Bundesliga high-flyers RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will both be searching for a return to consistency when they lock horns on Saturday at 5:30pm (UK time).
The two teams are separated by just one place and three points in the table, with Leipzig in second and Leverkusen just behind in third.
How to live stream RB Leipzig vs Leverkusen online:
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Where to watch RB Leipzig vs Leverkusen on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: RB Leipzig 2-1 Leverkusen
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RB Leipzig vs Leverkusen build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Many were tipping Leipzig to finally overhaul Bayern Munich’s dominance of the German top-flight, however, since returning from the winter pause, Julian Nagelsmann’s side have managed just two wins from five games.
Their latest setback was a surprising and somewhat humiliating 3-2 loss to Mainz, giving the relegation-threatened strugglers just their second win of the season. Leipzig are still second, but now find themselves seven points adrift of Bayern, meaning nothing but a victory will be acceptable here.
The same could be said for Leverkusen, too, with Die Werkself capitulating in recent weeks. In a run which started with a 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in December — a game which Leverkusen led 1-0 — Peter Bosz’s side have picked up just one win from their last six Bundesliga games.
That victory did come against Dortmund, illustrating their ability to take on their fellow Bundesliga big-hitters, but that win is sandwiched between 1-0 defeats to Union Berlin and Wolfsburg, with Leverkusen desperately searching for some creativity in the final third.
- RB Leipzig (vs Mainz): Gulacsi; Orban, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Sabitzer; Adams, Tasende, Olmo, Haidara; Forsberg, Sorloth.
- Leverkusen (vs Wolfsburg): Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Amiri, Aranguiz, Wirtz; Diaby, Alario, Bailey.
New arrival Dominik Szoboszlai will not be fit to play until next month but Christopher Nkunku, Justin Kluivert and Nordi Mukiele could all return here. Konrad Laimer, Benjamin Henrichs and Ibrahima Konate are all out, while Lazar Samardzic, Hee-chan Hwang, Lukas Klostermann and Kevin Kampl are doubts.
Timothy Fosu Mensah is now available following his move from Manchester United, but Leverkusen have a long injury list which includes the likes of Exequiel Palacios, Julian Baumgartlinger and Paulinho. Patrik Schick and Karim Bellarabi are both close to a return to action.
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Players to watch:
- RB Leipzig: With just 17 goals conceded, Leipzig have the best defensive record in the Bundesliga so far this season and that is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Dayot Upamecano. The France international has been a brick wall at the back, making more clearances (42) and interceptions (23) than any other Leipzig player, while also ranking third for aerial duels won (33). Of course, Upamecano is also a superb ball-player, evidenced by his 112 long passes completed — at least 74 more than any other outfield player at Leipzig. His ability on both sides of the ball will be vital in helping his side restore some semblance of consistency.
- Leverkusen: Seeking to exploit any weaknesses in the Leipzig backline will be one of the Bundesliga’s most exciting young talents, Florian Wirtz. At just 17 years old, Wirtz has taken the German top-flight by storm, registering the highest number of assists (4) of any teenager in the competition and sitting only behind Matthew Hoppe (5) in terms of goals scored (3) by under-20s. Wirtz is a mesmeric dribbler of the ball, while his decision-making in possession belies his tender age, offering Leverkusen a truly dynamic and unpredictable option in the final third. Wirtz scored the winner against Dortmund in Leverkusen’s last victory and has netted three goals in his last six Bundesliga appearances, so don’t bet on him making the difference once again here.
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- RB Leipzig: LWDLW
- Leverkusen: LWLDL
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