Bayern Munich will look to seal their seventh successive Bundesliga title when they meet RB Leipzig on Saturday.
Bayern Munich are on the brink of securing yet another Bundesliga title, thereby completing an epic comeback that saw them overcome a massive lead since the start of the year.
The Bavarians currently have a healthy four-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund. That means a win against RB Leipzig on Saturday could be enough to guarantee the title, with just two games left to play before the start of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Bayern are coming on the back of a 3-1 win over bottom club Hannover 96. But, things could be trickier against a Leipzig side, who have been one of the most resilient teams in the league this season. The East German giants boast the meanest defence, having conceded only 27 goals so far.
They are also in a good run of form, winning four of their last five matches. Leipzig’s previous defeat in the league came way back in January, and Ralf Rangnick’s men will be aiming for retribution after a narrow loss to Bayern in the reverse fixture.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at both the sides ahead of this high-end encounter on Saturday.
Team News & Tactics
Lukas Klostermann bagged two goals in the high-scoring draw with Mainz last weekend. And the 22-year-old is a guaranteed starter in the right wing-back slot in Rangnick’s 3-1-4-2 formation. Emil Forsberg will be deployed on the opposite flank, though the Swede will operate more centrally.
The central defensive combination will remain unchanged with the defensive trifecta of Nordi Mukiele, Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban forming the three-man backline.
Kevin Kampl is serving a suspension which could be a massive blow for the hosts. Diego Demme is likely to fill in his absence, but things could get tricky for the 27-year-old, who hasn’t played any of the last three matches.
But, considering the nature of the opponent, it won’t be surprising to see Rangnick opting for the more robust Konrad Laimer in the central midfield slot. The Austrian will get the nod ahead of his compatriot Marcel Sabitzer and will partner Marcel Halstenberg in the advanced midfield role.
And finally, the Leipzig attack will be spearheaded by their trusted offensive duo of Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen. Both the players are equipped with a specific set of skillsets that could undoubtedly make life difficult for Bayern this weekend.
Probable Lineup (3-1-4-2): Gulacsi; Mukiele, Konate, Orban; Demme; Klostermann, Laimer, Halstenberg, Forsberg; Poulsen, Werner
Minimal changes are expected from Niko Kovac this weekend despite being boosted by some positive injury news ahead of this contest.
The attack will remain unchanged with Robert Lewandowski leading the line, while the offensive trifecta of Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry will feature just in behind the Polish number nine.
Veteran midfielder Javi Martinez is injured, paving the way for Leon Goretzka to make his return to the starting lineup. The former Schalke midfielder will partner Thiago Alcantara at the base of Bayern’s 4-2-3-1. His aggression and work-ethic could be crucial against a dynamic Leipzig press.
In defence, Jerome Boateng could make way for Mats Hummels in central defence. The former Dortmund captain will be partnered by the ever-present figure of Niklas Sule at the heart of Bayern’s four-man backline.
Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba are surefire starters in the fullback slots while Manuel Neuer’s continued absence means Sven Ulreich will once again start in between the sticks for Bayern this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ulreich; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Goretzka, Alcantara; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
- Leipzig have lost four of their last five Bundesliga matches against Bayern Munich.
- They did, however, win their last home game vs Bayern back in March of last year.
- Leipzig have scored at least two goals in each of their last five Bundesliga matches.
- Both teams love to attack and have scored a combined total of 145 league goals this season.
- Bayern Munich have kept just one clean sheet in their last five matches in all competition.
Player to Watch
Timo Werner will remain Leipzig’s weapon-in-chief as they look to cause an upset this weekend. The German international is blessed with pace and dynamism that could be useful in Rangnick’s counter-attacking philosophy at Leipzig.
Therefore, it will be imperative for the Bayern defenders to keep a check on the former Stuttgart attacker, who has been involved in 23 goals in just 29 games in the league this season.
However, they will also need to be aware of Werner’s combination play with Yussuf Poulsen, whose physicality and aggression will add another dimension to the Leipzig attack.
RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich
RB Leipzig should be able to hold off Bayern Munich given how they have performed at home this season. They also have a strong defensive record, which, coupled with their sharp attack, make them a challenging opponent for the Bavarians. We expect a 1-1 draw in this one.