Bayern München vs. RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig’s final away game of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season sees them travel to face league leaders FC Bayern München on Saturday evening (18:30 CEST).
Both teams are in need of the three points on offer. While Bayern are looking to widen the gap at the top of the table between themselves and Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig are seeking to wrap up qualification to next season’s Champions League.
We could already be guaranteed of a spot in the Champions League prior to kick off, if Freiburg lose to Wolfsburg on Friday night. If SCF manage to take points off the Wolves, then RBL will need at least two points from their remaining two fixtures – easily done, given our strong run of form of late!
Saturday’s primetime clash between us and the league leaders promises to be a thrilling encounter, with plenty at stake for both sides. We’ve picked out some of the key players from both teams ahead of this weekend’s crunch match.
Janis Blaswich vs. Yann Sommer
Janis Blaswich has proven to be an excellent replacement for our usual number one, Péter Gulácsi, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury nearly seven months ago. The 31-year-old has appeared in 35 games in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League for us since then, playing a major part in helping us reach the cup final in Berlin.
The goalkeeper has kept seven clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season, and has been able to show off his excellent reflexes along the way.
Bayern’s Yann Sommer is also known for his quick reaction time. The Switzerland international moved to Munich from Borussia Mönchengladbach during the winter transfer window in order to replace the injured Manuel Neuer – a testament to his skill between the sticks.
The Bavarians tend to not allow their opponents many shots, making it even more crucial that Sommer is ready to spring into action when needed. Measuring 1.83m tall, the 34-year-old isn’t as tall as other goalkeepers, making him susceptible to high balls or shots heading into the top corners.
Joško Gvardiol vs. Dayot Upamecano
Together with Willi Orbán, Joško Gvardiol is a reliable presence in our backline. The 21-year-old is able to play as either a centre-back in a back-four or on the left of a back-three. Despite his young age, he is one of the highest-ranked defenders in terms of both skill and his challenge success rate, both in the Bundesliga and internationally.
Gvardiol was one of just two defenders nominated for the Kopa Trophy in his first season with RBL, an annual award given out by prestigious football magazine France Football to the best performing U21 player worldwide.
His counterpart in the Bayern squad is well-known to us in Leipzig. Dayot Upamecano played for the Bulls from 2017 to 2021, before moving to Munich where he quickly earned a spot in the starting XI.
Upamecano is known for his pace and ability to win tackles, both in the air and on the ground. However, he did commit several errors when put under pressure by Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, as Bayern were eliminated from this season’s competition. With his physicality and power, the defender is also capable of posing a threat on goal.
Benjamin Henrichs vs. Benjamin Pavard
The past weeks have seen Benny Henrichs feature on either the right or left of a back-four, but he’s also impressed as a defensive midfielder or left winger. Due to this variability, our all-rounder has been a regular part of our starting line-up in this time.
The Germany international has paid back the trust shown in him by Marco Rose with strong performances. In addition to helping out in defence, the 26-year-old is also an important factor in our attacking play.
Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard is also capable of playing at several different positions, although the France international prefers to play as a centre-back. The 27-year-old has impressed in recent weeks, also covering plenty of ground on the right side of Bayern’s backline.
Pavard is a reliable figure in defence and also has a very powerful shot, making him a threat on goal as well.
Amadou Haidara vs. Joshua Kimmich
“He has developed as a player and has taken further steps forward this season. He has a better grasp of strategy and his skills have improved too. Doudou is a positive presence in our team and in the dressing room,” was what head coach Marco Rose had to say about Amadou Haidara recently.
Our number eight is more than deserving of this praise, having been a regular figure in our starting line-up this season, while also taking up a role as a leader within the team. The Mali international covers a lot of ground, intercepts passes and helps us build up play. If needed, he can also mix in a crunching tackle.
These attributes are mirrored by Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich, who moved to Bavarian from Leipzig in 2015. The Germany international tends to play as a defensive midfielder, and is one of the leaders in Thomas Tuchel’s side. In Manuel Neuer’s injury-enforced absence, Kimmich has worn the armband not only for his club, but also his country, on numerous occasions.
Not only does he lend stability to his side, but he has also had the most touches of any player in the division this season (2,967). The midfield machine is also responsible for delivering corners.
Dominik Szoboszlai vs. Leroy Sané
Dominik Szoboszlai’s last-minute winner against Werder Bremen once again proved how important he is to our team. The Hungary international has missed just three matches across all competitions this season, and has contributed eight goals and 12 assists.
He tends to feature on the right of our midfield, with ‘Szobo’ also known for his dangerous set pieces and long-range shots.
Leroy Sané is known for his powerful left foot. The Germany international is capable of impacting games on his own, which is why he ranks amongst the top players in the division. He has been involved in 22 goals this season (13 goals, 9 assists), despite occasionally having to drop to the bench.
Sané prefers to play on the left of FCB’s attack, where he’s able to break past opposition backlines with his pace and dribbling skills.