Preview: RB Leipzig vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Forget El Clásico, the Derby della Madonnina and the Superclásico, it’s time for the inaugural Red Bull derby as RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg meet for the first time in a competitive competition on Thursday night in their Europa League group stage opener.

When the groups were finalised in Monaco at the end of last month, the pair’s inclusion in Group B caught the eye of many and got the conversation flowing, as it is well-known that both clubs are part of the Red Bull microcosm, with the topic on the tip of their tongues being about how the two are able to compete in Europe together, let alone face one another, despite UEFA’s rules prohibiting the involvement of two clubs under the same ownership in either of their competitions.

How RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg are eligible to compete against each other in Europe

For nine players spread across both squads, Thursday’s encounter will see them come up against their former employer. In Leipzig’s corner, six spent time in the birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart, while Ralf Rangnick was the man to revolutionise this week’s opposition, implementing the philosophy that has seen them achieve so much. For Salzburg, Smail Prevljak hopped across the border in 2014, as did Kilian Ludewig and Philipp Köhn this summer. In Marco Rose’s instance, it’s a return to the place he grew up and where he began his managerial career with Lokomotiv Leipzig.

Marco Rose: “It’s nice to come home, but I’m there to work.” [Salzburg24]

Although this is their first competitive encounter, this isn’t their maiden meeting as they came together in Doha, Qatar, back in 2015 to partake in a friendly that ended in a six-goal draw. Three of Red Bull Salzburg’s starting line-up that day now ply their trade for Leipzig (Péter Gulácsi, Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer), while current U.S. Men’s National Team defender Matt Miazga featured for Leipzig during a trial at the club.

Both Die Roten Bullen’s came out victorious at the weekend, but there is a contrast in terms of how important the three points are. RB Leipzig secured their first Bundesliga win in Ralf Rangnick’s second stint in charge with a frantic 3-2 win at home to Hannover 96, while Red Bull Salzburg had to dig deep against second-placed St. Pölten after going behind in a slapstick manner to come out 3-1 victors on the road, making it seven wins out of seven in the league and increasing their lead over their opponents to seven points.

After being advised by the club’s legal team to exclude him from the squad at the weekend, Jean-Kévin Augustin’s availability remains in the air due to the complaint made by the French Football Federation last week.

Red Bull Salzburg unveiled their new international third kit on Monday morning and will be debuting it when they walk out at the UEFA renamed RB Arena.

Match Information

Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018

Kick-off: 21:00 (CEST)

Venue: Red Bull Arena (Leipzig)

Referee: Andreas Ekberg (Sweden)

Broadcasting: BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom) | Nitro (Germany) | Puls 4 (Austria)

Previous Meetings

27.01.15: RB Leipzig 3-3 Red Bull Salzburg

Current Form

RB Leipzig

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 (A) | Zorya Luhansk 3-2 (H) | Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 (H) | Zagłębie Lubin 1-0 (H) | Hannover 96 3-2 (H)

Red Bull Salzburg

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 (A) | Rheindorf Altach 2-3 (A) | Red Star Belgrade 2-2 (H) | Admira Wacker 3-1 (H) | St. Pölten 1-3 (A)

Team News

RB Leipzig

Doubtful: Jean-Kévin Augustin

Red Bull Salzburg

Injured: Patrick Farkas (cruciate ligament) | Kilian Ludewig (wound) | Smail Prevljak (ligament) | Zlatko Junuzović (hamstring) | Patson Daka (adductor)

Predicted Line-ups

RB Leipzig

Mvogo

Mukiele – Orban – Upamecano – Saracchi

Sabitzer – Demme – Kampl

Forsberg

Augustin – Werner

Red Bull Salzburg

Walke

Lainer – Ramalho – Pongračić – Ulmer

Haidara – Samassékou – Schlager

Wolf

Yabo – Dabbur

Score Prediction

RB Leipzig 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

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