RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen preview
The Bundesliga is having a competitive title race. It is a statement we have rarely heard about the German league in the last decade. With Bayern Munich winning 11 titles on the trot, the reputation of being named as a ‘one-team league’ looks like one that is well earned. However, this season has been unlike any other in recent memory, with Bayer Leverkusen blowing away opposition left, right and centre. The leading man behind Die Werkself’s incredible rise is Xabi Alonso, who has become as good a manager as he was as a player. Now, the next challenge they face in their quest for their maiden Bundesliga table is travelling to the Red Bull Arena to face RB Leipzig.
Leverkusen have been impeccable in the current campaign and are the only team in the top five leagues to remain unbeaten. They also are the fourth-highest scoring side in the top five leagues after Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The whole team has performed like a well-drilled unit but their attacking triumvirate of Victor Boniface, Florian Wirtz, and Jonas Hofmann have been the star of the show.
Leipzig on the other hand, have performed far from their best. In the 2023 summer transfer window, they lost three of their top players: Dominik Szoboszlai, Josko Gvardiol, and Christopher Nkunku. While they brought in Lois Openda, Castello Lukeba, and Benjamin Sesko, the team has yet to match Bayern and Leverkusen’s consistency. However, Openda and Xavi Simona have been in brilliant form and will need to be again to stop the Leverkusen juggernaut.
The two faced on the opening day of the new league season playing a five-goal thriller in which Alonso’s team ran out 3-2 winners. Since then, though Leipzig have faced top teams such as Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and VFB Stuttgart and have yet to lose a single match which will give them confidence against the league leaders.
RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen predicted lineups
RB Leipzig predicted lineup
RB Leipzig lost their last game at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. While the result was a blow, one positive was the return of striker Dani Olmo. The Spaniard has missed 11 games in the league due to two injuries but is now available for selection. He will most likely replace Sesko, who has been out of form, scoring his last league goal in October.
Apart from this, Leipzig are likely expected to field the same squad that took to the field against Frankfurt. The creative burden will again be on Simons, who has been a menace to the opposition on the left wing.
RB Leipzig Predicted XI: Blaswich; Raum, Simakan, Klostermann, Henrichs; Xavi Simons, Schlager, Kampl, Baumgartner; Olmo, Openda
🔴✅ 𝐎𝐅𝐅𝐈𝐂𝐈𝐀𝐋 | Bayer Leverkusen are now 26 games unbeaten! 1-0 win vs Augsburg.
They are missing 4 key players to injury/AFCON: Boniface, Adli, Kossounou and Tapsoba. Xabi on a mission ⏳ pic.twitter.com/aE9yDwVswA
— Lexa~sports (@Lexas_sports) January 13, 2024
Bayer Leverkusen predicted lineup
Leverkusen are now facing the biggest threat to their title challenge: The African Cup of Nations. Due to the ongoing tournament, The team are without Edmond Tapsoba, Odilon Kossounou and Amine Adli. On top of that, they have lost Victor Boniface till April due to a groyne injury.
The only silver lining is the return of Florian Wirtz, who will need to be at his best till AFCON is over to maintain their lead in the Bundesliga. In the absence of Tapsoba and Kossounou, the onus will be on Robert Andrich and Josip Stanisic to fill in the void.
Up ahead, Patrik Schick, who scored a hat trick before the winter break, will need to fill in for Boniface.
Bayer Leverkusen Predicted XI: Hradecky; Hincapie, Tah,. Stanisic; Grimaldo, Palacios, Xhaka, Frimpong; Hofmann, Wirtz; Schick
RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen predictions
RB Leipzig is a team that has blown hot and cold this season. In several instances, it appeared Marco Rose’s team would go on a consistent run before suffering a loss. This has been the main reason they find themselves 12 points adrift of the league leaders despite being in the top four.
Leverkusen, on the other hand, are playing like a team that has no weaknesses. However, with three of their main players unavailable, Alonso will face the sternest test of his managerial career. Leverkusen also are being followed by a team who just last year came out on top on the final day of the Bundesliga even when there were a slim chance of them doing so.
However, winning against a settled Leipzig squad at the Red Bull Arena might be a tall order for them.
FootTheBall predicts a 2-2 draw.