Thursday, August 11, 2022

RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund: Can The ‘Hated’ Bundesliga Side Upset The Odds?

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

Bundesliga newcomers RB Leipzig are set to kick off their Bundesliga home campaign when they host last season’s record runners-up Borussia Dortmund as the club football gets back underway.

Rasenballsport Leipzig, finishing second behind SC Freiburg last term in Zweite Bundesliga, are being labeled as the ‘dark horse’ of the Bundesliga. Mainly run by the energy drink manufacturing Red Bull money, the owners found the holes from the DFB rules and regulations and utilized them to assemble RB Leipzig, hated by almost every other German club especially the tradition clubs, are one of the most promising teams in Europe.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men started their maiden Bundesliga campaign with an impressive 2:2 stalemate against TSG Hoffenheim in a high octane match which was being called as the ‘El Plastico’.

Hoffenheim newcomer Lukas Rupp broke the deadlock following a goalless first half of play to offer the host a 1:0 lead. Leipzig immediately leveled the scoring with a right footed shot from captain Dominik Kaiser from the center of the box.

Die Kraichgauer took the lead once again at 83rd mins when Mark Uth directed Sebastian Rudy’s shot towards the opposing net following a fast break. However, Die Roten Bullen are not be denied as they scored the equalized right at the stroke of referee’s blow for final whistle courtesy of Austria striker Marcel Sabitzer.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund showed that they are still a powerhouse despite key players such as Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mats Hummels leaving the squad in the summer as they got past a sturdy Mainz side with a 2:1 victory.

19-year-old super talent Ousmane Dembele looked promising but the newly reformed defense and midfield still remains an uncertainty. The defense looked fairly open for the Mainz attack to counter and the midfield partnership of Gonzalo Castro and Sebastian Rode didn’t look all too meaningful.

Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the star of the show, netting a brace at the 17th and 89th minute. Mainz then scored a mere consolation goal in the injury time through Japanese forward Yoshinori Muto.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - AUGUST 27: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Signal Iduna Park on August 27, 2016 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
DORTMUND, GERMANY – AUGUST 27: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Signal Iduna Park on August 27, 2016 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

However, the grueling uncertainty and lack of co-ordination already leaves out a hint for Thomas Tuchel which might cost them against a hungry, young and interesting Leipzig side, who are itching to make their mark in the Bundesliga.

Team news

Ralph Hassenhuttl will have no absentees ahead of the match and is expected to go with the same lineup. Also RB Leipzig’s new signing, Scotsman Oliver Burke is all set to make his Bundesliga debut against Dortmund. The 19-year-old wunderkind is tipped to be the next Gareth Bale.

Dortmund, on the other hand, will miss a few players due to injury. Defender Never Subotic is out through a rib injury, he also failed a medical at Middlesbrough last month. Full-back Erik Durm is also out due to a knee injury and Sven Bender is expected to return to training soon but will miss the encounter against Leipzig on Saturday.

Marco Reus may also start from the bench.

Key Players

Ousmane Dembele: The 19 year old French forward came from Stade Rennais in summer for a fee of 15 million euros. Tipped as one of the top talents in Europe right now, Dembele looked promising in the pre-season.  Craving to make an impression, Dembele is the one to look out for this afternoon.

Dominik Kaiser: The RB captain became the scorer of Leipzig’s first ever goal in the Bundesliga when he latched on to a Diego Demme cross. But not only the goal, Kaiser dominated the attacking front for Leipzig and was a constant threat going forward. Don’t be surprised if he manages to unsettle the weak looking Dortmund defense either.

Predicted Lineups

RB Leipzig starting lineup (4-2-2-2 formation): Peter Gulacsi; Benno Schmitz, Willi Orban, Marvin Compper, Marcel Halstenberg; Stefan Ilsanker, Diego Demme; Dominik Kaiser, Marcel Sabitzer; Timo Werner, Yussuf Poulsen

Borussia Dortmund starting lineup (4-2-3-1 formation): Roman Burki; Felix Passlack, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Gonzalo Castro, Sebastian Rode; Ousmane Dembélé, Shinji Kagawa, Andre Schurrle; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Match Stats (Courtesy of Bundesliga.com)

  • Andre Schürrle provided the cross and won the penalty that led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s two goals on Matchday 1.
  • Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel played under RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick at SSV Ulm.
  • The last Bundesliga team to hail from Leipzig, VfB, picked up their first win of the 1993/94 campaign against Dortmund.
  • Leipzig were the only team to twice recover after going behind on Matchday 1.
  • Only FC Bayern München (27) had more shots on goal than Leipzig (23) during their first match of the season.
  • The new boys were awarded a league-high four yellow cards on the opening day.
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