Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig Preview
Amidst a captivating Bundesliga season, Friday night football has thrown a very intriguing fixture into this weekend’s calendar, as second place take on fourth place at Signal Iduna Park.
Kicking off at 19:30 (GMT), Borussia Dortmund will be looking to maintain their hot streak of form, while RB Leipzig boss Marco Rose will be aiming to complete a double over his former employers, in a taster for next month’s DFB-Pokal quarter-final.
Dortmund come into this one having won each of their nine matches in 2023 thus far. Things seem to have clicked for Edin Terzic’s men but they certainly face a tough test here.
RB Leipzig have lost just once in their last 22 matches across all competitions, winning 16 of those, with Marco Rose, who left BVB after just a season in the summer, seemingly building something promising at Red Bull Arena.
A tight game to call on paper, but who do the history books favour?
All seven of those wins came within their first 11 meetings, with Leipzig having won the last three since the 2021 Pokal final.
That game saw the Black and Yellows run out 4-1 winners, with braces for Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland sealing a first Pokal title in four years, in the final game of Terzic’s first stint in charge of his boyhood club.
Since then, the side from the east of Germany have certainly got their revenge; last season saw them complete a league double over Dortmund, thanks to a 2-1 win in Leipzig and a damaging 4-1 win in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Friday’s hosts had won six of their first seven matches this term when they met RB Leipzig in September, but a disjointed performance from an injury-stricken team led to another humbling 3-0 defeat.
Raphael Guerreiro, Thomas Meunier and Anthony Modeste came under criticism after that game, where goals from Willi Orban, Dominik Szoboszlai and Amadou Haidara secured three points for the visitors.
Things have changed since then.
How will the BVB XI look?
Borussia Dortmund may be in red hot form, but there has yet to be a reliable starting 11, which Edin Terzic has called upon, with his rotation policy proving to keep players on their toes when fighting for places.
One player who is almost a guarantee in the starting lineup, though, is Gregor Kobel, who is delivering week in week out in between the sticks for BVB currently.
Ahead of him, Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck should continue their strong partnership at the heart of the defence.
On the left of them is likely to be Raphael Guerreiro, while Marius Wolf is expected to keep his place on the right, though Julian Ryerson is back in contention.
Jude Bellingham will almost certainly take one of the midfield spots in black and yellow.
Emre Can is likely to line up alongside the Englishman, and due to the opposition, Salih Özcan may be required for his energy and physicality, but captain and club legend Marco Reus is hard to leave out.
With five direct goal contributions in his last five league matches, Julian Brandt will start on the right.
Karim Adeyemi is yet to return to full training after sustaining a hamstring injury in the club’s 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin two weeks ago.
In his absence, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens could keep his place on the left, though Giovanni Reyna will also be eyeing a start.
Donyell Malen was unfortunate to be dropped after his performance against Hertha; he may lead the line, while he could be utilised in Adeyemi’s left wing role.
However, Sébastien Haller’s physical presence and experience may be needed in such a big match.
Opposition in focus
As already mentioned, RB Leipzig are a very good side in very good form.
Since bringing in Marco Rose, a former RB Salzburg coach, their season has turned around; they’ve climbed the Bundesliga table to fourth place, within four points of league leaders Bayern Munich and BVB, while they also held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
Rose, who left Signal Iduna Park by mutual consent in the summer after a second place finish and early exits from both domestic and continental cup competitions, has implemented his pressing style on ‘die Roten Bullen’ with much success.
Croatia’s World Cup star Josko Gvardiol is enjoying a strong campaign alongside captain Willi Orban in defence.
Benjamin Henrichs and summer signing David Raum have been consistent in Leipzig’s full-back positions.
Amadou Haidara and Xaver Schlager have impressed in the midfield engine room, while they have several options in the offensive positions.
Dani Olmo and Emil Forsberg are very gifted footballers; they did well coming in for the injured Christopher Nkunku, Leipzig’s key man who is now back in contention to play. He has 12 goals in the league this season.
Dominik Szoboszlai has thrived under Rose and now has 18 direct goal contributions this year. Timo Werner has also excelled on his return to the RB Arena, with 17 G/A for the term. The pair have been helping to support Andre Silva up front, who has nine goals and nine assists in all competitions.
Just four points separate Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig – two of the most in-form teams in Germany at the moment.
A draw does either side no real favours; it would see Dortmund keep tabs on Bayern Munich at the top, but a 10th consecutive win would be far more effective in keeping the pressure on the Bavarians.
As for Leipzig, they’re just four points from the top; a win may propel them into the title race and they need one too, in order to maintain their Champions League position, with Freiburg a point behind, right on their tails.
On paper, ’die Roten Bullen’ are perhaps, with BVB, the strongest team in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich.
For both sides, a win would be huge, not only for league position, but for mentality too.
Knowing that they’ve beaten a rival is massive for confidence and could help either side prolong their spell of form.
Particularly for the Black and Yellows, having suffered against Leipzig in the past few meetings, a win would send a serious statement to Bayern, that they are serious title contenders.
Given what’s at stake and the quality of both sides, this one should be very tense and evening kick-offs can also tend to be more entertaining.
With the feel-good factor currently at Dortmund, the yellow wall will be right behind them as always, and the team will need them, if they’re to get the three points here.