RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund: Preview and Prediction
Two of the biggest clubs in the Bundesliga are set to cross swords on Saturday as RB Leipzig plays hosts to Borussia Dortmund at the Red Bull Arena. Both teams have been in contrasting forms of late, and thus it makes for an interesting matchup.
After suffering a demoralising 4-1 defeat at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League recently, Die Roten Bullen parted ways with head coach Domenico Tedesco, and former Dortmund coach Marco Rose is the favorite to take over the job from his fellow compatriot.
Since being sacked by his former employers, the German has been out of work, and what better way to make his return than a reunion against the Black and Yellows?
Leipzig has endured a tough start to the Bundesliga campaign, having won just one game in their five matches so far, so the pressure will be on Rose to get things in order and soon. On the other hand, Edin Terzic’s side looks like a well-drilled unit and they will be the favourites to walk back home with all three points in the bag. The last time these two sides met in the Bundesliga, it was the BVB who prevailed 4-1, back in April 2022.
Leipzig has been out-of-sorts ever since the season kicked off, They were held by Stuttgart on matchday 1, followed by another draw against Koln next week. Their first league defeat of the season came against Union Berlin, but then Die Roten Bullen got back to winning ways beating Wolfsburg in the league followed by an 8-0 hammering of fourth-tier club Teutonia Ottensen.
After a couple of heavy defeats against Frankfurt and Shakhtar, Tedesco was sacked, with his side 11th in the standings, having collected just six points.
By stark contrast, at the time of writing, Dortmund was joint-top in the league table, alongside Freiburg. They have won all of their league games so far, barring a late 3-2 collapse against Werder Bremen.
Terzic’s men have amassed 12 points from five league games, and come into this fixture on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Dutch club FC Copenhagen in UCL.
As per multiple reports, Thorgan Hazard won’t be available for the fixture against Leipzig, after picking up an injury during the Copenhagen game. Gio Reyna replaced him and would go on to provide two assists so he could give the head coach a selection headache. Furthermore, Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen should hopefully be fit enough to feature in the matchday squad.
Terzic will most likely not tinker with his playing XI much, having found success with Gregor Kobel between the sticks, behind a back four of Raphael Guerreiro, Nico Schlotterbeck, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Meunier.
Jude Bellingham and Salih Ozcan are likely to anchor the midfield with Julian Brandt and Marco Reus the attacking options alongside either one of Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Reyna. Summer signing Anthony Modeste has been in good form, and he will start as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 system.
Talking about Leipzig, Rose has ideally preferred a 4-4-2 system, but it remains to be seen how the team lineup in his first match in charge. Peter Gulacsi is likely to start ahead of Janis Blaswich.
Mohamed Simikan, Willi Orban, Josko Gvardiol, and Marcel Halstenberg should make up the defense. Konrad Laimer and Kevin Kampl are likely to partner in the engine room while Dominik Szoboszlai, Christopher Nkunku, and Timo Werner could be the creative force behind striker Andre Silva.
Head to Head Record
Leipzig and Dortmund have faced off on 13 occasions so far, with BVB enjoying 7 wins, while the Red-Bull-backed club won 4 games, and the remaining two matches have ended as draws. The Black and Yellows were utterly dominant in their previous meeting.
Predicted Starting XIs
Leipzig (4-2-3-1): Peter Gulacsi, Mohamed Simikan, Willi Orban, Josko Gvardiol, Marcel Halstenberg, Konrad Laimer, Kevin Kampl, Dominik Szoboszlai, Christopher Nkunku, Timo Werner, Andre Silva.
Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Gregor Kobel, Raphael Guerreiro, Nico Schlotterbeck, Mats Hummels, Thomas Meunier, Jude Bellingham, Salih Ozcan, Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens/ Gio Reyna, Anthony Modeste.
Given Leipzig’s recent woes, it will be interesting to see how they fare against an in-form Dortmund side. It will certainly be a challenge for Rose, and historically as well, the BVB has had an upper hand in this fixture. Terzic’s side will surely be the favourites to take home all three points from the Red Bull Arena on Saturday.