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Lois Openda interview: RB Leipzig ahead on scoring at Man Metropolis, idolising Didier Drogba and aiming for the highest | Soccer Information

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Quiz query. Who’s the one participant to attain twice within the first half of a Manchester Metropolis recreation on the Etihad Stadium this season? Maybe surprisingly, the reply isn’t Erling Haaland. It isn’t even Julian Alvarez. The participant is RB Leipzig ahead Lois Openda.

The Belgium worldwide has been a revelation within the Bundesliga since arriving from Lens in the summertime. His file of 11 objectives and 4 assists places him among the many prime 5 gamers within the competitors for aim involvements this season and it’s no sizzling streak.

Openda has had extra pictures than any Bundesliga participant, together with Harry Kane. Solely Kylian Mbappe has had extra makes an attempt than him throughout Europe’s main leagues. At 23, Leipzig appears prefer it was the appropriate step – and it’s unlikely to be his final one.

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Lois Openda on why RB Leipzig transfer provides him the platform to succeed in the very prime

Requested by Sky Sports activities why he selected Leipzig, Openda explains: “It was the proper crew for me to progress. For those who look how they play the sport, how they defend, how they assault, the taking part in fashion is an efficient reference to me as a participant with my profile.”

He cites the examples of Benjamin Sesko and Xavi Simons, who additionally joined in the summertime. “I talked with my household they usually stated it was a prime membership for the event of the participant as a result of I’m actually younger they usually give quite a lot of confidence to younger gamers,” he provides.

“That’s the reason additionally they made this transfer. This crew is prime for the event of prime gamers and I need to be a prime participant. I need to play for the very best groups on the earth. I hope I’ll do this. The transfer to Leipzig may also help me to do this. That’s the reason I got here to Leipzig.”

RB Leipzig's Lois Openda has had the most shots of any Bundesliga player this season
Openda has had essentially the most pictures of any Bundesliga participant this season

All through the course of a 30-minute dialogue with a small group of journalists, that self-belief shines via. He talks of idolising Didier Drogba when he was a baby. “I wished to be in the future a prime striker like him. Why not be higher than him? I’ve to work on that.”

With a disarming smile, it by no means comes throughout as conceitedness. Not least as a result of there have been moments of doubt, moments when confidence was misplaced. His closing 19 video games for boyhood aspect Membership Brugge didn’t yield a aim. A mortgage transfer proved the catalyst.

“I didn’t have quite a lot of confidence and I made a decision to go to Vitesse, membership in Holland. I went there to have minutes. To point out my high quality, to get this confidence again.” With the assistance of head coach Thomas Letsch, now at Bochum, Openda was in a position to do this.

“The coach was prime, he helped me loads. From the primary day, he instructed me I might play and present my high quality, ‘I imagine in you.’ Once you hear this from a coach, it’s prime. Since then, the boldness I had after I was younger taking part in for the youth crew was again.”

It has been nothing however success ever since.

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Watch Lois Openda’s finest bits for RB Leipzig within the Bundesliga season to this point

Openda describes his two years at Vitesse as “excellent” and chooses the identical phrase when recalling his 12 months at Lens – with good cause. He scored 21 objectives in Ligue 1, together with a hat-trick inside 5 minutes in opposition to Clermont, the competitors’s quickest for 56 years.

It was sufficient to influence Leipzig he was prepared for the subsequent problem and that religion has been rewarded. His involvement within the World Cup for Belgium was transient as a result of this can be a participant with a aptitude for the massive event – as these objectives in opposition to Manchester Metropolis present.

“To attain in opposition to Metropolis isn’t simple,” he says. But, not solely did he handle it twice in Manchester, he scored within the house recreation too. His first aim of 2023 got here on New 12 months’s Day in opposition to Paris Saint-Germain. His first Bundesliga aim was in opposition to Bayer Leverkusen.

Openda has since scored in opposition to Bayern Munich, persevering with a pattern that has been a function of his fledgling profession. It is a big-game participant. At Vitesse, he scored three objectives in 4 appearances in opposition to Ajax and matched that scoring file in opposition to Feyenoord.

Lois Openda's heatmap for RB Leipzig in the Champions League shows that he is a penalty-box player
Openda’s Champions League heatmap exhibits he’s a penalty-box participant

His tempo and energy, coupled with a capability to get pictures off shortly, means he can hassle any crew and there will likely be alternatives to showcase this big-game file within the coming days, weeks and months. Leipzig face Actual Madrid within the Champions League.

However earlier than that there’s a large Bundesliga recreation in opposition to leaders Leverkusen on Saturday. Leipzig are 12 factors behind in fourth spot however with lots to play for given they’re just one level behind Stuttgart and have Borussia Dortmund chasing them.

Saturday twentieth January 5:20pm

Kick off 5:30pm

“We’ve our targets. The primary a part of the season was good. It might be higher. We nonetheless need to be within the prime 4. We’ve time to be higher. Now we’re targeted for the second a part of the season. It is necessary for us to remain within the Champions League.”

These are the membership’s targets. For now, they align with Openda’s. He talks of being made to really feel welcome. “From the primary day I really feel like I’m at house.” Of getting a powerful connection together with his team-mates. Of working with a formidable head coach in Marco Rose.

“We’ve a system the place we are able to benefit from the soccer and present our high quality. The coach is absolutely clever and is aware of the place to place the gamers.” He provides: “I’ve all the pieces right here to coach, to have my restoration, after which to do my job on the pitch on the weekend.”

He talks of committing to remain for this season and subsequent.

“I’ve signed a contract for 5 years. I’m good right here. I’m targeted for this season as a result of it can be crucial for my improvement and we could have subsequent season [here] as a result of it’s actually essential for me. I do not need to say something about leaving. I really feel actually good right here.”

However the message is evident. When Openda talks of Leipzig being “the proper crew for me to progress” the important thing level is that he’s simply getting began. He names one in every of his Metropolis objectives as his favorite however provides: “I need to rating so many objectives that I neglect all of the objectives.”

There may be way more to return.

“I do know I’m not excellent. I’ve missed some objectives. I need to change this and rating one or two objectives each recreation and be the highest scorer.

“I do know I can do it.”

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