RB Leipzig are seeking to maintain their fight in the Bundesliga as they take on TSG Hoffenheim at the Red Bull Arena on Friday.
The Matchday 29 in the Bundesliga kicks off in the most fascinating way as RB Leipzig play hosts to TSG Hoffenheim on Friday. It will be a hugely important game for the home side as they hope to maintain the pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich, who are currently leading them by just five points heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
With just five matches remaining including this one, the gap might seem a bit large, but not quite, considering Bayern Munich’s injury crisis as well as their lack of form that has seen them fail to win any of their last three matches in all competitions. It will be an opportunity for Leipzig to capitalise, especially as the Bavarians lock horns with third-placed VfL Wolfsburg, which is followed by another tricky against Bayer Leverkusen.
Provided Leipzig do win on Friday, it could pile pressure on Bayern, knowing a potential defeat this weekend could bridge the gap to just two points.
Hoffenheim, however, are hoping to rain on Leipzig’s parade, although the Sinsheim outfit are not the most challenging opposition for Die Roten Bullen at the moment.
The club has struggled all season, perhaps none more than in recent weeks as they are coming on the back of three defeats and one draw in the last four matches. Hoffenheim, as a result, are still dawdling in mid-table, even putting head coach Sebastian Hoeness under pressure.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this highly important matchup in the Bundesliga this Friday night.
Team News & Tactics
ℹ️ Team news ahead of #RBLTSG
➡️ @yussufyurary is back available!
➡️ Justin #Kluivert is a minor doubt.
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) April 14, 2021
RB Leipzig were the triumphant 4-1 winners in their last game against Werder Bremen – a match that saw the return of Angelino on the bench.
The Spaniard was not introduced as a sub but he might be fast-tracked into the setup, as he looks to occupy the wing-back slots alongside Tyler Adams. Another boost for Leipzig is the return of Yussuf Poulsen, although coach Julian Nagelsmann may continue to prefer the robust Alexander Sorloth as the attacking spearhead.
Elsewhere in attack, Nagelsmann has no reason to tinker with his offensive duo of Christopher Nkunku and Dani Olmo, with additional support from midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. The Leipzig captain will have the license to drive forward, which more often than not makes a huge difference.
Sabitzer will be partnered by Kevin Kampl in midfield, whose composure, experience and quality on the ball serve as a key factor in Leipzig’s dominance in possession.
Lukas Klostermann picked up a minor knock heading into this game, but Leipzig will be boosted by the return of Dayot Upamecano from suspension. The Frenchman is thus likely to renew his partnership with Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban, with Peter Gulacsi starting in goal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gulacsi; Konate, Upamecano, Orban; Adams, Sabitzer, Kampl, Angelino; Nkunku, Olmo; Sorloth
Bundesliga witnessed one of its least eventful game of the season when Hoffenheim met Leverkusen in their last game. Both sides struggled to create too many opportunities and coach Sebastian Hoeness will be hoping to improve on that, up against a Leipzig side that boasts the best defensive record in Germany.
— TSG Hoffenheim EN (@tsghoffenheimEN) April 15, 2021
Star striker Andrej Kramaric was on the bench, appearing only as a substitute for Sebastian Rudy. He should undoubtedly lead the line for Hoffenheim this time around, with additional support from Ihlas Bebou.
There have been question marks over Bebou’s lack of productivity this season, so the explosive attacker does have a point to prove. At the same time, though, the creative output by the number ten in Christoph Baumgartner is going to be equally important while the two wing-backs in Ryan Sessegnon and Pavel Kaderabek hope to provide the width going forward.
Kaderabek is likely to operate in a more defensive role, though, in order to provide additional backup for the back three of Stefan Posch, Florian Grillitsch and on-loan ace Chris Richards.
The midfield duo for Hoffenheim in Diadie Samassekou and Sebastian Rudy could play an even bigger role in neutralising attacking pushes from Leipzig, using their experience and ability to read the game.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Posch, Grillitsch, Richards; Kaderabek, Rudy, Samassekou, Sessegnon; Baumgartner; Bebou, Kramaric
- RB Leipzig have 60 points on the board after 28 matches – a club record at this stage in a Bundesliga season.
- Die Roten Bullen have the best defence in this season’s Bundesliga, conceding just 23 goals. Hoffenheim have shipped 47.
- Andrej Kramaric is Hoffenheim’s 14-goal top scorer this term, but has only found the net once in his last seven and twice in 10 meetings with Leipzig.
- Hoffenheim have failed to win eight of their last 10 Bundesliga matches (D3, L5), and are winless in their last five on the road.
- Julian Nagelsmann oversaw 116 Bundesliga matches in charge of Hoffenheim, winning 51. That’s a win ratio of 44 per cent (1.7 points per game) – a best mark for a Hoffenheim coach. Hoeness’ points-per-game average across his 28 matches at the helm is 1.11 (W8, D7, L13).
Player to Watch
#Stats 📊: Angeliño 🇪🇸 explose tous les compteurs cette saison et s’impose comme l’un des meilleurs arrières gauche du monde :
🎽 31 matchs
⚽️ 8 buts
🎯 7 passes décisives
💪 3x homme du match
Il est le latéral gauche le plus prolifique d’Europe cette saison 🔥 pic.twitter.com/u3edUtlD42
— MEDIA SPORT INFO (@Mediasportinfo) April 9, 2021
Angelino has made a timely return to full fitness as RB Leipzig look to make a late push for the league title in this final stretch of the campaign. The former Manchester City full-back has been an integral part of the club’s success this season, with his creative output from the wider areas constantly serving key goalscoring opportunities for strikers.
Leipzig have done supremely in his absence, but the Spaniard’s return will be a boon for Nagelsmann, as it would offer his side more penetration going forward. And with Sorloth seemingly finding his feet in the Bundesliga, the tall Norwegian could be an ideal target man for Angelino’s deadly crosses from the wider areas of the park – making him one to watch out for.
RB Leipzig 2-0 TSG Hoffenheim
Apart from an early win over Bayern Munich, TSG Hoffenheim have barely ruffled the feathers of any top team in the Bundesliga this season. They have been incredibly inconsistent while injuries have also played a key role in stifling the club’s progress under Sebastian Hoeness.
Leipzig, therefore, are the undisputed favourites heading into this game while Hoffenheim may once again rue their poor productivity in front of goal. We are expecting a 2-0 victory for the hosts in this one.