BORUSSIA DORTMUND VS. RB LEIPZIG
Second against fourth – matchday 23 will open with a top-of-the-table clash as RB Leipzig travel to face Borussia Dortmund on Friday night.
BVB (46) are just four points ahead of RBL (42), with both teams having scored (45) and conceded (27) the same amount of goals this season.
We take a look at how the key players for both teams compare in our head-to-head analysis.
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Gregor Kobel vs. Janis Blaswich
Janis Blaswichhas been RBL’s first choice between the sticks since early October, stepping into the role following captain Péter Gulácsi‘s ACL injury. The 31-year-old has done an excellent job in this time.
In 22 competitive games this season, Blaswich has conceded 21 goals – this works out to less than one goal per game on average (0.95). He has also kept seven clean sheets in this time.
Blaswich has showcased his quick reflexes on several occasions this season and is a big presence between the sticks, standing 1.93 metres tall.
Gregor Kobel has been Dortmund’s first-choice since 2021/22, and is two centimetres taller than Blaswich (1.95m).
The Swiss international has featured in 18 of a possible 22 Bundesliga games in 2022/23. He has conceded 22 goals in 25 competitive matches this term, at an average of 0.88 goals per game.
Kobel has kept 12 clean sheets this season, averaging a shutout in nearly every second competitive game. In the Bundesliga, only Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg, 9) and Mark Flekken (Freiburg, 9) have recorded more shutouts than the BVB goalkeeper (8). Kobel is a strong presence on the line and his height means he is able to easily intercept crosses into the box.
Niklas Süle vs. Willi Orbán
Niklas Süle moved from Munich to Dortmund last summer, leaving record champions FC Bayern München for the black-and-yellow of BVB.
The 27-year-old quickly established a place for himself in the starting XI, having featured in 29 of a possible 32 competitive games.
Süle is a strong passer of the ball and, despite standing 1.95 tall, is a deceptively quick player. Due to these qualities, the Germany international can feature both as a centre-back or a right-back.
His height gives BVB a key target man from set pieces, with Süle having scored once and provided three assists this term.
Our centre-back Willi Orbán may be no match for Süle’s height (1.86m), but he has found the back of the net more often in the Bundesliga this season than his BVB counterpart (3 goals – including one in the 3-0 win against Dortmund earlier this season).
The Hungary international has been at RBL since July 2015, winning promotion to the top flight with the club in 2016. He has missed just one game this season: the 2-1 defeat against Union Berlin after having undergone a procedure to donate his stem cells just days before.
Like Süle, Orbán is also a strong passer and is a key voice in defence in both a back-four and a back-three.
Raphael Guerreiro vs. Benny Henrichs
Raphaël Guerreiro has been at BVB for six and a half years. After winning the European Championship with Portugal in 2016, he completed a move to the Ruhr where he has impressed both as a left-back and as a centre-mid.
Born in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France, Guerreiro is known for his strong shots and crosses, as well as being a threat from set pieces.
Guerreiro has featured in 17 of a possible 22 Bundesliga games in 2022/23, scoring once and providing six assists in the process. The 30-year-old has netted 27 goals and set up a further 35 more in 152 career Bundesliga games.
However, his tendency to push up and contribute to the attack often exposes gaps at the left side of Dortmund’s defence.
At RBL, Benjamin Henrichs is a strong candidate to feature either as a full-back or in defensive midfield. The 26-year-old tends to feature on the right and his height (1.85m) gives him an edge over Guerreiro.
Henrichs will be looking to pose a threat in attack once again this weekend, having scored both his goals this season in 2023. He has also set up one goal, albeit in the first half of the season. Henrichs has appeared in 19 of a possible 22 Bundesliga games in 2022/23.
Emre Can vs. Xaver Schlager
Controlling proceedings in the centre of the park are BVB’s Emre Can and RBL’s Xaver Schlager.
Both players are able to plug any gaps in midfield and are known for being tough tacklers and being able to read the game.
Schlager is able to feature as a defensive or attacking midfielder, as well as a number 10. Can, meanwhile, has featured as a defensive midfielder and at right-back or centre-back for both BVB and Germany.
This season, Schlager has completed 898 intensive runs (incl. 203 sprints) in the Bundesliga. Can has recorded 620 intensive runs (incl. 198 sprints). The Germany international has been clocked at a top speed of 35.1 km/h, faster than Schlager (33.6 km/h).
Both midfielders are strong shooters as well, with Can wielding a powerful right foot and Schlager better with his left. The two can pose a serious threat on goal as a result.
Julian Brandt vs. Emil Forsberg
Julian Brandt and Emil Forsberg are two technically gifted players with a nose for goal. While the Swede has been a regular on the scoresheet for RBL since 2015, Brandt has only recently found his form at BVB.
The Germany international joined BVB in summer 2019 and has been a regular starter for them ever since. He has appeared in all 22 Bundesliga games this season, scoring eight goals and setting up four more.
Brandt has been involved in more goals in 2022/23 than any of his teammates, having had a hand in a goal in every Bundesliga game so far in the second half of the campaign. He has scored once in each of his last four games, as well as providing one assist in this period.
Forsberg, meanwhile, is also on a hot run of form at the moment. The Sweden international has scored once in both the last two Bundesliga games, also providing an assist for Timo Werner against Frankfurt (2-1 win). The 31-year-old also found the back of the net in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 match against TSG Hoffenheim.
Forsberg has appeared in 30 of a possible 33 competitive games this term, amassing 13 goal involvements in the process (7 goals, 6 assists).
Sebastian Haller vs. Yussuf Poulsen
Both BVB and RBL have tall strikers in their ranks in Sébastien Haller and Yussuf Poulsen.
The Denmark international has been at RBL for nine and a half years, being part of the club’s journey from a third-division side all the way to the Bundesliga, Champions League and a crowning achievement as DFB-Pokal champions.
Poulsen (1.92m) stands slightly taller than Dortmund’s summer signing Haller (1.91m). Both are 28 years old, with Poulsen being born exactly one week earlier than Haller.
Both Haller and Poulsen are strong in the air and excellent target men in the box for their teammates.
While Haller is slightly more skilled in the air and on the ball, Poulsen is more adept at working against the ball. Both strikers have found the back of the net once in the Bundesliga this term.