RB Leipzig could be forgiven for being scarred by their last “away” trip against English opposition.
The German side suffered the heaviest defeat in their short European history when they were stunned 5-0 by Manchester United in the Champions League at Old Trafford last October.
“It’s crazy, because we went to Manchester United and ended up losing that game by quite a large margin,” Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams tells BBC Sport.
“The first thing we did is reflect on that moment and said to ourselves ‘we’re a much better team than losing a game like that 5-0’.”
The Bundesliga outfit doubled down on their beliefs, beat United 3-2 in the reverse fixture and progressed from the group alongside Paris St-Germain.
They will be just as confident of overturning a 2-0 deficit when they face Liverpool in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday, with the Reds’ home game being staged at the Puskas Arena in Budapest.
“It was tough after the game [against Liverpool] because we played a really good match,” says former Manchester City defender Angelino. “We could have put some pressure on them, scoring some of the chances we got.
“We felt like we gave them two mistakes and a team like Liverpool, with the quality they have up top, they kill you if you give them just a little bit.
“We are positive because we played a strong match and if we don’t make mistakes and put the chances away, it can turn around the situation.
“We have our chance in the Champions League – we are still alive and the vibes are good in the team, we are all positive. The pressure is more on them, not on us. We are the underdog.”
‘He’s so detail-oriented it’s unbelievable’
Leipzig’s supreme confidence stems from the reciprocal trust shared between boss Julian Nagelsmann and his young squad.
Adams says he and his team-mates are fascinated by the 33-year-old’s meticulous nature, attention to detail and ability to improve them.
“He really believes in his tactics and he really gets us all to buy into it as well,” explains the American, who scored the goal that took Leipzig into the Champions League semi-finals last year.
“There are so many little nuances to the way he plays, so many different formations he uses to try to cause the opponent problems. But he’s so detail-oriented it’s unbelievable. If you were to sit in one of his tactics sessions, you would see the way the coach thinks about the game is incredible.
“You always have to be on your toes, always thinking of solutions and that’s one of the little ways that has helped me develop.
“Whether it’s in build-up play, against the ball, with the ball, just all little details of which foot you’re giving the ball to one of your team-mates on so that they can be successful going forward – there are so many little things so he’s helped me a lot.”
This often means meetings throughout the week to cover the opposition, set-pieces and small details, but Nagelsmann will sometimes decide against a pre-game chat.
“Sometimes we will get a text in the group chat before the game, and it will just say ‘no team meeting today, we’ll just go straight to the game’,” says Adams. “He trusts that the preparation throughout the week is enough.”
Angelino feels he was not given a proper chance under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but has excelled for Nagelsmann and is thriving in a role that allows him the freedom to stray from his left-back or wing-back berth.
“He is very close to every player, very direct,” says the Spaniard. “When he needs to speak to you he does. I feel like we have a good relationship.
“He gave me his trust and confidence from the first day and it was something that gave me a massive push in my career.”
Angelino has repaid the faith shown by Nagelsmann and Leipzig, who last month signed him on a permanent deal after two successful loan spells, by scoring eight goals this season and making 11 assists.
“I have to be in the right position when we attack,” says the 24-year-old. “The role is very offensive. We want to play offensive football, we want to have the ball and kill the teams with runs in behind.
“We try to play good football and my position is to be as high as possible and get the end product on the left.”
‘He can coach anywhere he wants’
If Leipzig are to progress, it will be one of the greatest achievements in Nagelsmann’s career so far.
The German’s work is already catching the eye, and he is reportedly a target for Tottenham should Jose Mourinho leave the Premier League club.
“He is a great coach. He can coach anywhere he wants,” says Angelino. “If you look around now, there aren’t many coaches that work as well as him.
“We are talking about a lot of big clubs. He is managing a really good team but imagine what he could do if he had an even better team.
“Tactically he is great, he always has the right keys for opponents and he’ll do well. He is so young as a coach, he has a long run to go.”