Bayern Munich is the runaway leader, but RB Leipzig and Dortmund both have a shot at finishing second in the league.

By 90Min
March 02, 2018

RB Leipzig welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening in what is a hotly-anticipated Bundesliga encounter. 

Both sides are looking to bounce back following disappointing results. Leipzig are hoping to return to winning ways following a 2-1 defeat to bottom club FC Koln, while Dortmund will want to put their frustrating 1-1 draw to FC Augsburg on Monday night behind them. 

As the race for a Champions League place gathers momentum, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Peter Stoger know the importance of a win a number of sides in contention for a top four finish come the end of the season.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the game on Saturday:


Classic Encounter

Handing a then Peter Bosz led Dortmund their first league defeat of the season, Leipzig's win over Dortmund in October was certainly a memorable one. 

The game started well for BVB, taking an early lead thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen gave Leipzig the lead at the break. 

It was soon 3-1 to the visitors minutes after the restart, courtesy of a Jean-Kevin Augustin penalty which saw Sokratis Papastathopoulos see red for the conceding of the penalty. Leipzig soon had a man sent off of their own in Stefan Ilsanker, before Aubameyang's penalty minutes later brought Dortmund back into the game. 

Bosz's side couldn't find a leveler late on, resigning him to his first league defeat and start what would be a dismal run of form domestically.


Key Battle

Dayot Upamecano vs Michy Batshuayi

Michy Batshuayi has been a revelation since signing for BVB on loan in January. The Belgium striker has five goals in six games in the league and Europa League already in his brief time at the Westfalenstadion, meaning Leipzig center back Dayot Upamecano will have to be alert to keep the Chelsea loanee in check. 

The 19-year-old's reputation has grown after a number of impressive performances, but will need another top display to nullify Batshuayi if Leipzig are to take anything from the game. Like most modern day center backs, Upamecano is a strong, athletic defender who will need to use all his physical attributes to get the better of a similarly stout and mobile Batshuayi. 

Batshuayi looks a different striker in Germany to the one we saw in England, coming alive in the penalty area, seemingly finding space in key areas. Upamecano will need to be alert for the full game and know where the former Marseille man is at all times, because he can't afford to give someone with the form that Batshuayi is in space in the penalty area. 


Team News

Hasenhuttl has to contend with a couple of absentees to contend with ahead of the game at the weekend.

The Austrian coach will be without left-back Marcel Halsetenberg (cruciate ligament) and Konrad Laimer (minor wound) while Naby Keita (hamstring) remains a doubt for the game on Saturday. 

Dortmund meanwhile have a far lengthier injury list to contend with, as Peter Stoger will be without five first team players for Saturday evening.

Sebastian Rode (stress fracture), Andriy Yarmolenko (foot), Erik Durm (ankle ligament), Shinji Kagawa (ankle) and Raphael Guerreiro (muscle) are all set to miss the game at the Red Bull Arena.

Potential RB Leipzig Starting Lineup: Gulacsi; Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano, Fernandes; Sabitzer, Kampl, Ilsanker, Bruma; Augustin, Werner

Potential Borussia Dortmund Starting Lineup: Burki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Schmelzer; Dahoud, Weigl; Pulisic, Gotze, Reus; Batshuayi


Prediction

Despite Leipzig's impressive feat to beat Napoli in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League, their league form of four defeats in six with one win in that time is a cause for concern for Hasehuttl. 

Dortmund meanwhile also reached the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League in dramatic circumstances against fellow Italian side Atalanta, while three wins and three draws in their last six Bundesliga games mark's Stoger's men as favorites ahead of the game.

In what should be an exciting and close game, Dortmund may just have enough to beat their hosts come the final whistle, although if their game earlier in the season is anything to go by, it certainly won't be a dull one. 

Prediction: RB Leipzig 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

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