Saturday’s Bundesliga blockbuster at the Red Bull Arena pits genuine title contenders RB Leipzig and perennial champions Bayern Munich against each other.
Leipzig kicked things off in 2023/24 with an emphatic 3-0 triumph over none other than the Bavarians in August’s DFL-Supercup showpiece, pouring more petrol on the fire of this brand-new rivalry.
However, they slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen in their Bundesliga opener the following weekend, casting doubt on their title credentials early on.
That result seems to have been a wake-up call for Marco Rose’s side, making them shrug off complacency and set the tone for a potentially historic domestic campaign.
Ex-Chelsea forward Timo Werner struck home a late winner to inspire Leipzig to a hard-earned 1-0 triumph at Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend, making it four league wins on the trot for the high-flying hosts.
An action-packed 3-2 win over lower-league Wehen in midweek DFB-Pokal action strengthened their morale, but Bayern produced a spectacle of their own on Tuesday.
Despite leaving Harry Kane on the bench, manager Thomas Tuchel oversaw a landslide 4-0 victory over third-tier Preussen Munster in the opening cup game.
Kane bagged his first hat-trick for Bayern last weekend as the Bavarians humbled perennial bottom-half strugglers Bochum 7-0 at home to maintain a near-perfect top-flight start (W4, D1).
With both sides coming into proceedings amid a purple patch, Saturday’s encounter could go a long way in deciding what promises to be another spectacular Bundesliga title race.
Leipzig’s four-game winning streak in the build-up to this mouth-watering contest proves we were right to name them the most viable title competitors in our 2023/24 Bundesliga season preview.
Another possible win here could prove a season-defining moment for Die Rotten Bullen, and after going unbeaten in all three games against Bayern in 2023 (W2, D1), they shouldn’t lack confidence.
With only one point separating the sides ahead of the kick-off, Leipzig’s impressive six-game winning league streak on home turf suggests the hosts could finish this round at the top of the tree.
But they would be wise not to let their sterling home run tuck them into a false sense of security, considering they’re winless in their last five Bundesliga matches against Bayern at the Red Bull Arena (D3, L2).
A 2-2 home draw against Leverkusen remains the only blemish on an otherwise near-flawless Bundesliga start for the ten-time consecutive champions (W4).
However, since that stalemate, Tuchel’s men have turned on the style, netting a whopping 15 goals across three consecutive wins in all competitions, including a 4-3 triumph over Manchester United.
On top of that, they have tallied ten goals across their last three competitive visits to the Red Bull Arena (W2, D1), highlighting the potential for another free-scoring performance.
Given Leipzig’s 2.8 goals per game ratio in the opening five Bundesliga rounds, nothing less would do for Bayern if they’re to open a new league campaign with three successive away wins for the first time since 2015/16.
Leipzig’s DFL-Supercup hero, Dani Olmo, who notched up a hat-trick in that game, is unavailable for selection due to a knee injury.
Willi Orban, Amadou Haidara and El Chadaille Bitshiabu form the remaining part of the home side’s injured contingent.
This trip will come too soon for long-term absentee Manuel Neuer, with Serge Gnabry unlikely to start for Bayern after sustaining a broken hand in midweek DFB-Pokal action.
RB Leipzig potential starting line-up:
(4-4-2): Janis Blaswich; Benjamin Henrichs, Mohamed Simakan, Castello Lukeba, Daniel Raum; Xavi Simons, Xaver Schlager, Kevin Kampl, Fabio Carvalho; Benjamin Sesko, Lois Openda.
Bayern Munich potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Sven Ulreich; Noussair Mazraoui, Matthijs de Ligt, Kim Min-jae, Alphonso Davies; Konrad Laimer, Joshua Kimmich; Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala; Harry Kane.
We Say: RB Leipzig 2-3 Bayern Munich
This contest has a high-scoring drama written all over it, and we expect the early Bundesliga top-table six-pointer to live up to the billing.
But Kane could provide Bayern with a much-needed cutting edge they desperately lacked in the DFL-Supercup.
We back the England captain to tilt the scales in the visitors’ favour and help them make amends for that fiasco.
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