When Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich travel to RB Leipzig on Saturday, the German champions will look for swift revenge against a side which has already blown them 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 them the title last season were set to continue. Seven matches later, while Bayern are 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 they lost four first-team players including Dominik Szoboszlai, Konrad Laimer, Josko Gvardiol and top-scorer Christopher Nkunku, have 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 come 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 their 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 have not missed the Spain forward up front, scoring 10 goals in four games during his absence.
Bayern have injury problems of their 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 boast the Bundesliga’s best forward line.
One to watch: Marco Reus
One of Borussia Dortmund’s best players for a decade, Marco Reus’ star dipped slightly to close last season, with the forward often starting from the bench.
After a close season in which he gave up the Dortmund captaincy, Reus has bounced back this term, scoring crucial goals in his past two league matches.
“We have always emphasised how important Marco is for us,” said manager Edin Terzic on Thursday. “He seized his chance in an impressive fashion last week.”
“Marco is on a really good run. Through good appearances of the bench, he’s earned the right to start.”
3: Eintracht Frankfurt have conceded a league-low three goals this season.
4: Despite their miserly defence, undefeated Frankfurt have scored just four times — equal lowest with the winless Bochum, Cologne and Mainz.
10: Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy has 10 goals from five league games this season. Last year’s top-scorer title was shared between Niclas Fuellkrug and Nkunku, who each had 16 goals after the 34-game season.
Fixtures (1330 GMT unless stated)
Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund (1830)
Cologne v Stuttgart, Heidenheim v Union Berlin, Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bochum v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Mainz v Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich (1630)
Darmstadt v Werder Bremen, Freiburg v Augsburg (1530)
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