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Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig, including team news and predicted lineups.

RB Leipzig will be looking to pick up from where they left off on their travels when they take on Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Bulls won their last four away games last season and went seven without defeat, but Leverkusen have been solid on home soil in 2020, winning six out of eight at BayArena.


Match preview

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann pictured on May 27, 2020© Reuters

Many wondered how Leipzig would cope after losing Patrick Schick and club-record goalscorer Timo Werner in the summer, especially on the back of a shortened summer break.

That question was pretty emphatically answered on the opening weekend as last term's Champions League semi-finalists made light work of Mainz 05 in a 3-1 home win.

Emil Forsberg opened the scoring from the penalty spot, while Yussuf Poulsen and Amadou Haidara were also on target as Leipzig hit the ground running.

The Red Bulls have now lost just one of their last 16 Bundesliga matches - 2-0 versus Borussia Dortmund towards the end of last season - and boast that impressive away return.

This trip to BayArena will be a difficult one for Nagelsmann's charges, however, as Leverkusen have only lost their first home match of a campaign once before.

Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz pictured in February 2019© Reuters

Die Werkself's 2020-21 campaign got off to a bit of a slow start last weekend, though, having been held to a goalless draw at Wolfsburg.

Like Nagelsmann, Peter Bosz is also having to cope with the loss of some key attackers, with Kevin Volland and Kai Havertz leaving for Monaco and Chelsea respectively.

Bayer did nab Schick from Roma during the summer, however, and there will be plenty of focus on him this weekend against the side he represented last season.

Going one better than last term's fifth-placed finish will be the aim for Bosz, but his side will have to improve on last week's showing if they are to achieve that.

This is not a fixture Leverkusen tend to do well in, either, winning just one of their last eight top-flight encounters with Leipzig - 4-1 at BayArena in April 2018.

In fact, Leverkusen have won none of their four Bundesliga home games against Leipzig - their worst-such record against any side in the division.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: D
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WD

RB Leipzig Bundesliga form: W
RB Leipzig form (all competitions): WW


Team News

Leon Bailey celebrates scoring for Bayern Leverkusen on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Schick, who was given a 30-minute runout from the bench last weekend but could not find a breakthrough goal, will be pushing for a start against his former side.

Should that be the case, Argentina international Lucas Alario will be the player to make way for the home side.

Leon Bailey is another who could return to the starting lineup this weekend, while Nadiem Amiri and Jonathan Tah and Wendell are also in Bosz's thoughts.

As for Leipzig, they secured the services of Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth earlier this week and could hand him his Bundesliga debut at BayArena.

Benjamin Henrichs and Hwang Hee-chan, another who joined this summer, may earn recalls to the starting XI after being introduced from the bench last time out.

Poulsen and Forsberg have each scored three Bundesliga goals against Leverkusen, which is more than any other players in this fixture.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; L.Bender, S.Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Wirtz, Aranguiz, Demirbay; Bellarabi, Schick, Diaby

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Haidara, Sabitzer, Kampl, Angelino; Olmo, Forsberg; Poulsen


SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 RB Leipzig

Both teams are having to cope with the loss of key men. Leipzig hit the ground running with a routine home win on the opening weekend, whereas Leverkusen were held by Wolfsburg, and we can see the visitors prevailing in this one.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that both teams will score (BTTS - yes) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.BTTS Yes:data

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Kai Havertz during Leverkusen training on August 5, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern13101242132931
2Borussia DortmundDortmund13100333191430
3Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen1373328181024
4Freiburg136431913622
5Hoffenheim136252720720
6Union BerlinUnion Berlin135532019120
7Wolfsburg136251517-220
8RB Leipzig135352416818
9Mainz 05135351714318
10FC Koln134632222018
11Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach135351818018
12Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt134631617-118
13VfL BochumVfL Bochum135171220-816
14Hertha Berlin134271327-1414
15Stuttgart133461823-513
16Augsburg133461222-1013
17Arminia Bielefeld13166919-109
18Greuther Furth1301121139-281

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