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BUNDESLIGA | RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich - Preview & Prediction

 


German football makes a long-awaited return this weekend with a heavyweight clash at the top of the Bundesliga, when RB Leipzig host Bayern Munich on Friday night.

The champions lead the way once again in the standings, but Leipzig are in hot pursuit after a sensational run of results before the World Cup break.


Marco Rose's appointment after the dismissal of Domenico Tedesco, who had a nightmare start to the season, has had the desired effect for Leipzig.

They have lost just once in the league under his stewardship and now sit third in the standings after being near the relegation zone when he arrived.

Leipzig safely made it through the Champions League group stage too, despite a heavy 4-1 defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk under Tedesco early in the campaign.

A convincing win over Shakhtar in the reverse fixture plus a historic win over Real Madrid helped them through, and that win kickstarted a run of six consecutive wins in all competitions going into the break.

Since the start of October, Die Roten Bullen are unbeaten, a run which stretches back 13 games, 11 of which have ended in victory.

They also have the best home form in the Bundesliga, having won six and drawn one of their seven matches at the Red Bull Arena, so despite the might of Bayern, the leaders may find it tough here.

The form of Christopher Nkunku has been a big factor, as the Frenchman ended 2022 with 33 goal contributions at club level, 10 more than any other Bundesliga player.

They also have arguably the world's most sought-after central-defender too in the form of Josko Gvardiol after his stellar World Cup, in which no defender won possession more or made as many interceptions than the Croat.

Back in September, Bayern were four games without a win, but fast-forward two months and they had won six on the spin in the league to move clear at the top.

Their tally of 49 goals scored is far and away the best in the division and a record that everybody has become accustomed to with Bayern in recent seasons.

Julian Nagelsmann's side netted an astonishing 21 goals in their final four home games before the World Cup break, unsurprisingly taking maximum points.

Leipzig may have the best home form in the league, but Bayern have the best away form, averaging over two points and almost three goals per game on the road.

Teenage sensation Jamal Musiala has the most goal contributions of any teenager or any German player in Europe's top five leagues this season, and he has been crucial to their recent unstoppable form.

He was one of the 17 players Bayern had representing their nations at the World Cup, but the majority-German contingent were all sent home early.

Another one of those was Manuel Neuer, but Bayern and Germany's number one will now miss the rest of the season after he broke his leg on a skiing holiday after being knocked out of the tournament.

This is usually a game that produces excitement, as there has been an incredible 50 goals scored in the 15 competitive meetings between the sides over the last six years, with a memorable 5-4 win for Bayern here back in 2017 being a notable clash.

The two sides met earlier in the season in the German Super Cup, and it was another thriller, as Bayern came out on top, winning 5-3 to claim the first piece of silverware for the season.

This will be a very important game in potentially determining where the biggest piece of domestic silverware will go too, as an away win will see Bayern go seven points clear, but Leipzig can close the gap to three points on the league leaders with a win themselves.

Bayern faced Leipzig's sister club RB Salzburg in their final friendly before the season resumes, and played out a 4-4 draw, so this has all the hallmarks of being a fantastic encounter.

TEAM NEWS

Nkunku is unlikely to feature for Leipzig in the next few weeks as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Gvardiol will be ready despite arriving back later than most from the World Cup after playing in the third place playoff, but he played 90 minutes in their recent friendly with Mlada Boleslav.

Club captain Peter Gulacsi is out in goal, and backup Janis Blaswich has not played in any of their friendlies, so it will be between him and Orjan Nyland to see who gets the nod between the sticks.

Mohamed Simakan is back from the injury that saw him miss their final game before the break, and Konrad Laimer should make a first start since September, but Timo Werner remains doubtful with an ankle injury.

Sven Ulreich should start in Neuer's absence in goal, and Bayern's backup goalkeeper has won all eight games in which he has started this season, the most of any player to still have a 100% winning record in the league.

Yann Sommer is expected to join the club soon from Borussia Monchengladbach, but Ulreich will take the gloves for now.

Daley Blind could make his debut for the club at left back after he was brought in following Lucas Hernandez's ACL tear at the World Cup.

Sadio Mane is still out with the heartbreaking injury that ended his World Cup dream, so Kingsley ComanSerge Gnabry and Leroy Sane will be the available options out wide.

Musiala made his 100th appearance for the club in their last league encounter, a phenomenal accolade for a 19-year-old, and he should be the first name on the team sheet here to make it 101.

POSSIBLE LINEUP

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol, Raum; Schlager, Laimer, Haidara; Szoboszlai, Forsberg, Andre Silva

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Ulreich; Mazraoui, Pavard, Upamecano, Davies; Goretzka, Musiala, Kimmich; Gnabry, Choupo-Moting, Sane


✏️ MY TIPS ✏️


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