Goals expected as Bundesliga leaders take on RB Leipzig


The Bundesliga returned last night after a four week winter break. Bayern Munich kicked the second half of the season off with a 3-1 win away at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. 

German football fans will have their eyes on this evening’s tasty looking fixture at the Red Bull Arena where RasenBallsport Leipzig take on current league leaders Borussia Dortmund. 

Dortmund had a great first half of the season, playing 17 games, winning 13, drawing three and losing only one game, 2-1 away from home to Foruna Dusseldorf, a game most would have predicted they’d win. They sit top of the table on 42 points, three points clear with a game in hand on second place Der Klassiker rivals Bayern. At the start of the season not many people will have predicted Dortmund being in this position. Last season they scraped into the top four on goal difference and finished a whopping 29 points behind league winners Bayern. Bayern haven’t been their formidable selves this season, however Dortmund fully deserve to be in poll position. They’ve looked exciting, energetic and dangerous in their first 17 games this season under manager Lucien Favre, who took over at the Black and Yellow’s in the summer of 2018. 

Dortmund have scored 44 goals in their 17 Bundesliga games to date, five more than second place Bayern and only 22 goals off their total amount last season, which they look set to beat comfortably. After their main man Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang was sold to Arsenal in January 2018 the side struggled for goals. If you were to discount Aubameyang, Maximilian Philipp was their top scorer for the season, with only nine goals. 

This season goals have been far from a problem. Paco Alcácer leads the way with 12 goals to his name. Marco Reus finally looks like he’s going to avoid a season troubled with injuries, he’s made 17 appearances so far this season and has 11 goals and five assists to his name. The player being talked about the most this season is English wonderkid Jadon Sancho. Sancho moved to the German club in 2017 from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, a bold move that looks to be paying off. Sancho is lightning fast, tricky, and constantly on the move, a full backs nightmare. For such a young player his directness and decision making is outstanding and this is backed up by the fact he’s scored six goals and has claimed seven assists in the Bundesliga so far this season. 

Manager Favre has insisted that Dortmund can still improve in the second half of the season: 

“We have been successful so far this season and that brings a calm environment. The way to continue that is to be very focused in our preparation: no one is allowed to rest. All my players have the potential to improve: technically, tactically, physically and mentally.

“Bayern will get stronger, there is no doubt about that. I am counting on them but it is not only Munich. Gladbach are very dangerous and so are Leipzig. There are a lot of ambitious teams and it can go up or down very quickly.”

Leipzig’s start to life in the Bundesliga has been phenomenal and somewhat unexpected. The controversial club finished second in their first season in the top flight back in 2016/17. Last season they finished in sixth place whilst also taking part in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. When they were promoted many were aware of the money they’d spent and therefore they weren’t tipped as favourites to be relegated however to finish second and sixth in their first two seasons is remarkable and the club are certainly doing something right. 

This season, Ralf Rangnick’s Leipzig have been solid in the Bundesliga and sit in fourth place on 31 points. The manager will be pleased but will also feel that they have missed out on an opportunity to really challenge for the title this season. They are unbeaten at home, having won seven and drawing two in their nine games at the Red Bull Arena. It is their away form that appears to be the reason why they are not challenging for the title. In their eight games away from home they’ve won two, drawn two and lost four. 

Head to heads 

The two sides have faced each other on five occasions since Leipzig gained promotion. The honours are even as it stands with one draw and both sides winning twice. Neither of Dortmund’s wins were away wins which will be a boost for Leipzig ahead of the game. 

Team news

Dortmund: Cool, calm and collected central defender Manuel Akanji is set to miss the game through injury. Fellow central defenders Omer Toprak and Dan-Axel Zagadou also look doubtful for the game which means we may see a makeshift defence this evening, with Julian Weigl likely to fill in at the back.

Leipzig: Die Bullen will be without Amadou Haidara, Bruma and Emil Forsberg, who are all out injured. While Stefan Ilsanker is suspended after receiving a red card against Bayern. 

Prediction: RB Leipzig 1-2 Borussia Dortmund


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