[ClevPicks Prediction]: Leipzig vs. Dortmund: Battle Between Runners-up?
RB Leipzig's Timo Werner (l.) can expect to have Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham (r.) snapping at his heels on Matchday 6.
When RB Leipzig plays Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, there are numerous subplots, including those involving Timo Werner, Marco Rose, and Jude Bellingham (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST).
The past week in Leipzig has been challenging. Domenico Tedesco was fired after losses to Eintracht Frankfurt (4-0) and Shakhtar Donetsk (4-1), and former Dortmund head coach Marco Rose was named in his place within a day. For the Leipzig native, who also has matches against Real Madrid, the current UEFA Champions League champions, and Borussia Mönchengladbach to traverse before the September international break, it's straight into the deep end. He takes over a Leipzig squad that is hovering around mid-table with five points after the same number of Bundesliga games. Werner has scored just once in four league games since returning from Chelsea, while Christopher Nkunku leads the team with four goals and four points. Benjamin Henrichs and David Raum, two wingbacks, are anticipated to start as the team switches back to a 3-4-1-2 configuration. Dani Olmo will be out for at least a month with a knee ligament injury sustained in Frankfurt, thus Dominik Szoboszlai will be hoping to keep his spot as the No. 10 player.
Under Rose, Dortmund came in second place last year, eight points behind Bayern Munich. They have the same number of points as surprise leaders Freiburg heading into the weekend and have one more than the defending champions. The team led by Edin Terzic has won four out of its last five league games, most recently defeating Hoffenheim 1-0. On Matchday 5, Marco Reus scored, and he did it again during BVB's 3-0 victory over Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League the following week. Bellingham added the last goal, giving him 12 goals overall in 97 games for the team. Raphael Guerreiro, a left back who had missed the Hoffenheim match due to an injury, scored the other goal, and Gio Reyna, who came on for the injured Thorgan Hazard in the 23rd minute, contributed two assists. After a season marred by injuries, the US international is expected to receive his first start of the new season. Marius Wolf and Mats Hummels are also expected to return. With Gregor Kobel out due to injury, Alexander Meyer, 31, is ready to make his Bundesliga debut after keeping his first clean sheet against Shakhtar.
Nkunku has faced Leipzig four times in the Bundesliga and has two goals and three assists each time. Everybody fell last year.
Leipzig has scored nine goals in the Bundesliga after five matchdays, which is a record.
Although the Roten Bullen have lost six of their last twelve encounters with Dortmund, they defeated Rose's squad twice last year.
In five Bundesliga games, Reus has two goals and an equal number of assists, making him Dortmund's top goal threat for 2022–23.
Dortmund has the second-best defense in the league, after Bayern (three goals surrendered), and has kept three clean sheets, which they share with Freiburg. They needed 22 games in the previous season to compile three shutouts.
However, BVB's eight goals are their fewest at this point in the season in eight years.
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) - Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol - Henrichs, Laimer, Kampl, Raum - Szoboszlai - Nkunku, Werner
Out: Klostermann (ankle), Olmo (knee), Poulsen (thigh)
Coach: Marco Rose
Dortmund: Meyer - Wolf, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro - Bellingham, Özcan - Brandt, Reus (c), Reyna - Modeste
Out: Bynoe-Gittens (shoulder), Dahoud (shoulder), Haller (testicular cancer), Hazard (hamstring), Kobel (muscular), Morey (knee)
Doubtful: Adeyemi (foot), Malen (muscular)
Coach: Edin Terzic
With Leipzig players undoubtedly eager to win over their new manager, Dortmund's injuries may make this match tighter than anticipated.
We should expect goals and a possible split of the spoils, with Terzic and Rose's past experiences at Dortmund possibly giving them an advantage.
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