Preview: FC Bayern München v RB Leipzig

FC Bayern München can end the year in pole position on the Bundesliga standings, but need to beat new boys RB Leipzig in Wednesday’s top of the table clash.

Bundesliga
21/22 December 2016
Match Day 16
Kick-off: 03H00 HKT
Venue: Allianz Arena
Referee: F. Zwayer

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
FC Bayern München 0 0 0 0
RB Leipzig 0 0 0 0

Previous encounter:

None

Players to watch:

Robert Lewandowski’s contribution to Bayern’s cause this season cannot be understated. The 28-year-old Polish striker has scored 19 goals in 23 games in all competitions this season, that includes 11 in 15 Bundesliga matches.

Lewandowski has found the back of the net five times in the last four games, although it was Douglas Costa who scored the all-important goal against Darmstadt in their most recent win. But with his penchant for the big games, it would take a brave man to bet against Lewandowski in this clash for supremacy.

It is safe to say that Timo Werner is enjoying his season with Leipzig, having notched up nine goals in 15 appearances this season.

The German under-21 international has six in the last six, but his penchant for hard work and ability to bring out the best in his teammates, makes him someone the Bayern defence will need to keep two close eyes on.

Team form and manager quotes:

Both Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and the league’s surprise package RB Leipzig come into this clash with eerily similar from.

While Bayern currently occupy top-spot on the standings, it is merely by goal-difference, with Carlo Ancelotti and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s sides winning 11, drawing three and losing one of their opening 15 matches.

And while Leipzig have scored 31 compared to Bayern’s 35 goals, the young club have conceded 12 goals compared to nine for the Bavarians.

Bayern, on a run of four successive league wins, come into this game after defeating Darmstadt 98 1-0 on Sunday as Leipzig ran out 2-0 victors over Hertha BSC.

Ahead of this game, Ancelotti said: “We know Leipzig’s character. They play together, they play fast. We have to play our game and be focused.

“We will not change much. Our aim is to win the game and for that we need the right balance between our own lines.”

Meanwhile, a confident Hasenhuttl says his side will be aiming for all three points.

“Ralf [Rangnick, RB Leipzig director of sports] said weeks ago that everything is possible,” Hasenhuttl said.

“I think it’s a little bit more difficult in Germany because we play a sensational season. We have one loss and three draws and have the same points as Bayern, 10 points ahead of Dortmund, 20 points ahead of teams who still play Champions League.

“If you want to be in front of Bayern, you have to play a perfect season. The good thing is that we don’t have to measure us with them.

“We had a game last weekend which was more important when you look on the table. We won against third and now have a nine-point lead.

“Therefore the game on Wednesday is a bonus game for us and we can see what is missing. We want to see how far we are in our development and that is the exciting thing.

“The game won’t change our strategy in the second leg of the season.”

Team news:

Bayern will need to continue to make do without Jerome Boateng for at least another six weeks after the defender underwent surgery for a damaged pectoral muscle tendon.

Bayern chief medic Dr. Volker Braun said: “The operation went very well. If there are no problems with the healing process, Jerome Boateng will be unavailable for approximately six weeks.”

Arjen Robben is expected to return to the side after being rested on Sunday with a minor knock. Captain Philipp Lahm is, however, unlikely to return from his minor injury sustained in the warm-up ahead of facing Darmstadt.

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