Tomorrow evening RB Leipzig take on Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The game is sure to be a fascinating one because only 3 points separate leaders Bayern from 4th placed Borussia Mönchengladbach. Leipzig are only a point behind Bayern in 2nd, making the game a potentially decisive one in the overall standings of the title race.
Bayern Munich: Lewandowski, Hansi Flick and Home Ground Advantage
Bayern Munich go into this game as slight favourites considering their prestige, their current form and home ground advantage. The Bavarian side returned to the top of the table last week following a 3-1 win over Mainz 05 and have scored 16 goals in all competitions in the new year. Their form in front of goal will be a huge concern for Leipzig, who haven’t been at their best defensively, as of late.
Key to Bayern’s incredible goalscoring form has been their talisman Robert Lewandowski, who leads Timo Werner in the race for the golden boot with 22 goals. Lewandowski has been in incredible form in front of goal this season and will be Bayern’s main threat to a Leipzig side that has let in 8 goals in their last 4 matches so far in 2020.
Hansi Flick’s appointment as Niko Kovač’s replacement has been another key factor in Bayern’s resurgence this season. After a shaky start to their 2019/20 campaign, Flick has re-organised the squad and has instilled confidence in a side that lacked clear direction under the Croatian boss. That’s not to say that Kovač was a bad coach.
However, the standards at Bayern are so high that even good performances with a few bad results here and there are deemed unacceptable. Flick has managed to get the best out of the collective, slowly guiding them back to the Bundesliga summit. A game at the Allianz Arena is just what they need right now, with home ground advantage potentially giving them the edge in such a crucial, high-pressure fixture.
RB Leipzig: Underdogs with a Point to Prove
The Saxony-based team have found themselves under tremendous pressure as of late, losing twice to Eintracht Frankfurt and conceding 2 points to Borussia Mönchengladbach last week. Depending on how you look at it, Leipzig could also be in a better situation by gaining a point against a Gladbach and will have an extra impetus to win the league considering the fact that they will no longer compete for the DFB Pokal.
Diego Demme’s transfer to Napoli seems to have had a negative on the squad’s team-building process. Leipzig have lost a player fundamental to carrying out the midfield tasks of retaining and progressing the ball forwards. With his absence, Tyler Adams has stepped in and has done considerably well, but questions will be asked of him against Bayern.
Julian Nagelsmann’s tactical acumen and his sides flexibility and ability to adapt to opponents will always have limits and currently, the side seems to have reached them. However, the fact remains that Nagelsmann is one of the most brilliant head coaches in the game right now, regardless of his age.
With Leipzig’s current dilemma, both he and his team understand that tough moments during a season can only improve their mental strength, team unity and competitive spirit. A win against Bayern will strengthen their conviction that they can go on and conquer any challenges in their quest for winning the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
One individual in Leipzig’s side who will be looking to prove a point is Timo Werner. Werner last scored on matchday 18 against Union Berlin but hasn’t netted since. Now he comes up against a team with the joint-best defensive record in the league, and he’ll want to use this opportunity to help his side to 3 points and get closer to Lewandowski in the scoring charts. Games like these are the perfect motivator for top-notch performance and he’ll be looking to prove to his manager and the rest of the world that he’s closing in on the mantle of the best striker in German football. This is the perfect match for him to display his talent.
Date: Sunday, February 9, 2020
Kick-off: 18:00 (CET)
Venue: Allianz Arena (capacity: 75,000)
Referee: Marco Fritz
Broadcasting: Sky Sport Bundesliga 1 (Germany), BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom)
18.03.18: RB Leipzig 2-1 Bayern Munich
19.12.18: Bayern Munich 1-0 RB Leipzig
11.05.19: RB Leipzig 0-0 Bayern Munich
25.05.19: RB Leipzig 0-3 Bayern Munich
14.09.19: RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich
Nuremberg 5-2 (A) |Hertha Berlin 0-4 (A) | Schalke 04 5-0 (H) | Mainz 05 1-3 (A) | Hoffenheim 4-3 (H)
Osnabrück 2-0 (H) | Union Berlin 3-1 (H) |Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 (A) | Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-2 (H) | Eintracht Frankfurt 1-3 (A)
Injured: Javi Martínez (thigh), Ivan Perišić (ankle), Niklas Süle (anterior cruciate ligament)
Doubtful: Kingsley Coman (knee)
Injured: Kevin Kampl (ankle), Willi Orban (knee), Ibrahima Konaté (hip)
Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Thiago – Müller, Goretzka, Gnabry – Lewandowski (4-2-3-1)
Gulácsi – Mukiele, Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg – Laimer, Adams – Sabitzer, Nkunku – Werner, Schick (4-2-2-2)
“For a lot of people it’s about a so-called final but that doesn’t interest me. There are still 13 games to play. A lot can still happen. You have to think game by game and not say now is the absolute highlight. It’s a match we can all look forward to. Everybody’s keen and can hardly wait. But it’s only one game. We have to try and win.”
“It’s not a game between coaches but rather a game decided on the pitch. I rate Julian very highly. He has a good philosophy, clear thinking of how he wants to see his team play. The position Leipzig are in now and the way they’ve performed this season show they are a top team. Regardless of the last games, you have to say they have enormous quality. It will definitely be a good and interesting game for the fans.”Quotes via Bundesliga.com.
“Whenever you’re not getting good results 100% of the time, the team won’t be 100% full of self-confidence. Nevertheless we won’t shrink away in Munich. Maybe this title-chasing role is good for us, but above all we want to rediscover our form.”
“We won’t throw away the league with a loss, nor will we get the title with a win. There is no shame in losing at Bayern, but if you win there the feeling is extra special.”
“Bayern have made unbelievable progress compared to their Hinrunde. They defend with bravery, are aggressive in their counter-attacking and very safe in possession. Our plan is to be tough and unnerve them on the pitch and really shake things up.”Quotes via Twitter.com/RBLeipzig_EN
Bayern Munich 3-2 RB Leipzig