RB Leipzig will look to build on their dominant victory from the weekend as they get ready to host Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Red Bull Arena.
The games in the Bundesliga continue to come hard and fast as we welcome the last three matchdays of the league, with Borussia Monchengladbach kicking things off against Wolfsburg at Borussia-Park. Bayern Munich can wrap up the Bundesliga this week itself with a win over Werder Bremen, making it eight league titles in a row and the first under Hansi Flick.
The top four race, on the other hand, is still very much alive with just ten points separating Borussia Dortmund in second and Gladbach in fifth. RB Leipzig sit third, four points adrift of Dortmund and will welcome 16th placed Fortuna Dusseldorf at the Red Bull Arena on Matchday 31.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men travelled to Hoffenheim on the weekend and registered a 2-0 win with the help of two goals in two minutes from Dani Olmo. The scoreline was not indicative of their dominant performance, with Timo Werner, Olmo and Christopher Nkunku missing sitters in the duration of the 90 minutes.
Fortuna Dusseldorf were on course to register a historic draw against Borussia Dortmund last week with a very disciplined performance from their defence, only to be undone by Erling Haaland in the 95th minute. The game against Leipzig might be even tougher since Die Roten Bullen are on a 12-match unbeaten run in the league and have scored at least once in every home game this season.
The reverse fixture at Merkur Spiel-Arena ended in a 3-0 defeat for the hosts with a goal each from Werner, Patrik Schick and Nordi Mukiele. The Hard Tackle now takes a deeper look at this fixture.
Team News & Tactics
There are no fresh injury concerns for Julian Nagelsmann to deal with, but he is still without captain Yussuf Poulsen, who suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago. Ethan Ampadu (back) has made progress after returning to group training, but it still might be too early for the youngster.
Dayot Upamecano missed the game against Hoffenheim due to suspension but is expected to start tomorrow against Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Timo Werner and Patrik Schick are expected to retain their spots as twin strikers in a 4-2-2-2. After a brilliant game on the weekend, we expect Dani Olmo to keep his place in attacking midfield, partnered by Christopher Nkunku, who will return to the starting XI after missing out in the last game.
Marcel Sabitzer will captain the side in the absence of Poulsen and Willi Orban, starting in a double pivot alongside Konrad Laimer. Sabitzer will occasionally join the attacking midfield, with Laimer holding the fort from deep.
Nordi Mukiele and Angelino will start out wide in defence on the right and left respectively, playing alongside Dayot Upamecano and Lukas Klostermann, who will occupy spaces in the heart of the Leipzig defence. This back four will screen the brilliant Peter Gulacsi, who made several top saves to keep a clean sheet last week.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-2-2): Gulacsi; Mukiele, Upamecano, Klostermann, Angelino; Sabitzer, Laimer; Olmo, Nkunku; Schick, Werner
Uwe Rosler is expected to line his team up in a 3-5-2 formation, but has to deal with several absentees in his squad. Aymen Barkok (knock), Oliver Fink (calf), Zack Steffen (knee), Tim Wiesner (ankle) were already missing from the team, while Markus Suttner remains doubtful after he hobbled off against Borussia Dortmund.
Niko Giesselmann is suspended for this fixture which means Suttner will start as the left-side centre-back alongside Andre Hoffmann and Kaan Ayhan in the three-man backline. Second choice keeper Florian Kastenmeier is expected to start in goal in the absence of Steffen.
This defence will be screened by club captain Adam Bodzek, who will marshal the midfield alongside Marcel Sobottka and Kevin Stroger. Matthias Zimmermann and Erik Thommy will occupy the wide spaces as the right and left wing-back spots, respectively, providing width to the strike partnership of Kenan Karaman and Rouwen Hennings.
The latter has 14 goals in the division, the best tally after Robert Lewandowski (30), Timo Werner (25) and Jadon Sancho (17).
Predicted Lineup (3-5-2): Kastenmeier; Ayhan, Hoffmann, Suttner; Zimmermann, Stöger, Bodzek, Morales, Thommy; Karaman, Hennings
- The last time these two sides met, RB Leipzig had 21 shots on goal to Fortuna Dusseldorf’s four, making the 3-0 win a fair reflection of that match.
- Only league leaders Bayern Munich (31) have conceded fewer goals than Leipzig (32) this term, despite coach Julian Nagelsmann testing 12 players in three-, four- and five-man backlines.
- Only Robert Lewandowski (30), Timo Werner and Jadon Sancho (17) have scored more goals than Fortuna Dusseldorf forward Rouwen Hennings (14) this season.
- Fortuna Dusseldorf have drawn seven of their 12 games since former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler was appointed coach (W2, L3).
- The relegation-threatened side have not picked up a single point in their last nine games against the current top five, though, conceding 30 times across those fixtures.
Player to Watch
Christopher Nkunku will return to the starting lineup against Fortuna Dusseldorf this matchday. The Frenchman has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season, scoring five goals and providing 13 assists in 20 starts. He set up four goals against FC Schalke 04 on matchday 23, the highest in one game this season.
The 22-year old has slowed down since the restart, taking part in only one goal and one assist in six appearances for the club, but after being dropped last week, Nkunku will be motivated to prove why he is vital to RB Leipzig despite the signing of Dani Olmo.
RB Leipzig 3-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf
We expect RB Leipzig to replicate their performance from earlier this season against Fortuna Dusseldorf with another stellar game at the Red Bull Arena. Their defence might have to work extra hard to keep out Rouwen Hennings but with Dayot Upamecano back, it is more than likely that that does happen.
That said, we expect this game to be fairly exciting, with Leipzig in the race for a podium finish while Dusseldorf are in the relegation battle. But there seems to be no scenario where the visitors can win points, which is why we are going for a 3-0 win for Julian Nagelsmann’s charges.