FC Bayern München welcome nearest challengers RB Leipzig to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening with just goal difference to separate the record champions from the eastern upstarts.
Where might the game be won or lost? bundesliga.com takes a closer look with a tactical breakdown of what promises to be one of the games of the season so far…
Bayern and Leipzig both installed new coaches in the summer, with Carlo Ancelotti replacing Pep Guardiola in Bavaria and Ralph Hasenhüttl taking the reins at the Red Bull Arena. However, where Ancelotti was trying to forge a new identity for the four-time defending champions, Leipzig’s style has remained unchanged or most of the past two seasons, thanks in no small part to last year’s coach Ralf Rangnick moving upstairs into the role of sporting director. Seven Leipzig players have featured in all 15 of their Bundesliga games so far. Only Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski can say the same for Bayern, with Ancelotti still trying to decide what his best possible XI is
Between them, Leipzig duo Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg have combined for 14 goals and 10 assists this term. Clinical finishing has been a major characteristic of their respective hauls, but so has searing pace. Bayern like to dominate possession – they completed 713 passes to SV Darmstadt 98’s 115 in their 1-0 win on Sunday – but that tends to bring their defensive line high up the pitch. With Jerome Boateng injured and Joshua Kimmich thriving in midfield, Ancelotti is expected to start with Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez at centre-back. Both are world champions, but speed is not their forte. Werner and Forsberg could be licking their lips at their counter-attacking opportunities.