Borussia Dortmund travel to RB Leipzig on Saturday looking to seal back-to-back victories after beating Wolfsburg last weekend.
The hosts, meanwhile, can move top of the Bundesliga table with victory over Edin Terzic’s side after Bayern Munich’s defeat at Monchengladbach on Friday evening.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men have only suffered one league defeat so far this season and will be looking to maintain that run this afternoon having won 1-0 at Stuttgart last time out.
Nagelsmann will be hoping to have Nordi Mukiele back in the side after he returned to training in the week. Kevin Kampl is a doubt, whilst the game will come too soon for Christopher Nkunku, Justin Kluivert and new signing Dominik Szoboszlai.
Dortmund, meanwhile, could name an unchanged team from that which was successful against Wolfsburg last weekend. Thorgan Hazard, Jude Bellingham and Marcel Schmelzer are still sidelined, whilst Youssoufa Moukoko completed some elements of training in the week and could feature at the Red Bull Arena.
Leipzig: (3-4-2-1) - Gulacsi; Orban, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Mukiele, Sabitzer, Kampl, Angelino; Haidara, Dani Olmo; Forsberg.
Dortmund: (4-2-3-1) - Burki; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Witsel, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Reyna; Haaland.
Both teams made a successful start to 2021 last weekend, with Dani Olmo’s strike giving Leipzig a 1-0 win away at Stuttgart whilst Dortmund saw off a resilient Wolfsburg side at Signal Iduna Park. Manuel Akanji and Jadon Sancho got the goals as the Black & Yellows sealed a 2-0 win over their fellow top four rivals.
The two teams ended the year in contrasting form though, with Dortmund winning just two of their last seven Bundesliga fixtures of 2020 – form which cost Lucien Favre his job as head coach. Leipzig, though, have lost just one league game all season and can move to the top of the table with three points.
Ones to watch
Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has become irreplaceable between the sticks at RB Leipzig, recently making his 200th competitive appearance for the club. The Hungary international is in fine form once again this term, with his tally of seven Bundesliga clean sheets a league high.
And the stopper is expecting a tough game when Dortmund travel to the Red Bull Arena.
“It will be an open match,” he said. “A battle between two quality attacking sides that want to play good football.
“We can’t afford to make mistakes and we need to take our chances. BVB have a lot of quality so we need to defend well. We weren’t happy with our results against Dortmund last season – we want to improve in that department.”
Dortmund skipper Marco Reus, meanwhile, has reflected on a big three points against Wolfsburg that gave the Black & Yellows an important victory to kick off the new year.
“The three points are the most important thing,” said Reus. “We’ve shown that we can compete even in difficult moments. It’s a lot of hard work at the moment, we’re not quite in our natural flow.
“I believe that every victory and every goal brings us more confidence and that will allow us to rediscover our flow in the games that lie ahead. It’ll be quite a challenge but we’re looking forward to it. Leipzig are a good opponent who play at the same level as us.”
Dortmund are unbeaten in five meetings with RB Leipzig – there have been three wins and two draws during that run.
The last meeting came back in June when the Black & Yellows won 2-0 at Red Bull Arena. Erling Haaland scored a brace on the final day of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. Since their promotion in 2016, Leipzig have a worse home record against BVB than any other club in the Bundesliga.
Julian Nagelsmann knows his team will be in for a tough test when Dortmund travel to the Red Bull Arena.
“Borussia Dortmund have an unbelievably talented team, no doubt about it,” he said. “They boast tremendous quality, especially when they get into the final third, and they are also extremely dangerous from set-pieces.
“To me it is very important that we keep our defensive game at the same level that it has been of late – this will be a key to success for us.
“Obviously our chance conversion will play a role as well, because chances won’t come ten-a-penny against a top team like Dortmund.”
Interim Dortmund Head Coach Edin Terzic knows the significance of victory against a fellow top four contender.
He said: “The whole of January will be pivotal in determining the rest of the Bundesliga season.
“Obviously, you can quickly make an impact on your position in the table against your direct rivals, hence why the game on Saturday is very important.
“I see us somewhat in the role of the hunter due to our position in the table. We want to close the gap to Leipzig and the top of the table. We therefore welcome this game.
“They share their goals among a number of players. That makes them unpredictable and difficult to play against.”
How to watch
The Bundesliga fixture will be shown live on BT Sport on Saturday 9 January 2021. Kick off is 17:30 GMT at Red Bull Arena.