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Bayer Leverkusen vs. RB Leipzig: Predicted Lineups, Match Statistics, and Live Blog!
- Updated: August 17, 2023
Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen are set to face an early test of their ambitions for a top-four finish as they take on RB Leipzig, the conquerors of Bayern Munich, on Saturday (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST).
Anticipation is high for Leverkusen under Alonso’s guidance in his first full season as head coach. The Spanish tactician steered Die Werkself from a dire second-bottom position in October to a respectable sixth by the end of the 2022/23 season. The team even made it to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. Despite losing their top scorer, Moussa Diaby, to Newcastle United, Bayer’s recent form has been impressive. They cruised past West Ham United with a 4-0 win in their final pre-season friendly and then secured an 8-0 victory over Teutonia Ottensen in the DFB Cup first round. Noteworthy summer signings Victor Boniface and Jonas Hofmann showcased their abilities over the weekend, while Alex Grimaldo and Granit Xhaka, also new additions, made notable contributions from the start. However, on Matchday 1, Alonso will be compelled to make one alteration, as French attacker Amini Adli is suspended due to a league ban. Jonathan Tah might step in, possibly signaling a shift to a three-man defense. Absences of key players Piero Hincapie and Patrik Schick will be felt as well.
Leipzig arrives at the BayArena fresh from a resounding 3-0 victory over Bayern in the Supercup. Dani Olmo’s hat-trick in Munich marked a statement performance for Marco Rose’s team, following their third-place league finish and second consecutive DFB Cup triumph last season. Although some core players such as Josko Gvardiol, Konrad Laimer, Christopher Nkunku, and Dominik Szoboszlai departed during the summer transfer window, Leipzig’s shrewd recruitment strategy has seen them acquire a promising batch of young talents, including Lois Openda, Nicolas Seiwald, and Xavi Simons. No Bundesliga team has amassed more points than Die Roten Bullen since Rose took the helm last September, signaling their intention to compete for top honors once again in the 2023/24 season.
Alonso managed 26 Bundesliga matches last season, achieving 13 wins, 6 draws, and 7 losses.
Despite featuring in just 17 out of 34 Bundesliga fixtures in 2022/23, Florian Wirtz emerged as Leverkusen’s third-highest assist provider, contributing six assists.
Leverkusen concluded the previous Bundesliga campaign with a five-match winless streak (3 draws, 2 losses).
In the 2022/23 season, Timo Werner was Leipzig’s second-best scorer after Nkunku, notching nine Bundesliga goals.
Leverkusen and Leipzig were among the top scorers of counter-attacking goals last season, with Leverkusen netting 10 and Leipzig close behind with nine.
Had the league started on Matchday 6 of the 2022/23 season, Marco Rose’s Leipzig would have clinched the title with 61 points, narrowly edging out Bayern by one point.
By – Sahiba Suri