RB Leipzig will seek to retain their status as early league leaders as they host defending champions Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Bundesliga will brace itself for its first high-stake encounter as RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich lock horns at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday’s topspiel. The hosts are currently leading the table with three wins in three matches – they are the only side to retain one hundred percent winning record so far in the league.
After an early scare against VfL Osnabruck in the DFB Pokal, Leipzig have responded really well, securing wins over Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach. They have scored nine goals in three matches – a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich so far.
Speaking of Bayern, six of their 11 goals were scored in the win over 1.FSV Mainz 05 in the last match. The Bavarians won their last two matches against Schalke and Mainz, after having dropped points against Hertha Berlin in their season opener.
A win for Bayern this weekend could see them leapfrog Leipzig to the top of the league standings, although Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg will also have a chance to get level on points. Leipzig, meanwhile, will look to maintain their excellent winning record.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this high-octane encounter in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Tactics & Team News
Julian Nagelsmann is known for his tendency to change his tactics against Bayern Munich drastically. He could do the same this weekend by employing a three-man defensive setup, with two pendulating wing-backs. This setup will allow Leipzig to retain the ball better due to the numerical advantage in midfield.
Besides, in Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann, they arguably have the best full-back pairing in the league. Both the German internationals will look to hurry and hassle the relatively slow Bayern backline while providing cover for their own defence.
Dayot Upamecano is missing, which means Nordi Mukiele could slot in as the extra centre-back, alongside Willi Orban and Ibrahima Konate. It is too risky to start with Ethan Ampadu in this game. The Welshman joined the club on loan from Chelsea earlier this summer.
The midfield trio will consist of Emil Forsberg, Diego Demme and Marcel Sabitzer. Christopher Nkunku could be utilised as a substitute later in the game in order to provide more creative essence in the middle third of the pitch.
The Leipzig attack will be spearheaded by Timo Werner, who will be partnered by Yussuf Poulsen. This dynamic duo will look to catch the Bayern Munich defenders and restrict them from affording any time on the ball.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Gulacsi; Orban, Konate, Mukiele; Klostermann, Sabitzer, Demme, Forsberg, Halstenberg; Werner, Poulsen
Leon Goretzka is the only Bayern Munich player ruled out in this high profile encounter. Thiago Alcantara will take up his place in the number eight role, with Joshua Kimmich likely to continue operating as the number six. The German international has been a revelation in his role, offering coach Niko Kovac tactical versatility.
These two midfielders will be partnered by Philippe Coutinho, who is expected to operate as a number ten in Bayern’s 4-2-3-1. The Brazilian sensation is yet to score or assist since moving to Bavaria on loan from Barcelona. And there is no doubt he will be looking for some productivity this weekend.
Serge Gnabry is a guaranteed starter on the right side of the attack ahead of Thomas Muller. Ivan Perisic, however, could replace Kingsley Coman on the opposite flank, having performed well as a substitute against both Schalke and Mainz. And finally, the Bayern attack will be led by none other than Robert Lewandowski, who has netted six of the club’s 11 goals this term.
Benjamin Pavard will slot in as the right-back, with David Alaba continuing on the opposite flank. And in central defence, Niklas Sule will partner Lucas Hernandez, who is still yet to completely settle into German football. Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, should start in between the sticks for the hosts as he seeks his first clean sheet of the campaign.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Hernandez, Alaba; Kimmich, Alcantara; Gnabry, Coutinho, Perisic; Lewandowski
- RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich is a meeting between the top two teams of both this current Bundesliga season and the calendar year of 2019.
- The side with the best defence in 2019 (RB Leipzig, 14 goals conceded) will host the team with the best offence in 2019 (Bayern, 63 goals scored).
- The two sides met in the 2019 DFB Pokal final, with Bayern beating Leipzig 3-0.
- RB Leipzig sit top of the Bundesliga table for the first time since Matchday 13 in 2016-17 and go into a clash with Bayern in which Die Roten are behind them in the table for the first time ever.
- RB Leipzig have set two new club records this season by winning each of their first three Bundesliga games and scoring nine goals.
Player to Watch
This is the first time Nagelsmann will face Bayern Munich with better resources than he had at TSG Hoffenheim. And Werner, in that regard, is surely his weapon-in-chief as he hatches a plan to outclass the Bavarian champions.
The German international has started the campaign exceedingly well, having netted five goals in three matches, just one goal less than the league’s top scorer and Bayern Munich hit-man Lewandowski. As iterated earlier, Werner’s offensive partnership with Poulsen will be key in Leipzig’s first line of press.
These two players will need to take advantage of Bayern’s susceptibility of losing possession during the first phase of build-up. Werner has the pace and Poulsen has the physicality – qualities that are ideal for any counter-attacking team. Hence, the visitors must stop Werner if they are to salvage all three points in this fixture.
RB Leipzig 1-0 Bayern Munich
It won’t be surprising to see RB Leipzig dominating this game and even come out with all three points this weekend. The hosts have looked solid throughout August and have shown excellent organisation at the back. Bayern, in contrast, have looked below par and with no home advantage, they are likely to slip against Leipzig.