Title challengers meet once more when RB Leipzig host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night, with the hosts out for revenge. - © DFL
Title challengers meet once more when RB Leipzig host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night, with the hosts out for revenge. - © DFL
bundesliga

How do RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund compare?

Stock up on your popcorn and snacks ahead of Saturday evening, with entertainment guaranteed as second-placed RB Leipzig host fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund in one of the most hotly anticipated fixtures on the Bundesliga calendar.

bundesliga.com takes a closer look at how the two sides compare ahead of the Matchday 15 showdown at the Red Bull Arena.

Yussuf Poulsen vs. Erling Haaland

Leipzig's longest-serving player, at 26 Poulsen is already one of the oldest members of a youthful squad. Standing at 6'3" and weighing 185 pounds he is often wrongly reduced to being merely a big target man, able to shield the ball well and hold off defenders.

And while he can selflessly perform those tasks for the team – centre-back Willi Orban once described him as "a machine with or without the ball, he does an incredible amount of work for us" - there is plenty more to the Denmark international's game.

Watch: Poulsen's October Goal of the Month winner!

Poulsen has scored four and provided two assists in 12 league appearances so far this term, but it is the manner of his goals that is most telling.

On Matchday 1 he opened his account for the season with a technically superb cushioned header that looped over the goalkeeper in a victory over Mainz; on Matchday 4 he hit a Goal of the Season contender against Augsburg with a sensational left-footed volley into the top corner from the edge of the area; on Matchday 8 it was a clever delicate flick with the outside of the right boot against Eintracht Frankfurt; and on Matchday 12 a composed close-range volley against Hoffenheim.

In short, he can do just about everything. "Whenever someone said I couldn't, I wanted to show that I could," he told bundesliga.com last year. Dortmund will underestimate him at their peril.

There is little chance of Leipzig doing the same when it comes to Haaland. An astonishingly complete striker considering he is still just 20, the Norwegian has broken record after record in his year at BVB, including scoring 33 goals in his first 33 competitive games for the club.

Watch: Goal-hungry Haaland smashing records

This term he is second only to Robert Lewandowski in the scoring chart with 10 goals from just nine Bundesliga outings at a click of one every 73 minutes. The fact he failed to find the net in his last two games, against Cologne and Wolfsburg, means he is - by his standards - long overdue another one.

It is hard to look beyond Haaland's goals but he, like Poulsen, is about more than simply finding the net. "We're very happy that we've got Erling with us, he does us a lot of good beside scoring," said sporting director Michael Zorc. "He's got an unbending will to win and is obsessed with success."

There is no disguising that. Dortmund have an average of two points per game with Haaland in the side in 2020/21; without him it's 1.4.

Angelino vs. Raphael Guerreiro

As strange as it may seem given the above, but the outcome of the game could well be decided by one of these left-sided specialists. Angelino has been arguably Leipzig's best player this season - goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is the only first-team member to have played more minutes than the Spaniard in 2020/21.

The 24-year-old has started 13 of Leipzig's 14 league assignments so far, and despite ostensibly taking to the field as a left wing-back, he is the team's most dangerous attacking outlet with four goals and two assists already. Furthermore, only Dani Olmo has had more shots at goal than Angelino's 23, while he has attempted by far more crosses from open play (42) than any of his teammates.

Watch: Angelino vs. Guerreiro - wing-back analysis

He does all that without neglecting his defensive duties either: Angelino has won 52 per cent of all his challenges and commits only one foul per game on average.

The Leipzig No.3 has rightly earned widespread praise for his consistent high-level displays, but in terms of raw numbers, even he cannot match Guerreiro this season. Despite playing 368 Bundesliga minutes fewer (the equivalent to over four games), the Portugal international has already been directly involved in more goals, scoring two and setting up a further five.

The 27-year-old, once described by former BVB coach Thomas Tuchel as "far too good to be pinned down to one position", has played at left-back, a left winger and as a wing-back this term. His importance to the side is highlighted by the fact he has more touches of the ball than any of his teammates, averaging 105 per 90 minutes, completes 89 per cent of his passes, and is also dangerous from set-pieces.

Like Angelino, Guerreiro is solid at the back too, winning 53 per cent of his tackles, while he has only committed a foul only once every three matches on average this season.

