Bayern Munich will be chasing a fourth successive win in the Bundesliga as they host RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

It certainly hasn’t been an impressive season for Bayern Munich so far as they are nine points behind table-toppers Borussia Dortmund. But, on Wednesday, they will have a golden opportunity to move to second place for the first time in quite a while as they host RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena.

The Bavarians are currently sitting third in the league table, trailing second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach due to an inferior goal difference. However, the Foals haven’t fared well in recent games and a defeat for them this week will allow Bayern to climb up to the second spot.

That being said, Leipzig are certainly not the opposition Bayern would have hoped for at this stage. Although the East German giants are yet to play to their potential this season, they are breathing on the neck of the German champions, with just two separating the teams.

Ralf Rangnick’s men also have the best defence in the league this season, having conceded only 12 goals. But, given Bayern’s impressive scoring record in the past couple of matches, the Leipzig defence will surely be handed their biggest test yet.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over both the sides ahead of their anticipated clash this week.

Team news & tactics

Bayern Munich

Saturday’s important game against Eintracht Frankfurt will allow Niko Kovac to retain the same lineup that featured in the huge win over Hannover last weekend, meaning he can now afford to keep some of the star players on the bench in order to keep them fresh ahead of their clash against SGE.

However, Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will retain their place on the fullback slots while Jerome Boateng may replace Mats Hummels in central defence. The former Manchester City defender has been in good form, of late and will be key against a sharp Leipzig attack. He will be partnered by Niklas Sule at the heart of the Bayern defence.

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 24: Mats Hummels of Bayern Muenchen looks down after the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Fortuna Duesseldorf at Allianz Arena on November 24, 2018 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Hummels could be rested this week. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Leon Goretzka will continue to start over Javi Martinez in central defence. The former Schalke superstar will be deployed at the base of the 4-4-1-1 alongside the industrious Thiago Alcantara, whose return to full fitness has been a boon for FC Bayern.

In attack, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman both impressed against Hannover and are, therefore, expected to retain their place in the starting lineup along with Thomas Muller, who has arguably been the best Bayern player in the past six weeks or so.

The Bayern Munich attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who, earlier this month, became the first player to score 20 or more goals in all competitions this season. But, he won’t be expecting much freedom against the well-disciplined Leipzig defence this week.

Probable lineup (4-4-1-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Boateng, Alaba; Gnabry, Goretzka, Alcantara, Coman; Muller; Lewandowski.

RB Leipzig

Rangnick will be missing two of his biggest attacking assets in the form of Emil Forsberg (injured) and Marcel Sabitzer (suspended).

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 02: Marcel Sabitzer of RB Leipzig runs with the ball controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Red Bull Arena on December 2, 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Sabitzer’s absence will be a huge blow for Leipzig. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Fortunately for the German however, both of his strikers in Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen have been excellent and will play a crucial role against Bayern, most notably on the counter, where the pace of Werner and the power of Poulsen could turn out to be an excellent combination.

Kevin Kampl, on the other hand, is doubtful but is expected to make the squad this week. He will be deployed as the lone attacking midfielder, just ahead of Diego Demme and Konrad Laimer at the base of Leipzig’s 3-4-1-2.

Both Laimer and Demme will be tasked with the responsibility of pressing the duo of Goretzka and Thiago in the middle while Kampl will keep check on danger man Muller.

Leipzig’s three-man defensive setup will consist of Ibrahima Konate, Dayot Upamecano and captain Willi Orban while Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg will appear as wingbacks, even though both of them are likely to spend most of the time defending inside their own half.

Probable lineup (3-4-1-2): Gulacsi; Konate, Orban, Upamecano; Klostermann, Demme, Laimer, Halstenberg; Kampl; Poulsen, Werner.

Key stats

  • Bayern Munich have failed to win only twice in their last 38 matches at the Allianz Arena.
  • Bayern have scored at least three goals in each of their last three matches.
  • Manuel Neuer will be having his worst season since 2015/16 if he concedes another goal this week.
  • Leipzig have kept six clean sheets in their last nine matches.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 10 of Bayern‘s last 12 home games.

Player to watch

Robert Lewandowski

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring his team's 4th goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hannover 96 v Bayern Munich at the HDI arena in Hanover, central Germany on December 15, 2018. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Lewandowski keep up with his scoring form? (Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Having scored five of Bayern’s ten goals in the last three matches, Robert Lewandowski is certainly in red-hot form at the moment and coach Kovac will be hoping that the Polish international will be able to continue his fiery run against Leipzig this week.

Die Roten-Bullen have appeared quite solid under the leadership of Rangnick this season and they will certainly be aware of the threat Lewandowski possesses. Therefore, we can expect them to isolate the former Dortmund attacker in the final third and restrict him from finding any clear openings.

However, Lewandowski has been seen tracking back more than once this season and it will be interesting to see whether or not he will do the same against Leipzig this week.

Prediction

Bayern 2-1 Leipzig

Bayern Munich have an astounding home record and are coming on the back of an excellent run of form that could easily see them registering fourth successive Bundesliga wins on the trot. As for Leipzig, they are expected to fight back strong but their lack of attacking ideas may let them down this week.