The Southampton boss is readying his time for a meeting with Liverpool – the latest tough test he has faced since arriving in English football
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who arrived in English football from RB Leipzig in December, claims facing the Premier League’s top six is like taking on Bayern Munich 12 times.
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The Austrian tactician knows all about life in Germany from his playing and coaching days, with the domestic scene having been dominated by Bavarian powerhouses at the Allianz Arena.
He swapped the task of trying to compete with the likes of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund for a relegation battle at St Mary’s in the wake of Mark Hughes’ dismissal by the Saints.
During his short time at Southampton, he has already faced Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Liverpool are next on the agenda, with Hasenhuttl telling Goal and Spox of the elite competition he now finds himself up against: “We have six teams at the level of Bayern Munich in the Premier League. So, you could say we play 12 times against Bayern per season. 12 games in which you don’t get many points usually.
“And then there are four or five clubs with the quality of Bayer Leverkusen or RB Leipzig. And then we are the Mainz, Freiburg or Augsburg of the Premier League.
“I don’t want that to be understood disrespectfully but you can compare it very well regarding the general requirements. We have to play perfect matches and even then we don’t have a guarantee to have points afterwards. That makes it a special challenge.”
On the collective quality of the Premier League being above that in the Bundesliga, Hasenhuttl added: “The top clubs in the Premier League benefit very much from the fact that there are six teams on a very high level.
“They have so many games against each other so that they practically play Champions League the whole year. That helps them very much to persist in the international games. And for smaller clubs like us it’s also a benefit to play against the top six regularly.”
Southampton will enter a home date with Liverpool on Friday coming off the back of successive victories over Tottenham and Brighton, and three wins in their last four.
That run has helped to edge them five points clear of the drop zone and they now have the chance to influence matters at the opposite end of the table, with their next opponents chasing down title glory.
Hasenhuttl said of a battle for supremacy between Liverpool and Manchester City: “Maybe we can be the team which tips the scales.
“It’s impossible to say who will make it. Liverpool and Man City have so much quality and both can win every game until the end but at the same time they could fail every weekend. In the end little details will make the difference.”
He added on a reunion with Klopp, who inflicted a 4-1 defeat on his Aalen side that last time they met: “I’m looking forward to seeing him again. I only played a single game against him, when I met Dortmund with Aalen in the German Cup back in 2012. That didn’t end up well for me back then!”