RB Leipzig are hoping to book their ticket to the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds on Thursday when they travel to Red Bull Salzburg for their penultimate Group B fixture (kick-off 6:55pm CET/5:55pm GMT/12:55pm ET).
The hosts come into this match full of confidence on the back of their astonishing unbeaten start in all competitions this term, a run that stands at 32 games following their 4-0 thrashing of Hartberg in the Austrian Bundesliga at the weekend. Having won all four Group B assignments so far, a draw would be enough to seal top spot and a place in the next round. Strikers Munas Dabbur and Fredrik Gulbrandsen are the ones to watch, while Leipzig will be need to be wary of the set-piece prowess of former Werder Bremen midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic.
Leipzig slipped down to fourth in the Bundesliga standings over the weekend after a surprise 1-0 reverse in Wolfsburg. They will, therefore, be champing at the bit return to winning ways here, especially as they are in second place but level on six points with Celtic, meaning they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to reach the knockout stages. Timo Werner is yet to start a group match for Leipzig this term so is expected to be on the bench again initially, while Emil Forsberg and Kevin Kampl are out with injury.
Watch: Expect Forsberg to dictate play if he plays!
- Leipzig fought back from 2-0 down to level the score at 2-2 at home to Salzburg on Matchday 1 in September, but conceded an 89th-minute goal to lose 3-2.Salzburg won the Austrian league title for a fifth consecutive season in 2017/18.Leipzig players Peter Gulacsi, Dayot Upamecano, Stefan Ilsanker, Kampl, Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer have all previously played for Salzburg.Leipzig head coach Ralf Rangnick is also the former sporting director at the Austrian outfit.Salzburg attacker Dabbur is the top scorer in this season's Europa League, with five goals so far. Leipzig were on a 10-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga prior to their 1-0 loss to Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Salzburg: Walke - Lainer, Ramalho, Pongracic, Ulmer (c) - Schlager, Wolf, Samassekou, Junuzovic - Dabbur, Gulbrandsen
Substitutes: Stankovic, Onguene, Prevlijak, Minamino, Daka, Mwepu, Todorovic
Absentees: Farkas (cruciate ligament), Haidara (knee), van der Werff (meniscus), Yabo (ankle)
Coach: Marco Rose
Leipzig: Mvogo - Mukiele, Orban (c), Upamecano, Saracchi – Laimer, Ilsanker - Bruma, Cunha - Werner, Augustin
Substitutes: Gulacsi, Konate, Poulsen, Klostermann, Halstenberg, Majetschak, Krauß
Absentees: Forsberg (groin), Kampl (ankle), Nukan (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick