Bayern Munich will be looking to maintain their number one spot in the Bundesliga table when they lock horns with RB Leipzig on Sunday.
After regaining their place at the top of the Bundesliga table, this could potentially turn out to be an exciting week for Bayern Munich. Indeed. They play hosts to second-placed RB Leipzig on Sunday, who are trailing by just one point coming into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
That means a win for Bayern Munich could help them extend their lead to four points. But more importantly, they could also extend their lead to third-placed Borussia Dortmund, who lost to Bayer Leverkusen in a 4-3 thriller on Saturday’s topspiel.
On the flip side, this game will serve as an opportunity for Leipzig to regain their place at the top of the Bundesliga table. Die Roten Bullen have had a difficult start to the Ruckrunde having won just one of their four matches so far, two of which were defeats against Eintracht Frankfurt, both in the Bundesliga and in DFB Pokal in midweek.
As a result, they are now running the risk of being overtaken by fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, who also play tomorrow against newly promoted 1.FC Koln.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two well-matched teams ahead of their high stake encounter at the Allianz Arena this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Hansi Flick has been blessed with some good news ahead of this fixture. Kingsley Coman has returned to the squad and is in contention to start along with Lucas Hernandez. However, neither of these players are expected to feature this weekend.
Bayern’s key performer Thiago Alcantara was rested in midweek’s DFB Pokal fixture. He is a guaranteed starter in central midfield, where he will pair up with Joshua Kimmich in the double-pivot. Leon Goretzka is also set to start in attacking midfield, ahead of Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho’s likely exclusion from the starting lineup should pave the way for Serge Gnabry to retain his place in the team. However, he might have to shift to left-wing in order to accommodate Thomas Muller, who is expected to operate in his favoured right-wing slot. The Bayern Munich attack will be led by the one and only Robert Lewandowski.
And finally, in defence, Jerome Boateng had a little issue with his fitness ahead of this game. But, we expect him to overcome that problem and start alongside David Alaba at the heart of Bayern’s four-man backline.
The fullback slots are set to be occupied by Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies while Manuel Neuer is a guaranteed starter between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Alcantara; Muller, Goretzka, Gnabry; Lewandowski
After a horrendous start to this calendar year, Julian Nagelsmann is likely to take a more direct approach and try to exploit Bayern Munich’s lack of mobility at the back. It was evident in their last game against Hoffenheim, where they conceded three goals.
Nagelsmann is likely to switch to a four-man backline with Lukas Klostermann once again deputising for the injured defensive duo of Ibrahima Konate and captain Willi Orban. He will partner Dayot Upamecano in central defence, with Nordi Mukiele and Marcel Halstenberg occupying the wide defensive slots.
In midfield, the aggression and work-rate of Konrad Laimer and Tyler Adams could be critical in dealing with the technically astute Bayern Munich players. It will be interesting to see how they form the second line of press, in what will be a 4-4-2.
Dani Olmo became the first Spaniard to play for Leipzig in midweek when he appeared against Eintracht Frankfurt. But, he is unlikely to start this one, with Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forsberg likely to occupy the wide attacking roles.
Further forward, Timo Werner started on the bench in the last game and is guaranteed to return to the starting lineup. He is set to operate alongside Patrick Schick in the Leipzig attack.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gulacsi; Mukiele, Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Sabitzer, Laimer, Adams, Forsberg; Schick, Werner
- Bayern have only lost one of their seven Bundesliga games against Leipzig.
- Bayern won their first three Bundesliga home games against Leipzig without conceding. They have never won their first four BL home matches against one side without letting in a single goal.
- RB Leipzig have lost all three of their away games at Bayern in the Bundesliga. They haven’t failed to take a point away to any other side they have faced more than once.
- FC Bayern have won each of their last six Bundesliga games. They last managed as many consecutive BL wins in February/March 2019.
- With three wins and a goal record of 12-1, Bayern have enjoyed their best-ever start to a Bundesliga Ruckrunde. Only Dortmund’s run this season of three wins a goal record of 15-4 is better in BL history.
Player to Watch
It is fair to point out that Thiago is currently one of the hottest players in the Bundesliga. The Spaniard has been in sublime form ever since Flick has taken charge and especially since the turn of the year, his contributions in midfield have been essential in helping Bayern find their way back to the top.
The ex-Barcelona prodigy could once again star for the Bavarians against Leipzig. Only this time, he is set to face heavier resistance, with Leipzig particularly being known for their aggression and tactical astuteness. Hence, this could be an interesting test for Thiago as he seeks to continue his incredible run of form.
Bayern Munich 2-2 RB Leipzig
This could be an interesting match as both sides will look to take advantage of Dortmund dropping all three points against Leverkusen on Saturday. While the home side are expected to dominate, they could find it difficult to deal with the sharp attacking threat of Werner and Schick. We are expecting an entertaining draw this weekend.