After last week’s 0-0 draw in Zaporizhia, RB Leipzig have one last chance to secure their place in Friday’s Europa League group stage draw as they welcome Zorya Luhansk to the Red Bull Arena.
Under 200 miles away from the War in Donbass, Leipzig were granted the upper-hand in the 16th minute when Zorya’s Bogdan Lednev was given his marching orders for kicking out at Marcelo Saracchi, but they were unable to take advantage as the game dragged to a halt with minimal opportunities and zero goals, in what was a dire spectacle.
RB Leipzig’s Bundesliga season could not have started in a better and worse manner at the weekend. In Ralf Rangnick’s first top-flight game at the helm since 2012, they took the lead against Borussia Dortmund after 31 seconds through Jean-Kévin Augustin. However, Lucian Favre’s side were able to reverse the score with three goals before half-time, then a fourth in second-half stoppage time to come out 4-1 victors at Signal Iduna Park. Zorya Luhansk also come into Thursday’s encounter off the back of a defeat, losing 2-0 at home to Desna Chernihiv, which extended a run of games without a win to four and making it two wins in their last eleven.
Leipzig will be without Marcelo Saracchi who is suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Fellow left-back Marcel Halstenberg returned to training this week but Ralf Rangnick has stated that it’s too early for him to feature.
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2018
Kick-off: 18:30 (CEST)
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Broadcasting: DAZN (Austria & Germany) | 2+2 (Ukraine)
23.08.18: Zorya Luhansk 0-0 RB Leipzig
Universitatea Craiova 3-1 (H) | Universitatea Craiova 1-1 (A) | Viktoria Cologne 1-3 (A) | Zorya Luhansk 0-0 (A) | Borussia Dortmund 4-1 (A)
Karpaty Lviv 0-1 (A) | Sporting Braga 2-2 (A) | Olimpik Donetsk 0-0 (H) | RB Leipzig 0-0 (H) | Desna Chernihiv 0-2 (H)
Absent: Marcel Halstenberg (recovery)
Suspended: Marcelo Saracchi
Injured: Artem Gromov (ankle)
Suspended: Bogdan Lednev
Mukiele – Orban – Upamecano – Klostermann
Sabitzer – Demme – Kampl
Cunha – Werner
Tymchyk – Svatok – Vernydub – Mykhaylychenko
Kharatin – Silas
Karavaiev – Kochergin – Khomchenovskyi
Ralf Rangnick: “It’s clear that we must win tomorrow. We’re assuming that Luhansk will play deep and look to score on the counter or from set-pieces. Therefore, everyone will have to be on the ball defensively.
It will be important for us to put the opposition under pressure and win set-pieces ourselves. We’ll have enough players in the box to make chances, but we definitely must provide a threat.
We’ll do everything we can to win tomorrow and reach the Europa League group stage. We want to play in Europe again, that’s our main ambition.”
RB Leipzig 2-1 Zorya Luhansk