at a certain level. This season was good proof that the Bundesliga is very exciting in all facets. But that means that Bayern will keep their old lead. We have to do things better to get at them. It may well be that we have to save at one point or another and cannot just spend. And yet we want to have a powerful squad to be there when the opportunity arises.
It has long been indicated that Konrad Laimer and Christopher Nkunku will be leaving. How big is the risk that more top performers could go?
Dani Olmo extended with us, which is a great signal to other players. I will be confronted with many questions over the next three months. What happens to player A, what happens to player B? We have contracts with all the players, including Dominik Szoboszlai and Josko Gvardiol. But we are convinced that the boys have a great environment and great opportunities here.
Of course other clubs will notice our players if we play well. But the range of clubs that would be the next step for these players is smaller than, for example, at my previous employer. So I’m very positive about that. And what happens to Laimer and Nkunku, we’ll announce when it’s to announce.
Szoboszlai has caused a stir with an interview with a Hungarian newspaper in which he discusses a possible move. That conversation should not have been agreed with the club and should have taken place on the club premises.
Basically everyone can say whatever they want. But with our players, the normal process is actually that you arrange interviews with the press department. If a journalist is then asked into the heart of a license building for an interview without a vote, we have our problems with that. It’s not OK. We told Dominik and his management that too.
Let’s talk about coach Marco Rose. His contract runs until 2024, and both sides recently sounded interested in long-term cooperation. How soon can an agreement be expected?
We’re relaxed there. I’ve known Marco for a long time, fought for a long time to get him to Mönchengladbach before we met again in Leipzig. He is rooted here. And I am convinced that he is the ideal fit. We both communicated very early on that we would like to extend the contract. Even when the Champions League qualification was not yet certain. Marco and I will have talks with players over the summer break to build the squad. And of course we’ll talk about the head coach’s contract again. I’m optimistic about that.