When Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich travels to RB Leipzig on Saturday, the German champion will look for swift revenge against a side that has already blown it away this season.
Leipzig’s 3-0 win in Munich in the Super Cup in August, headlined by a hat-trick from Dani Olmo, overshadowed Kane’s debut and left many wondering if Bayern’s wobbles which almost cost it the title last season were set to continue.
Seven matches later, while Bayern is since unbeaten and Kane has eight goals, Thomas Tuchel’s side have been shaky against better teams.
Bayern needed a late goal to beat bogey side Borussia Moenchengladbach, twice gave up a lead to draw with Xabi Alonso’s impressive Bayer Leverkusen and almost gave away victory against Manchester United after conceding two late Casemiro goals in the Champions League.
Leipzig, despite a tumultuous off-season where it lost four first-team players including Dominik Szoboszlai, Konrad Laimer, Josko Gvardiol and top-scorer Christopher Nkunku, has won seven of eight this year in all competitions.
Marco Rose’s new additions have slotted in seamlessly, particularly Xavi Simons, who has three goals and four assists in five league matches.
Leipzig comes into the match on a rare streak against the German champions.
The Saxons have won their past two matches against Bayern, both away, having won only once in the 16 previous clashes between the two since Leipzig’s promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016.
“We are always ready,” Rose said of Bayern on Wednesday after Leipzig’s 3-2 German Cup win at second-division Wiesbaden, “when they come, we are there.”
“We know that we need a top performance. We showed it twice in Munich. Why not at home with our fans?”
Bayern also won its midweek German Cup fixture, defeating third-division Preussen Muenster 4-0 away. Rose said although his German Cup holders had “the more strenuous game” than Bayern, “you have to win these games - it gives us energy.”
“We’re not complaining.”
While Olmo will not be back from injury in time to face Bayern, Leipzig has not missed the Spain forward up front, scoring 10 goals in four games during his absence.
Bayern has injury problems of its own, particularly in defence.
Tuchel was forced to play midfielder Leon Goretzka and wing-back Noussair Mazraoui in central defence midweek, with injuries to first-choice centre-backs Matthijs de Ligt, Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano.
Tuchel said on Tuesday “it will be a close-run thing”, explaining “we are trying to get them fit but we can’t guarantee it.”
Forward Serge Gnabry faces several weeks out after breaking his arm midweek in a collision with on-loan Bayern goalkeeper Johannes Schenk, although with Kane up front, Bayern still boasts the Bundesliga’s best forward line.
- India vs Germany Live Score, FIH Olympic Qualifiers Semifinal: IND one win from booking Paris ticket; Lineups out
- India vs Uzbekistan LIVE score, AFC Asian Cup 2023: IND v UZB lineups; Thapa, Mishra start, When, where to watch, Kick-off at 8 PM IST
- Australian Open 2024: Rybakina exits as Blinkova edges 42-point tiebreak
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Bengal aims to win maximum points against Chhattisgarh
- First unofficial Test: England Lions pins India A to mat despite Patidar’s quick 140