RBL’s next challenge in their Bundesliga run-in is this Sunday, as they take on Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the final game of matchday 29.
The game at the BayArena is between two direct competitors for the Champions League places. RBL are in fourth with 51 points, while Leverkusen currently sit in sixth with 44 points. An away win would be a huge result for Leipzig! Two players who should be able to help with this are Benjamin Henrichs and Kevin Kampl. Both players are returning to the club whose academy they were in and the place where they began their football careers.
There are promising signs for a positive result, with Marco Rose’s team back on a roll following two recent Bundesliga wins against Hertha BSC and Augsburg as well as the 2-0 win against BVB in the DFB-Pokal. There is also the fact that the team won the game against Bayer 04 2-0 earlier in the season thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Christoper Nkunku.
But it is also clear that a difficult task faces RBL on Sunday. We take a look at our next opponent’s strengths.
Comfortable home win in previous game against Bayer 04
Nkunku and Werner score to defeat Leverkusen 2-0
Bayer 04 Leverkusen are currently the most in-form team in the Bundesliga. Xabi Alonso’s side have picked up four wins and 13 points in their last five games. Their last defeat was on the 19th February in a 3-2 home defeat against Mainz 05.
The team most recently picked up a point from a 0-0 draw in Wolfsburg, before that they were on a run of four wins in a row, including a 2-1 win against Bayern Munich.
Alongside this, Leverkusen are also in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg against Union Saint-Gilloise, the team have a good chance of progressing to the semi-finals after the second leg in Belgium this Thursday.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen …
- … are particularly strong in attack. With 51 goals, the team have scored the fourth-most in the league. The biggest threat comes from their speed in transition.
- … have an extremely dangerous duo in Moussa Diaby (9) and Jeremie Frimpong (8). The attacking pair have scored a combined 17 goals which is exactly a third of all Leverkusen’s goal. Both attackers have also provided six further assists. France international Diaby and Netherlands youth player Frimpong make up a extremely strong right-wing when Leverkusen attack.
- … play possession football under Xabi Alonso. B04 rely much less on crossing under the former world-class Spanish midfielder and have only hit 184 crosses. Only Gladbach have crossed into the box less (137).
- Florian Wirtz: The 19-year-old is among the absolute top talents in world football (six international caps for the Germany national team). The attacking midfielder made his come back on 22nd January after 315 days out with an ACL injury. In his previous twelves games, Wirtz has picked up six assists.
The youngster has a lot of footballing intelligence, can do anything on the ball and is an incredibly strong dribbler.Wirtz’s return has been one of the key reasons behind Leverkusen’s upturn in form.
- Jeremie Frimpong: With 914 sprints, he has made by far the most in the Bundesliga. Frimpong doesn’t only have stamina, but is also extremely fast. With a top speed of 36 km/h, he is in fourth place among Bundesliga players.
He has the second-most goal contributions of any Leverkusen player (eight goals, six assists) and with his speed and technique is not only a real threat in attack, but also an important player defensively thanks to his strength in challenges.
- Moussa Diaby: The right-winger in B04’s most frequently played 3-4-3 is also unbelievably quick. His top speed of 36.52 km/h places him third among Bundesliga players. It is no wonder then, that the Frenchman is especially strong in one-on-ones.
When Diaby runs at the opponents either with the ball at his feet or in behind the defence there are definitely alarm bells ringing! With nine goals and six assists, he has the most goal contributions of Leverkusen players.
- Patrik Schick: The striker, who has played 14 games this season, has been out for a long period of time. The former Leipzig player has had groin problems all season. The Czech Republic international last played on the 5th March.
It is not entirely out of the question that he returns to the squad against RBL. This would be a reunion with his former club for Schick. The 27-year-old played for RBL on loan (from AS Roma) during the 2019/20 season, playing 28 games and scoring 10 goals.
- Exequiel Palacios: The midfielder was missing for Leverkusen’s previous game in Wolfsburg due to a thigh injury. The world cup winner with Argentina should be back for the Europa League game on Thursday.
The latest RBL injury news can be found in our team news update.
None other than Xabi Alonso has been Leverkusen’s coach since the 5th October of last year. The 41-year-old won two Champions League titles with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, as well as numerous league titles and domesticcup competitions. The midfield conductor also won a World Cup and two European Championships with the Spain national team.
Alonso previously coached Real Madrid’s U14 and Real Sociedad B before joining Leverkusen. Bayer 04 is his first job as a head coach of a senior team.
Since Alonso took over, the team has been on an upward curve. During his time at the club, he has led them from seventeenth place to sixth place in the Bundesliga. In this period he has picked up 39 points from 20 games, with a points-per-game of 1.95. His team most commonly play with a 3-4-3 formation.
RB Leipzig aiming to qualify for the Champions League
RBL’s season run-in at a glance
RBL’s record against Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 7 wins, 4 draws, 2 defeats – 22:16 goals
- 4 home wins, 3 away wins
- Top goalscorer: Emil Forsberg (4 goals)
- Highest win: 3-0 on 11th November 2018 (Goals:Yussuf Poulsen2x, Lukas Klostermann)
The last five meetings
- 29th October 2022 | Bundesliga matchday 12: RB Leipzig – Bayer 04 Leverkusen | 2-0
- 17th April 2022 | Bundesliga matchday 30: Bayer 04 Leverkusen – RB Leipzig | 0-1
- 28th November 2021 | Bundesliga matchday 13: RB Leipzig – Bayer 04 Leverkusen | 1-3
- 30th January 2021 | Bundesliga matchday 19: RB Leipzig – Bayer 04 Leverkusen | 1-0
- 26th September 2020 | Bundesliga matchday 2: RB Leipzig – Bayer 04 Leverkusen | 1-1