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RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund: Key Matchups

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Borussia Dortmund v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Bundesliga Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund is fresh off a hard-fought victory over Mainz on opening day and will hit the road for the first time this season against newly promoted RB Leipzig.

The debutants impressed on opening day, drawing at Hoffenheim, 2-2. Dominik Kaiser and Marcel Sabitzer scored a pair of equalizers to split the points with the hosts.

This is RB Leipzig’s first ever Bundesliga campaign after being purchased by the Red Bull company in 2009. Leipzig brought in former Stuttgart striker Timo Werner in the offseason to bolster the offense. Defensively, Leipzig is rather thin but the loan of Kyriakos Papadopoulos from Leverkusen will help strengthen the back-line.

For more on RB Leipzig, check out their season preview HERE.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Fast-paced attack; Lots of feeling out

RB Leipzig is a team built around pacy, attacking players. The Red Bulls are known to out-run their opponents. For a fast team like Dortmund, this should actually play right into their game. As Leipzig brings more men forward in attack, they’ll leave themselves vulnerable at the back. And against a counter-attacking team like Dortmund, that’s never a good game-plan.

Since this will be the first top-flight meeting between the two teams, there will be some feeling out for what could be a long stretch of the first half. But after that, the teams will get down to business and begin pressing more on attack.

KEY TO THE GAME: Persistence pays off

The opening sequence of the match could be frustrating for Dortmund. While BVB could see much of the possession, RB Leipzig will remain stingy. Leipzig are similar to Mainz in that they like to push numbers forward while leaving themselves vulnerable on defense. If Dortmund can remain persistent and dominate possession, goals will come.

OPPOSING PLAYER TO WATCH: Marcel Sabitzer

The Austrian midfielder scored his first Bundesliga goal in the dying moments of Leipzig’s first match against Hoffenheim. Sabitzer is a strong, attack-minded player with a lot of pace. He’s been known to get on the end of crosses and can easily win races down the flank to a lose ball. The Dortmund defense will need to key on Sabitzer this weekend.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

Expect a similar looking lineup to their opening day one.

  • Formation: 4-4-2
  • Goalkeeper: Peter Gulacsi
  • Defense: Marcel Halstenberg, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Marvin Compper, Benno Schmitz
  • Midfield: Marcel Sabitzer, Diego Demme, Stefan Ilsanker, Dominik Kaiser (C)
  • Forwards: Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg

PREDICTION: 3-1 Dortmund

BVB should have no problem penetrating the Leipzig backline. But can the Dortmund defense hold the Leipzig attack scoreless in their home opener? Probably not. It won’t be easy but should be three points.