Oh boy, have I been looking forward to this one! It’s second placed BVB against fourth placed Leipzig. It’s Dortmund vs. Leipzig. It’s Edin Terzic against Marco Rose. There are unlimited factors that makes this game one of the bangers of the season, and I can hardly wait to plop down in front of the screen on Friday for what is sure to be an intense affair between two of the best teams in German football.
Both sides are coming off a victory on matchday 22. Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 1-0 at the PreZero Arena, while Leipzig defeated a strong Frankfurt side 2-1 at the Red Bull Arena. Both teams are currently legitimate title contenders, and a defeat for either of the teams would be a disaster in terms of keeping up with Bayern Munich.
RB Leipzig have been on fire since hiring former BVB-coach Maco Rose in September. No single team in the Bundesliga has been picked up more points since Rose took the wheel in Leipzig (37) and they have even managed to do so without star player Christopher Nkunku, who was out with injury until matchday 20.
One thing to note is that Die Bullen have scored and conceded exactly the same amount of goals as The Black and Yellows. Nkunku was red hot before getting injured, and Leipzig seem to have a similar scoring-pattern compared to BVB, meaning that every player has been chipping in with a goal or two. Life under Rose has been good for Leipzig, but not perfect. While BVB are looking for their tenth straight win, the energy drink team have only won two in their last five games (although a draw against Manchester City is still really impressive). Leipzig are notorious for their offensive firepower, and the team from -Germany aren’t in need of goals either. Marco Rose and co. have scored in all but one of their last 25 games, and we’ll need an extra big fridge to contain a dangerous red bull.
Leipzig will be without Péter Gulásci, Dani Olmo and Abdou Diallo, while there’s no changes to the injury list for BVB since the Hoffenheim game.
This probably isn’t the most traditional BVB-lineup, but I think it would be quite effective. I don’t trust Hummels to keep up with Timo Werner, and Ryerson’s non-stop running will be of big help as the team will need to cover a lot of ground against a good opponent.
I don’t think it would be too out-of-character for Terzic to approach this game a bit more defensively. Malen simply hasn’t been good enough, and JBG is probably better off the bench in a game like this. An in-form Emre Can will be absolutely crucial in a game like this, and I actually think an endurance-player like Ryerson suits this game really well. The only problem I see with this is, that Reus, Brandt and Bellingham like to occupy the same spaces. Brandt has been really decent at interchanging position with wide players before, and hopefully the team can make it work. The lineup is reminiscent of the one fielded against Manchester City at the Etihad back in September, and it did work out quite well at the time.
Player to Watch: Dominik Szoboszlai
I really don’t like to say this about an RBL-player, but Szoboszlai probably is one of my favorite non-BVB players in the Bundesliga. His technique is ridiculous, his vision is well-developed and he has an eye for goal. The Hungarian international has 12 goal contributions in 20 matches so far this season, and he has been one of the constants in a struggling RBL-side.
He’s leading the team in assists (8), and he rarely has a game where he isn’t dangerous for the enemy team. His ability to arrive in the box is really impressive, and his shot from distance is one of the best in the league. Something I’ve noted as well is, that he’s really hard to press, and all of our defensive players will surely have their work cut out for them in terms of handling the Hungarian.
Terzic is currently on the best ever run in BVB history, and with a win on Friday, he’ll be the first coach in the history of the club to win 10 straight games. Some of our players are in the form of their life, and I don’t see any reason why they should suddenly implode. Every game against Leipzig seem to be high-scoring affair, and I don’t think it’ll be any different this time around.
I predict a 3-2 victory for the Black and Yellows.