The Red Bull Arena plays host to a huge top of the table clash this Saturday in the Bundesliga, as second place RB Leipzig clash with third place 1899 Hoffenheim. With both clubs in the automatic Champions League group stage places, the result of the match could dictate who finishes there come the end of the season.
Hoffenheim are astonishingly undefeated this season in the league. However, they still find themselves eight points below Leipzig because many of their results have been draws.
Leipzig, on the other hand, have had a slightly patchy run of results recently, with them suffering two defeats in their last five games. This includes a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Bayern München just before the winter break.
Ones to watch:
RB Leipzig – Timo Werner
The 20-year-old striker has amassed an impressive ten goals this season and sees himself joint-fourth top scorer in the league with, as it happens, Hoffenheim’s own gem, Sandro Wagner. Werner currently has managed to get an admirable 63% of his shots on target this season and has also managed to aid his team with two assists. His ability to control the ball and keen eye for goal could just tip the contest Leipzig’s way.
1899 Hoffenheim – Niklas Süle
Defender Niklas Süle will be the key player for Hoffenheim in trying to stop RB Leipzig. The 21-year-old is reportedly sought after by Bayern München and it is easy to see why with the defensive solidity he has gifted Hoffenheim. His pairing with his defensive partners Benjamin Hübner and Kevin Vogt have so far proved to be a winning combination, the likes of even Timo Werner will struggle against such a string trio.
The most likely outcome…
Hoffenheim may prefer to play just three at the back with a centre defensive midfielder in front in a solid trio. The team could play in a 3-1-4-2 formation which proved successful in their previous fixture, a 2-0 victory over Augsburg. In comparison, Leipzig may play a more familiar 4-4-2 formation with a likely strike force of the hotshot Werner alongside Danish strike partner Yussuf Poulsen who featured last week.
Even with Leipzig’s recent inconsistent run of results, I can see them narrowly scraping a win against a Hoffenheim side who, despite whatever happens on Saturday, have made a vastly positive change from last season.
The match kicks off at 14.30 this Saturday.
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