RB Leipzig will look to avoid a third straight winless game and keep pace with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich when they host in-form Union Berlin on Wednesday at 7.30pm (UK time).
Julian Nagelsmann’s men are currently third and hot on the heels of perennial champions Bayern, but two games on the trot without a win has kept the club very much in the shadow of FCB’s contrails and desperate for points against a Union Berlin side unbeaten in six.
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Where to watch RB Leipzig vs Union Berlin on TV:
- UK: BT Sport Extra 2
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: RB Leipzig 2-2 Union Berlin
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RB Leipzig vs Union Berlin build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
The Red Bulls were riding the crest of a wave just before the winter break but have started the Ruckrunde (second half of the season) in uncharacteristically inconsistent form, collecting a win, a draw and a loss in 2021, opening a four-point gap between themselves and Bayern.
An identical points margin also separates the Berlin-based club in sixth and RB Leipzig in third, underpinning the exceptional work Urs Fischer has done in the capital on a shoestring budget compared to the club’s heavyweight counterparts, spending just over £1m in the summer.
The Iron Ones have been bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in recent games and are currently enjoying a six-game unbeaten streak, with that purple patch including a draw against Bayern as well as wins over Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, proving they are far from flat-track bullies this term.
- RB Leipzig (vs Wolfsburg): Gulacsi; Orban, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Mukiele, Kampl, Sabitzer, Angelino; Olmo, Haidara; Forsberg.
- Union Berlin (vs Bayer Leverkusen): Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Hubner; Trimmel, Promel, Ingvartsen, Andrich, Lenz; Becker, Awoniyi.
Ibrahima Konate, Benjamin Henrichs and Konrad Laimer are all currently in the physio room for the hosts, while the much-anticipated wait for Dominik Szoboszlai’s debut will stretch on, with the Hungarian currently nursing a groin injury. The visitors meanwhile will travel to Saxony without star forward Max Kruse, Anthony Ujah and Joel Pohjanpalo. Sheraldo Becker, Florian Hubner and Grischa Promel are doubts.
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Players to watch:
- RB Leipzig: If Nagelsmann is to stop the rot and choreograph a return to winning ways then he will need his most reliable players to come to the fore and in Marcel Sabitzer, he has a multifunctional midfielder capable of dictating the outcome of games, particularly this fixture. The Austria international has had a hand in six of RB Leipzig’s seven Bundesliga goals against Union Berlin (two goals, four assists) and will be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on the club once more. Arguably the nexus of Nagelsmann’s side, Sabitzer’s form will be key in midweek if the Red Bulls are to maintain their unbeaten home record against the Berliners.
- Union Berlin: It was a blow losing Kruse in the aftermath of the club’s 3-1 loss in the Berlin derby at the start of December, but in the proceeding six games the capital club have responded in exceptional fashion and coped well without the experienced forward. One player who has really stepped up in that time is Liverpool loanee Taiwo Awoniyi. Since Kruse has been out of the side, the 23-year-old has netted three goals and registered an assist, including the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Dortmund. This is Awoniyi’s seventh different loan spell away from Anfield but his time at Liverpool appears to be running out, due to complications with his work permit. But, if he continues to impress as he has been at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei then he will certainly catch the eyes of many potential suitors..
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- RB Leipzig: DLWDW
- Union Berlin: WDWWD
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