- © DFL
- © DFL

RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich: how do they stack up?


RB Leipzig welcome champions Bayern Munich to their Red Bull Arena next Saturday. How do the two title contenders match up?

The Matchday 6 meeting between the teams figures to be an early marker for the season. Win, and Leipzig will go top. Lose, and they will find themselves trailing Bayern by four points.

Leipzig have recent history on their side, going undefeated against Sunday's visitors last season before beating them 3-0 in the season-opening Supercup, but Bayern have nonetheless won 10 of their 18 meetings to date.

Watch: Highlights of the 5-4 thriller between the teams in 2017!

bundesliga.com looks at how the saxony upstarts and the Bavarian juggernaut compare…

Key men: Harry Kane vs. Xavi Simons

Both sides have looked well-oiled machines so far this season, Leipzig with eight different scorers across their five game and Bayern with six, but despite the spread of goals, two key players have emerged for the sides in Xavi and Kane respectively.

Both arrived in the Bundesliga this summer, Xavi on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, Kane in a record transfer from Tottenham Hotspur. Xavi might not have been expected to be Leipzig's most potent attacking force, but it is he who is running England's record scorer closest at the top of the goal charts.

Xavi Simons has seven goal-involvements from five Bundesliga games for RB Leipzig. - JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi wasn't technically given the assist for Timo Werner's winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday - his pass hit a defender on the way through - but he has still racked up three goals and four provisions for a hand in a goal every 56 minutes he has played.

"I enjoy working with the boys and the staff every day, and after just a short time, I feel very much at home here," he said recently. "That's the most important part because I had little time to adjust. But I feel good, and I know what I can do."

Watch: Kane under the tactical microscope

Kane grabbed a hat-trick as Bayern thrashed Bochum 7-0 on Saturday, and also teed up Leroy Sané and Mathys Tel for two more of the goals. His goal-involvement stands at one every 44 minutes.

Xavi's average position is broadly right-midfield so far this season, Kane's is around the box as might be expected. They attack the game from different angles, but there is little question Xavi and Kane are the two players their opponents will be most worried about on Sunday.

The supporting cast: Sané, Openda et al

That's not to say either team is a one-man show, and if Leipzig get too fixated on Kane, Bayern on Xavi, they could leave themselves open to attacks from others. 

Sané has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Kane's arrival in Bavaria. The former Manchester City winger is Bayern's second-top scorer with four goals in the Bundesliga plus another one bagged against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last Wednesday. Three of those goals have been assisted by Kane.

"Pssst, you don't have to do it all yourself, Harry!" - Kane has ample support from Leroy Sané and Mathys Tel at Bayern. - IMAGO/Michael Weber

"Harry Kane's a great guy and a great player," Sané said after Bayern's 4-3 win over United. "Everyone knows his qualities, he's shown them here as well. I hope it continues like that."

For Leipzig, it is Loïs Openda who was signed to do Kane's job at Leipzig, the fleet-footed Belgian arriving from Lens, whom he fired to a runners-up finish behind PSG in Ligue 1 last season. He might have been outshone by Xavi so far, but three goals and an assist after five Bundesliga appearances are not to be sniffed at.

Then there's the firepower off the bench. Tel has scored four times after entering the fray this season; Benjamin Šeško has done so thrice for Leipzig. Both teams have a Plan B.

The supply chain: Raum for two?

Xavi and Kane are their team's top scorers and assisters, but Leipzig and Bayern boast a left-back each in David Raum and Alphonso Davies who have matched them in the latter regard.

Both tend to start on the left of a back four, but they have significant license to get forward. Raum has tallied two assist at home and one abroad this term, while Davies has laid on three Bundesliga goals.

A familiar sight: Alphonso Davies (r.) marauding down Bayern's left wing. - IMAGO/ActionPictures

Both figure to supply many more this season - Raum has the most crosses from open play league-wide with 20; Davies' 177 sprints are a division-best. 

The full-backs opposite - Benjamin Henrichs for Leipzig and former RBL man Konrad Laimer or Noussair Mazraoui for Bayern - figure to be busy.

As a not insignificant detail, the aforementioned players are also constituent parts of two of the most miserly defences in the division, with Leipzig and Bayern each having conceded just four goals to date.

Players with a point to prove

Both teams have a pair of big players who would love nothing more than putting in a big performance against a potential title rival.

For Leipzig, that's Werner, who had gone nine games without a goal before his fine strike against Gladbach, converted after a trademark jet-heeled turn of pace and finish in off the far post from a near-impossible angle.

Werner scored from an impossible angle for Leipzig against Gladbach - his 10th in 11 career meetings with the Foals. - IMAGO/pepphoto

Three of Werner's four Bundesliga appearances this season have come from the bench, but it wasn't so long ago he was Leipzig's main man, and with three career goals against Bayern, he can hope to be so again.

"Timo's well known for the qualities he gives us: his pace, ability to play in behind and score goals," said head coach Marco Rose recently. "… he had the chance to get back into the team here, and the Germany squad."

Watch: A tactical look at Raumdeuter Müller

Werner missed out on the latest Germany squad, and Thomas Müller was only a late addition when Niclas Füllkrug pulled out through injury. Hansi Flick has since been replaced by Julian Nagelsmann, and the new head coach will be keeping a close eye on things at former club Bayern. 

Müller and Jamal Musiala have shared playing time under Thomas Tuchel this season, but the former has three goals and four assist in his meetings with Leipzig and would love extend that impressive tally.

Be it the Raumdeuter or Turbo Timo, the star man on Matchday 6 could be a relative unsung hero ready to re-find their voice.