Watch: Angelino - Analysis of Leipzig's high-flying wing-back

Dayot Upamecano vs. Mats Hummels

If attacks win matches and defences win championships, Leipzig are very much title contenders this season. With more clean sheets (seven) than any other side, including in each of their last four league outings, and the stingiest rearguard in the division with just nine conceded, Julian Nagelsmann's side build from the back in every sense.

Upamecano has been a key factor in those successes, having started 13 of Die Roten Bullen’s 14 top-flight assignments to date in 2020/21.

Quick, strong and good in the air, it is little wonder Upamecano was singled out by Robert Lewandowski as one of the best in the business last year. The France international, who made his Bundesliga debut against Dortmund on 4 February 2017, is also comfortable in possession, whether finding a teammate with accurate long balls forward or by dribbling out from the back.

Those are traits he shares with Hummels, arguably the Bundesliga's leading practitioner when it comes to quarter-backing from deep. Now 32, the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner is an experienced head marshalling an otherwise youthful Dortmund side including Haaland (20), Gio Reyna (18), Jadon Sancho (20), Jude Bellingham (17) and Youssoufa Moukoko (16).

Hummels has started all 14 of BVB's Bundesliga games this season, and 21 of a possible 22 in all competitions. He has won 166 tackles in the league this term, putting him inside the top 10 overall in that particular category, while his 72 aerial duels won is the third-best return of all players.

He is almost as good creatively as he is at breaking up opposition attacks, with his three goals this season forming part of Dortmund’s league-leading seven scored by defenders.

Watch: Hummels: Soccer's best quarterback

Dani Olmo vs. Gio Reyna

Despite joining Leipzig less than a year ago, the fact that Olmo is one of just two outfield players to feature in all 14 of the team's Bundesliga games so far tells you everything you need to know about his importance to the side - as does his presence in the senior Spain national team.

Nagelsmann described him as "the best player on the pitch" when La Roja defeated Germany 6-0 last year, a game in which he showcased his clever passing and movement to full effect.

With two goals, four assists and 31 shots in 874 minutes on the pitch so far this term, he is producing the goods at club level too and is invariably involved one way or another whenever Leipzig get on the scoresheet.

Still just 18, it is testament to Reyna's astonishing maturity and quality that he is now considered as much of a game-changer as far older and more experienced players.

Like Olmo, he is one of only three Dortmund players to have appeared in every Bundesliga match this season (alongside Hummels and Axel Witsel), keeping the likes of Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt, Mahmoud Dahoud and even Marco Reus on the bench.

He has three goals, four assists and, arguably even more importantly, an intuitive understanding with his close friend Haaland, a relationship that has already produced a number of goals this term. The USA international is by no means exclusively a flair player though; he also does the dirty work: Reyna has won 167 challenges so far this season, the seventh-highest tally across the entire league.

Watch: Reyna: like father and mother, like son

Emil Forsberg vs. Jadon Sancho

Another of Nagelsmann's go-to players, Forsberg has been used more sparingly this season, and although he has featured in every league game so far he has never played the full 90 minutes.

Nevertheless, he is always in the starting line-up for the big games, beginning against Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, and twice apiece against Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

The Swedish attacking midfielder has chipped in with three goals and two assists in the Bundesliga so far this campaign, his elusive movement between the lines and eye for a pass making him irreplaceable in the Leipzig team. "Emil is constantly on the move, he floats about a lot and is difficult to keep track of," praised Nagelsmann earlier this season. "He's just a very good footballer."

Sancho meanwhile, hasn't yet hit the heights of last season - when he recorded a remarkable 17 goals and 16 assists in the Bundesliga - but there are signs that he is getting back to his brilliant best. The 20-year-old set up Manuel Akanji's opener with a well-flighted corner in the Matchday 14 win over Wolfsburg, before sealing the points with a wonderful effort of his own in injury-time.

The England winger raced clear from halfway for the second goal of that game, showing sharp footwork to get past Paulo Otavio. The Wolfsburg player was left in a heap on the floor after being bamboozled by Sancho's skill, and the Dortmund star followed up with a cool finish past Koen Casteels.

It was Sancho's first Bundesliga goal of the season but already the 31st of his career - no player has reached that mark at a younger age. It was also the second competitive game in a row - following the DFB Cup victory at Eintracht Braunschweig before Christmas - in which he was directly involved in two goals.

Sancho's career record against Leipzig is promising too. In four career appearances against Saturday's opponents, he's registered one goal, two assists, three wins and one draw.

Watch: Sancho's goal and assist vs. Wolfsburg