Bayern Munich will aim to resume the Bundesliga campaign strongly when they take on RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Friday.
The 2022/23 Bundesliga season will resume after two months with Matchday 16. And defending champions Bayern Munich will be in action to kick off the latest round of fixtures when they lock horns with RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Friday night.
RB Leipzig began the 2022/23 season poorly, winning just two of the first seven league games. They also faced defeat in their first UEFA Champions League outing, costing Domenico Tedesco his job. Marco Rose replaced Tedesco at the helm at the Red Bull Arena and made an inauspicious start. But an eight-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga has lifted Leipzig to third on the table. And they also finished second in their Champions League group.
On the other hand, Bayern Munich also stuttered early in the 2022/23 season. By their standards, they seemingly struggled in the Bundesliga in the campaign’s first six weeks. Die Roten dropped as low as fifth in the standings after a four-game winless streak. But an eight-game unbeaten run, like Leipzig, has lifted Bayern Munich to the top of the table.
The corresponding fixture last season saw the reigning champions cruising to a 4-1 win. RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich have also faced each other once this season, with Die Roten clinching a 5-3 victory in the DFL-Supercup. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
🎙️ Marco Rose on team news:
"We're optimistic with @TimoWerner. He's been in training and played 50 minutes against Mladá Boleslav. We'll make a decision on Janis Blasiwch after training today, but it was looking good yesterday." pic.twitter.com/doQ69NFIOL
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) January 19, 2023
Marco Rose has a few pressing concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the game against Bayern Munich. On Friday, the RB Leipzig manager will likely be bereft of the services of four first-team players.
Peter Gulacsi and Christopher Nkunku are long-term absentees due to their respective knee issues. The latter, the top scorer in the Bundesliga thus far this season, missed the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to his injury. In addition, Abdou Diallo (muscle injury) and David Raum (ankle) are doubtful to feature against Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Timo Werner might not be fit enough to start.
Janis Blaswich, who joined RB Leipzig in the summer, will deputise for Gulacsi between the sticks. The hosts will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of Blaswich. And the backline will likely feature Mohamed Simakan, Willi Orban, Josko Gvardiol and Marcel Halstenberg.
Xaver Schlager and Konrad Laimer, who will reportedly join Bayern Munich in the summer, will sit in the middle of the park for Leipzig. The duo will form a defensive-minded double pivot, looking to shore up things in the midfield.
Dani Olmo will likely be the most advanced midfielder for Leipzig, replacing the injured Nkunku. So Andre Silva will shoulder most of the scoring burden this week, with Emil Forsberg and Dominik Szoboszlai supporting him from the flanks. And Werner should be an option off the bench for Rose.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Blaswich; Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg; Schlager, Laimer; Szoboszlai, Olmo, Forsberg; Andre Silva
Like his counterpart in the RB Leipzig dugout, Julian Nagelsmann has several roster issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Red Bull Arena. The Bayern Munich manager will be without five first-team players on Friday.
Manuel Neuer (leg) and Lucas Hernandez (knee) are long-term absentees due to their respective injuries. In addition, Sadio Mane (leg) and Bouna Sarr (knee) are on the sidelines. At the same time, Noussair Mazraoui will be sidelined until the end of February due to heart inflammation after his COVID-19 spell.
While Bayern Munich have signed Yann Sommer, the Swiss goalkeeper might not feature on Friday. So Sven Ulreich will deputise for Neuer between the sticks, with Bayern Munich lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him.
🗣️ @J__Nagelsmann on the squad: "Things are looking good. @leongoretzka_ still has some minimal complaints, but nothing that would keep him from playing. Things are looking good for Kingsley Coman and @mdeligt_04 as well." #packmas pic.twitter.com/DmG9PKipbg
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) January 18, 2023
Benjamin Pavard will start in place of Mazraoui, with Alphonso Davies picking himself on the left flank. And Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt should pair up at the heart of the Bayern Munich defence against RB Leipzig on Friday.
Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich pick themselves in the double pivot in the middle of the park. So former RB Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer should be on the bench on Friday. Meanwhile, Jamal Musiala will be the most advanced midfielder for Bayern Munich.
The teenage prodigy will dictate play from an advanced position while looking to make late runs into the box. Finally, Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry should be the two wide men, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting spearheading the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ulreich; Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt, Davies; Goretzka, Kimmich; Gnabry, Musiala, Sane; Choupo-Moting
- RB Leipzig have won just one of their 12 Bundesliga games against Bayern Munich and remain winless (D4 L4) in eight games against Die Roen in the top-flight since a 2-1 home win in March 2018 – a winless streak the Saxons had not previously had against any other team in the Bundesliga.
- Under Marco Rose, RB Leipzig have picked up 23 points in 10 games – a league best in this period along with opponent Bayern Munich. Among all current Bundesliga coaches, only Rose and Mainz coach Bo Svensson have celebrated two league victories against Bayern.
- RB Leipzig have won the most home points in the Bundesliga this season (19 points), while Bayern Munich have clinched the highest on the road (17 points). The Saxons have won eight home games in all competitions in a row. With a ninth, they will equal their club record in professional soccer (fall 2020 under Julian Nagelsmann).
- Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig are the two teams with the most possession this Bundesliga season (66% and 58%) and the best passing rates (87% and 84%). The visitors also have the most sequences of at least ten passes this term (248), while the hosts have the second most (205).
- In 22 competitive games this season, Jamal Musiala has been directly involved in 21 goals (12 goals, nine assists). That is already as many goal involvements as in his first 78 competitive games for Bayern combined. With 15 goal involvements (nine goals, six assists), Musiala has been directly involved in the most Bundesliga goals this term.
Player to Watch
Gvardiol has arguably been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga in the last twelve months. But his stock has skyrocketed since a splendid campaign at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Manchester City are among those interested in the 20-year-old.
The Croat is not going anywhere this month and remains focused on the job at hand with RB Leipzig. And he will be eager to see the hosts continue their brilliant run before the World Cup break. But Gvardiol needs to be at his formidable best to keep Bayern Munich quiet on Friday.
RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich
RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich were the two most in-form teams in the Bundesliga before the World Cup break. And there is a real danger that the two-month hiatus might have snapped the two clubs’ momentum.
Meanwhile, RB Leipzig will start the game at a disadvantage due to Christopher Nkunku’s absence. But Dominik Szoboszlai tends to reserve his best for the biggest games and should make the difference. In addition, Josko Gvardiol will combine with Willi Orban to neutralise Bayern Munich.
The visitors will have to slog it out to get something out of the game, and Kingsley Coman might make the difference. But in the end, there might not be much to separate the two teams. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich on Friday.
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