Preview: RB Leipzig vs. Universitatea Craiova

The Europa League group phase edges ever closer for RB Leipzig as they prepare for a third qualifying round double-header versus Universitatea Craiova with a potential play-off versus Braga or Zorya Luhansk in mind.

This will be Craiova’s first appearance in Europe this season, but they do not come into the fixture in the best vein of form. Four games into their domestic without a win (two draws, two defeats) and three places off the base of the table, the Romanian side must be dreading the thought of facing German opposition in their current state, as their record isn’t something to boast about, with two wins, two draws and six defeats. However, the last encounter with one came against Borussia Dortmund in 1990.

Die Roten Bullen have reached this stage in the competition thanks to a 5-1 aggregate win over Häcken in the previous round, but despite the scoreline, Leipzig were far from convincing on their trip to Sweden and made life hard for themselves. On an artificial pitch, Rangnick’s side found it hard to maintain possession, create scoring opportunities and a defensive error lead to a Häcken equaliser late on in a 1-1 draw. The next day, Leipzig were beaten 3-0 by Huddersfield Town in Austria, with Timo Werner, Yussuf Poulsen and Yvon Mvogo making their first appearances since returning.

Marcel Sabitzer and Nordi Mukiele return to the squad after their respective injuries, Emil Forsberg missed training the other day as his wife gave birth but he is contention to start and Stefan Ilsanker is available again after suspension. Dayot Upamecano and Konrad Laimer remain sidelined.

Match Information

Date: Thursday, August 9, 2018

Kick-off: 18:30 (CEST)

Venue: Red Bull Arena

Referee: Paweł Gil (Poland)

Broadcasting: DAZN (Germany)

Current Form

RB Leipzig

1919 Grimma 0-7 (A) | Meuselwitz 2-2 (A) | Häcken 4-0 (H) | Häcken 1-1 (A) | Huddersfield Town 0-3 (H)

Universitatea Craiova

Wacker Innsbruck II 0-4 (A) | Cluj 1-0 (A) | Politehnica Iași 0-0 (H) | Sepsi 1-0 (A) | Botoșani 2-2 (H)

Team News

RB Leipzig

Injured: Dayot Upamecano

Absent: Konrad Laimer

Universitatea Craiova

Injured: Ivan Martić | Fausto Rossi | Radoslav Dimitrov

Predicted Line-ups

RB Leipzig

Mvogo

Klostermann – Konaté – Orban – Saracchi

Kampl – Demme

Bruma – Forsberg

Cunha – Augustin

Universitatea Craiova

Pigliacelli

Popa – Gardoș – Ferreira

Gheorghe – Mateiu – Cicâldău – Bancu

Mihăilă – Burlacu – Mitriță

Score Prediction

RB Leipzig 3-0 Universitatea Craiova

[Photo: Imago]

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