The Journey to Berlin starts here for RB Leipzig as they begin their DFB-Pokal campaign with a first of two trips to North Rhine-Westphalia in as many weeks as they face Viktoria Cologne in round one of the competition.
Ralf Rangnick and his side’s preparations for this encounter haven’t been ideal due to European commitments. Travelling to Romania during the week with the accompaniment of just seven fans, Leipzig, once again, struggled to kill off the tie, and despite taking a first-half lead, they had to settle for a draw after Raoul Petre Baicu’s cross looped over Mvogo from a tight angle and into the side netting with 85 minutes on the clock. Nonetheless, progression was assured and Die Roten Bullen will travel to Ukraine after their domestic curtain-raiser this weekend to face Zorya Luhansk in their play-off round first leg.
While their opponents have been competing for a place in UEFA’s secondary competition, Cologne are three matches deep into their domestic season and currently sit sixth in the table after one win and two draws against Alemmania Achen, Borussia Dortmund and Bonn respectively. Viktoria Cologne showcased during pre-season that they know where the back of the net is, scoring 21 goals in five matches, including a 9-0 thrashing of Reppichau.
Except for Marcel Halstenberg, Ralf Rangnick has a full squad at his disposal this weekend and in his pre-match press conference, he indicated that he could rotate his starting XI.
Date: Sunday, August 18,
Kick-off: 15:30 (CEST)
Venue: Sportpark Höhenberg (capacity: 6,214)
Referee: Martin Peterson
Broadcasting: Sky Sport 1 (Germany) | ESPN3 (USA)
Blau-Weiß Friesdorf 5-1 (H) | Offenbacher Kickers 0-1 (A) | Alemmania Aachen 2-1 (A) | Borussia Dortmund II 2-2 (A) | Bonn 2-2 (A)
Häcken 4-0 (H) | Häcken 1-1 (A) | Huddersfield Town 0-3 (H) | Universitatea Craiova 3-1 (H) | Universitatea Craiova 1-1 (A)
Injured: Mike Wunderlich (ankle) | Nicolas Hebisch (cruciate ligament) | Sascha Elchmeier (cruciate ligament) | Simon Handle (adductors) | Christian Derflinger (abdomen)
Absent: Marcel Halstenberg (recovery)
Koronkiewicz – Reiche – Willers – Lang
Holzweiler – Saghiri – Backszat – Popovits
Golly – Kreyer
Mukiele – Ilsanker – Upamecano – Klostermann
Stierlin – Laimer
Bruno – Bruma
Cunha – Werner
Viktoria Cologne 1-4 RB Leipzig