RB Leipzig travel away to Wolfsburg on Matchday 25 in a 2nd vs 7th showdown. The hosts coached by Oliver Glasner will be looking to stretch their 8-game unbeaten run in the fight for a Europa League spot. Leipzig, on the other hand, require no less than 3 points to keep pace with leaders Bayern Munich in their quest for their first-ever Bundesliga title.
Oliver Glasner: A Coaching Talent On The Up?
Glasner, an ex-Red Bull Salzburg trainer will understand the task at hand and the tactical approach he chooses for his side in this fixture will be interesting to discover. He understands the philosophy and intricacies of the processes behind the famous Red Bull brand of football. However, despite his knowledge and experience in coaching in top leagues, Glasner’s side will have to find ways to deal with the incredible collective quality Leipzig possess at the moment.
Glasner’s coaching experience began at Red Bull Salzburg, as an assistant to Roger Schmidt between 2012 and 2014. After leaving for SV Reid for a season, he signed for LASK. With him in the hot seat, LASK became Red Bull Salzburg’s main challenger for the Austrian Bundesliga. His impressive transformation of LASK caught the attention of Wolfsburg who promptly brought him in for the 2019/20 season.
One question that has to be asked is if Wolfsburg brought Glasner in because they expect to finish higher than last season’s 6th place? With the current squad and the level of quality of the top 6 makes it difficult to see how this is possible. This is a reality but if there is anybody who can take on the challenge and build a team that aims higher than Europa League places, it’s Glasner. In order to do that though, they’ll have to step up and take points off of teams like Leipzig. Glasner’s chosen approach is what will help them do so, hence the reason why it’ll be so fascinating to discover.
The aggregate score between the teams in their last two fixtures against each other? 7-2 in favour of Leipzig. It’s going to be a tough one for Wolfsburg.
RB Leipzig: Title Contenders With No Room For Slip-Ups
As much as Wolfsburg have a point to prove in this fixture, it’s nothing compared to the importance of this game for Leipzig who are currently going toe-to-toe with Bayern at the top of the table. After a 1-1 draw with Leverkusen last week, the gap between them and Bayern increased from 1 to 3 points while Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach edged closer to second place.
The game also comes before a crucial Champions League fixture. This means the side will be looking to set the rhythm and momentum they need going into the second leg against Tottenham Hotspur. The game against Wolfsburg will provide the perfect game to do this in. Physically strong, aggressive in defence and boasting a decent defensive record, Wolfsburg will be a very difficult challenge for Leipzig to overcome.
Positive news for them will be the return of Konrad Laimer. It’s unclear whether he will start or not, but he’ll most likely be on the bench in order to play a full game against Spurs. Laimer’s return will add extra flexibility to Leipzig who can always switch systems with him in the side.
Besides, Laimer’s return it’s hard to expect any surprises by Leipzig. Based on how they played last week, they’ll need to control possession and play at a higher intensity than their opponents straight from kick-off in order to win.
Date: Saturday, March 7, 2020
Kick-off: 15:30 (CET)
Venue: Volkswagen Arena (capacity: 30,000)
Referee: Daniel Schlager
Broadcasting: Sky Sport Bundesliga 3 (Germany)
24.11.18: Wolfsburg 1-1 RB Leipzig
06.02.19: RB Leipzig 1-0 Wolfsburg
13.04.19: RB Leipzig 2-0 Wolfsburg
19.10.19: RB Leipzig 1-1 Wolfsburg
30.10.19: Wolfsburg 1-6 RB Leipzig
Hoffenheim 2-3 (A) | Malmö 2-1 (H) | Mainz 05 4-0 (H) | Malmö 3-0 (A) | Union Berlin 2-2 (A)
Bayern Munich 0-0 (A) | Werder Bremen 3-0 (H) | Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 (A) | Schalke 04 5-0 (A) | Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 (H)
Injured: Ignacio Camacho (ankle), Joshua Guilavogui (knee), William (knee)
Doubtful: Daniel Ginczek (knee)
Out: Ethan Ampadu (back), Ibrahima Konaté (hamstring), Willi Orban (knee), Kevin Kampl (ankle)
Doubtful: Timo Werner (muscle)
Casteels – Mbabu, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Gerhardt, Schlager, Arnold – Steffen, Brekalo – Weghorst (4-3-2-1)
Gulácsi – Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg – Mukiele, Sabitzer, Laimer, Nkunku, Angeliño – Schick, Werner (3-5-2)
“It’s clear that both teams will be playing to win on Saturday. There aren’t any teams who go into a match and are out for a draw.”
“It’s important we play to a high level. We’ve shown in recent weeks that we can do that.”
“With Leipzig, we’re facing a team who are challenging for the title. They’re a team who, at their best, are really hard to beat. It’s important we don’t give the ball away and have cover.”Source: Twitter.com/VFLWolfsburg_EN
“Wolfsburg are difficult to break down. They have a clear structure in possession, are very robust, physically strong and are difficult to defend against. It will be a tough game. We need to turn up.”
“We were missing Konni’s passion against Leverkusen. We’re delighted that he’s now back for the Wolfsburg game. He’s a really important part of the team. He’s not completely recovered yet but he should be fine for Saturday.”
“Marcel Halstenberg is a very self-critical and sensible player. He’s also an extremely good football player. He’s playing really well in his new position as a central defender. He feels comfortable there.”Source: Twitter.com/RBLeipzig_EN