MORE THAN A MATCH

MORE THAN A MATCH

RB LEIPZIG VS BAYERN MUNICH

The encounter between RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich is more than about the three points. It is also about the shared history of the two clubs this summer.

 

 

Die Roten Bullen can consider themselves to be the unluckiest side in Europe right now. Not only did they lose their manager, one of the most exciting in the game, to the Bavarians, but more departures also came. Two key players over the years in defender Dayot Upamecano and captain Marcel Sabitzer also went to the Allianz Arena.

 

 

So it is no surprise that their start to the season has been less than ideal. One win and two defeats from three games suggest a team undergoing the transition phase under new coach Jesse Marsch who will have his sternest test yet this weekend.

 

 

Bayern have been steamrolling opposition over the last decade in the Bundesliga under various managers. Their appointment of Julian Nagelsmann as well as weakening their closest challenger from last season have been masterstrokes. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the new man in charge would have liked a smoother beginning.

 

 

After an insipid draw on opening day, they threw away a two-goal lead against Koln before winning narrowly. However, their last game before the international break, a 5-0 win over Hertha Berlin, should hold them in good stead in this early marker for the title.

 

TEAM NEWS

Despite Andre Silva’s struggles so far at his new club, he is expected to continue leading the line. Marcel Halstenberg remains a key absentee while new captain Peter Gulacsi and Josko Gvardiol have recovered from the knocks they picked up on international duty.

 

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Gulacsi; Klostermann, Orban, Simakan, Gvardiol; Haidara, Kampl; Nkunku, Forsberg, Szoboszlai; Silva

 

Like their opponents, Bayern players Alphonso Davies and Thomas Muller are back in training after leaving international duty early. Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman will not be involved as they recover from their injuries.

 

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Neuer; Stanisic, Upamecano, Sule, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Lewandowski

 

GAMECHANGERS

Dominik Szoboszlai has been a great injection of talent in the Leipzig squad who is set to play a pivotal role this season. His performance against Stuttgart on his full debut was spectacular and there are signs that it will only continue. Szoboszlai has a shot-on-target rate of 75% along with a passing accuracy of 82%.

 

 

Playing just behind the striker, the Hungarian operates mainly down the right-hand channel. His propensity to take strikes on goal with a clean swipe of the boot as well as ability from set-pieces mean that Bayern will have to mark him well. One of Goretzka or Kimmich will need to stay in front of him while Davies will need to be wary of making forward runs.

For Bayern, it is hard to look past Robert Lewandowski as the main threat for Leipzig. The all-round striker can get his shots away from any distance while his passing also sets up his teammates on many occasions. Lewandowski grabbed a hat-trick last time out which took his tally to five goals already.

 

 

Leipzig have shown they are fallible at the back and that can enable the Pole to get some good chances. His physicality ensures that the centre-backs cannot rest even when he is not on the ball while his prowess in the air will also be a formidable force. Furthermore, his brilliance and ingenuity on the pitch will certainly flummox defenders who are not alert.

 

PREDICTIONS

On form, it does look like another Bayern victory against an iffy Leipzig side. Even though they won big last time, Nagelsmann will know he cannot take his former side lightly. Likewise, this will be Marsch’s big chance to prove his credentials in Germany. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for the defending champions.

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