Chasing a place in the Champions League, RB Leipzig travel to Hoffenheim’s Rhein-Neckar-Arena in search of all three points to consolidate their third-place sitting and put the squeeze on Borussia Dortmund. We preview the action and give our Bundesliga tips for Friday’s match.
A win would put Julian Naglesmann’s side within one point of second place, but Hoffenheim still have aspirations of a place in Europe although go into the game managerless having sacked manager Alfred Schreuder.
Still in pursuit of the final European place, the home side lie only two points behind Wolfsburg in the race for sixth and a win could certainly put the pressure on with Wolfsburg due to play eighth-placed Freiburg on Saturday.
Baptism of fire for caretaker manager!
It could be a tough day for caretaker manager Marcel Rapp who faces a team that is unbeaten since the recommencement of the Bundesliga although its perhaps fair to say Leipzig haven’t been at the top of their game despite that statistic having dropped points to Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and Paderborn in recent weeks.
However the home side come into the contest in decent heart, putting their defeat to Hertha Berlin when the Bundesliga returned behind them to register two wins and two draws although the fixture list has perhaps been kind to them up until this point.
The visitors will be keen to halt the arrest which has seen them throw away valuable points in the search for a Champions League place and manager Julian Naglesmann will know his young side can’t afford many more slip-ups as he takes his team back to his former stomping ground with eyes on all three points.
It is perhaps worth noting that RB Leipzig’s dropped points have all come at home; but they have been lethal on their travels with convincing wide margin wins over Mainz and Koln, finding the back of the net nine times across those two fixtures.
Hoffenheim’s defence will likely face a torrid time with the rear-guard failing to keep a clean sheet since January, and with RB Leipzig’s attacking menace it is hard to see them shutting out the visitors here. However, they do know how to score goals at home and RB Leipzig have similarly had some defensive problems of their own where they have only kept the opposing team from scoring in one of their last five matches.
This could be a goal-heavy affair with both sides likely to find the back of the net so a both teams to score play looks a solid option.
The home side have also seen a player sent off in two of their last four matches; while it is a similar story for the visitors with two players having received their marching orders. With a good deal at stake for both teams we can expect some fireworks on the park and a red-card in the match wouldn’t surprise.
BUNDESLIGA TIPS: MATCH VERDICT
Given their form away from home RB Leipzig could hold too much firepower for the home side’s leaky defence to counter and should collect the three points to solidify their third place in the table and an automatic Champions League berth.
They won’t have it all their own way however and Hoffenheim have a knack of scoring at home so expect this to be a high scoring affair with both teams finding the net. For an added interest a red card in the match is worth a speculative wager.
Bet 1: RB Leipzig to win, both teams to score, over 3 match goals
Bet 2: A red card in the match