RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund: Preview and Prediction

The battle for the top four in the Bundesliga will reach its critical phase when RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund clash at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

The 2023/24 Bundesliga title race might be over. But other battles are still alive, with the race to finish fourth going down the wire. Things can come to a head on Saturday when RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund lock horns at the Red Bull Arena.

RB Leipzig began the 2023/24 season with a bang, handsomely beating Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup. However, they have blown hot and cold since then, trading the fourth spot on the Bundesliga table with Borussia Dortmund while bowing out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 and the DFB Pokal in the Second Round.

As for Borussia Dortmund, they have enjoyed much success in the Champions League, reaching the semi-finals last week by beating Atletico Madrid in a pulsating tie. However, the Black and Yellows have played catch-up for much of their Bundesliga campaign and come into this game fifth in the standings. So, Edin Terzic and his charges cannot afford any more slip-ups.

The reverse fixture saw RB Leipzig come from a goal down to beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2, with Yussuf Poulsen scoring the match-winning goal and Mats Hummels seeing red. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

RB Leipzig

Marco Rose does not have any concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against his former club, Borussia Dortmund, the RB Leipzig manager will have a full-strength squad.

Peter Gulacsi should get the nod over Janis Blaswich in the goal, with RB Leipzig lining up in a 4-2-2-2 formation in front of him against Borussia Dortmund. The backline should feature Benjamin Henrichs, Willi Orban, Castello Lukeba, and David Raum.

As for the midfield unit, Amadou Haidara and Xaver Schlager should pair up in the double pivot. The duo will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park while initiating quick transitions to catch their Borussia Dortmund counterparts off-guard.

Dani Olmo and Xavi Simons will run the show from the advanced areas, with the duo possessing the ability to break the lines and find their teammate high up the pitch. Finally, Lois Openda and Benjamin Sesko should be the two strikers for the home side.

Probable Lineup (4-2-2-2): Gulacsi; Henrichs, Orban, Lukeba, Raum; Haidara, Schlager; Olmo, Xavi Simons; Openda, Sesko

Borussia Dortmund

Unlike his counterpart in the RB Leipzig dugout, Edin Terzic has a new roster issue to deal with ahead of the trip to the Red Bull Arena. The Borussia Dortmund manager will be without four first-team players on Saturday.

Emre Can is the latest absentee, with the Borussia Dortmund captain serving a suspension after picking up a milestone booking last weekend. Ian Maatsen has also met that fate after receiving a yellow card against Bayer Leverkusen. The duo has joined Ramy Bensebaini (knee) and Sebastien Haller (ankle) on the sidelines.

Borussia Dortmund will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against RB Leipzig, with Gregor Kobel, who will don the armband in Can’s absence, taking his spot between the sticks. Marius Wolf, Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck, and Julian Ryerson should form the backline.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Marcel Sabitzer and Salih Ozcan in the double pivot in the middle of the park. Julian Brandt will reprise the no. 10  role, with Jadon Sancho and Karim Adeyemi being the two wide attackers. Finally, Niclas Fullkrug should lead the line for Dortmund against Leipzig.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Wolf, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Ryerson; Sabitzer, Ozcan; Sancho, Brandt, Adeyemi; Fullkrug 

Key Stats

  • Since the start of the 2021/22 season, RB Leipzig have won five of their six matches in all competitions against Borussia Dortmund (L1). They have not beaten any team more often than BVB during this period.
  • RB Leipzig are on an eight-game unbeaten streak, their longes run this season (W6 D2).
  • On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund have won only two of their last five matches in all competitions (D1 L2), having been on a five-game winning run before this period.
  • Borussia Dortmund’s 57 points after 30 games thus far this season is the club’s worst record at this stage of a campaign since 2020/21 (52). On the other hand, RB Leipzig (59) have their best tally since the same term (61).
  • Borussia Dortmund are on a ten-game unbeaten run in away games in the Bundesliga (W6 D4). Only once have they gone on a longer streak without suffering a defeat on the road: 15, between September 2011 and September 2012.

Player to Watch

Jadon Sancho

Embed from Getty Images

With both teams boasting many game-changers, we considered several candidates for this section, including Xavi Simons, Dani Olmo, Lois Openda, and the in-form Marcel Sabitzer. However, Jadon Sancho takes the cake.

The Englishman has been a solid addition to the Borussia Dortmund squad since arriving from Manchester United this past winter. However, Sancho’s future ahead of the summer transfer window is uncertain due to Dortmund’s reluctance to pay Manchester United’s price.

So, top-class performances can help him convince others to meet the valuation, with a game-changing display against RB Leipzig likely to help his cause. We should thus see a purposeful display from the 24-year-old attacker.


RB Leipzig 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig have intriguing records this season. The Black and Yellows have spent more time in the lead in away Bundesliga games this term than any other team (633 minutes), while their hosts have the same record for home outings (741). In addition, the visitors are currently on a ten-match unbeaten run.

So, something has to give for a team to clinch three points at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday. However, before that happens, we might witness another engrossing affair between the two top-four contenders. RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund will trade blows for most of the game before a Xavi Simons special ends the tie. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Marco Rose over his former club.

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