Ralf Rangnick says the Bundesliga will flaunt its future on Saturday when his “sexy” second-placed RB Leipzig face unbeaten TSG 1899 Hoffenheim with both aiming to chase down leaders Bayern Munich.
“We are proud, modern and attractive, sexy even,” RB Leipzig’s director of sport, who has taken the Red Bull-backed upstarts from the fourth division to Germany’s top tier, told daily FussballBild.
“The size of the city, the number of fans, sponsors and media interest means Leipzig has a big dimension.
“We can be more than just a regional team in the long term,” he added, with RB -- who enjoyed a record start to their first Bundesliga season with 13 games unbeaten -- on course for next season’s Champions League.
They are three points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern, but eight ahead of Hoffenheim in third.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim earned a 1-1 draw at Bayern in November and are the only team in Germany’s top flight still with an unbeaten record after seven wins and 10 draws this season.
Their emergence has not gone unnoticed at Bayern, who snapped up burly centre-back Niklas Suele and defensive midfielder Sebastian Rudy for next season.
Under Julian Nagelsmann, 29, the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, Hoffenheim are a tough team to crack.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
“I expect to face a very, very brave (Hoffenheim) team, it will be a high-class -- and probably close -- game.
“They like to dominate possession and are cool on the ball.”
Germany’s in-form strikers, Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Hoffenheim’s Sandro Wagner, will go head-to-head.
Both have hit 10 goals each this season and the hot-shots are hoping to fire their way into the plans of Germany coach Joachim Loew at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena.