Can "Die Rotenbullen" evade Bayern's wrath?
The circumstances for this one are so different from what we usually see between these two sides. RB Leipzig enter this game on a good form indeed, but the general feeling and the gap between them and their hosts for the week-end, Bayern Munich, simply makes this game seem unfairly unbalanced towards Bayern.
RB Leipzig - Finally they found the right direction (current position: 6th - 31pts)
Let's start by dissecting the guests for this one. RB Leipzig in this season, accumulatively, haven't been on par to their previous seasons under the current coach for their opponents, Julian Nagelsmann. Although Jesse March is a product of the Red Bull hierarchy, he did not bring the energy (pun very much intended) needed from him for "Die Rotten Bullen".
Nobody can really point out the true weakness in RB Leipzig this season. It can't be defense really since their joint 2nd strongest backline, alongside Freiburg with 23 goals conceded, and also can't be attack since there's only 4 sides that scored more than them including, predictably, Leverkusen who have Patrick Shick with 18 goals, Dortmund with Erling Haaland who scored 16 and Bayern with Lewandowski flying with 23 goals on top of the charts. However, they just feel off their previous standards by a mile.
The offensive stats for Leipzig individually at least might not be staggering, but they have some individual in-form players lead Christopher Nkunku with a very good 16 G/A tally.
Recently though, they came good and started racking up good results under Domenico Tadesco. In their last 6 they only lost once and gained 13 points, which is very encouraging for the new manager who just started with Leipzig about a month and a half ago. The good thing about RB Leipzig recently is their work ethic on the pitch, as they seem very active and intense, almost mirroring their glory days with Julian Nagelsmann.
Although the current personnel is very different, the crop of talent they have with the likes of Szoboszlai, Nkunku, Silva, Olmo etc. can really be a great core for the next few years.
Aside from Marcel Halstenberg, who is still a miss and Amadou Haidara who is a doubt just returning from AFCON but could play, Leipzig have no issues in their squad.
Bayern Munich - Auto pilot mode is on for the Bundesliga
No hot takes here, Bayern are winning the title for a 10th time this season. To be clear, it's not an easy feat to achieve for the "Farmers League" nay sayers out there. Thus, the UEFA Champions League is obviously the bigger fish for Bayern this season, as they were knocked out of the DFB Pokal. Julian Nagelsmann has done a tremendous job keeping the legacy of Flick alive, with some tweaks and changes to get the best out of players.
Bayern's strong point is unquestionably the attack, emphatically topping the charts with 65 goals scored. Lewandowski leads the chart of scorers with 23 goals, which is near 1/3 of Bayern goals. That is a double edge sword, as it illustrates the prolific nature of Lewandowski, but also can be interpreted as lack of creativity elswhere on the pitch. Although watching just about any Bayern game and seeing how the system works will immediately negate that thought. A big shoutout to Leroy Sane as well, who is having a terrific season so far after a mediocre first season last term.
Nagelsmann's touch this season seems to be that Bayern are more pragmatic, and still having ridiculous firepower throughout. While under Flick Bayern played a high octane, intense football, playing with a very high line, Nagelsmann is more than happy to have stretches where Bayern sit deep and decrease the tempo. Also, he is more prepared to change his style and setup regardless of fitness and squad situation. He tried various formations this campaign, like a 3-4-3 and a 4-1-4-1 and a 3-1-4-2. Honestly though, some of those setups were still forced by injuries and fitness issues.
The biggest weakness for Bayern, at least in my biased fan eyes, is the weakness of the bench and lack of depth. While the likes of Tolisso, Musiala, and Marc Roca done fine enough throughout the absence of Kimmich and Goretzka, they are still mostly unreliable under big pressure situation particularly in defensive duties. Sabitzer still hasn't impressed since his arrival, and defensive options lack serious harmony sometimes.
Bayern's form is undoubtfully brilliant, only losing to Gladbach in their last 8 games, and really seem to be kicking into that extra gear ahead of the business end of the season. Unluckily, Davies and Goretzka are still a long term miss reportedly, with Sarr and Choupo Moting still on AFCON duties with Senegal and Cameroon.
Bayern : Neuer - Pavard/Upamecano/Lucas Hernandez - Kimmich/Tolisso/Sane/Gnabry/Coman - Muller - Lewandowski
Leipzig : Gulasci - Orban/Klostermann/Gvardiol - Angelino/Laimer/Kampl/Mukiele - Olmo/Nkunku - Silva
This one will be a bit tough regardless of the gap on the table, or the 4-1 win for Bayern in the Red Bull Arena. I see a hard fought 3-1 win for Julian Nagelsmann's boys. Bonus prediction, a brace for Lewandowski, and two assists for Muller.
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