The opponents: RB Leipzig
“If we don’t win or draw, the season isn’t over, but the title race is,” said RB head coach Julian Nagelsmann on Friday, underlining how important the match is for his team. Leipzig struggled to a 1-0 win in Bielefeld before the international break despite dominating the encounter and remain unbeaten in eight straight league games (seven wins, one draw). However, like Bayern, while preparing for the weekend the team currently lying in second place also had to contend with numerous players being away on international duty. “Many of my players don’t get back into training until Friday. That’s why the preparation in terms of content wasn’t that great this week. But we’re not nervous. After all, Bayern are in a similar situation,” added Nagelsmann.
Team news for Leipzig vs. Bayern
The news of Robert Lewandowski’s absence (ligament strain in his right knee) dampened the anticipation somewhat for the top match. “I feel sorry for the player,” said Flick, who wasn’t ready to reveal how he’ll adjust his line-up. “We’ll have to see how we solve it, and we have players who can play in that position. It’s a challenge for us all and we’ll face it.” The 56-year-old head coach will also have to do without the suspended Alphonso Davies and Jérôme Boateng as well as long-term absentee Corentin Tolisso (ruptured tendon). Instead, Niklas Süle, who had to return from international duty early with muscular problems, is fit to play. Goalkeeper Ron-Thorben Hoffmann (knee injury) was able to resume training with the ball during the week.
Lucas Hernández was guaranteed a game by Flick on Friday. The 2018 World Cup winner has played in twelve matches this season, winning ten of them and drawing two.
Nagelsmann will be without defenders Angeliño (muscular problems) and Marcel Halstenberg (Self-isolating after a positive COVID-19 test). Kevin Kampl is also suspended due to picking up a fifth yellow card. Konrad Laimer is not yet fit enough to play against FCB. Future Bayern player Dayot Upamecano, however, will be available after recovering from a muscle injury.
Team news, tactics and more: You can watch Hansi Flick’s pre-match press conference before the game at Leipzig (with English translation) here:
What the coaches say
Hansi Flick: “The crucial thing is to go into the game with the right attitude. We have players who have often shown their worth in matches like these. In a game like this, of course, a little bit of luck is always important. (…) We have to be proactive when out of possession. Leipzig have very quick players. At this level, it’s important that every player is at his best.”
Julian Nagelesmann (RB Leipzig head coach): “Basically, Bayern can handle these games extremely well and show their opponents their limits. We have to be bold and do one or two things better, especially when it comes to taking our chances. Even without Lewandowski, FCB will still travel to Leipzig with a world-class team. It’s extremely difficult to defend against them and get through their lines – even though two important defensive men, Jérôme Boateng and Alphonso Davies, will be missing.”
If you want to know more about the game against Leipzig, check out our facts and stats: