Ralph Hasenhüttl's unbeaten RB Leipzig will lock horns with Dieter Hecking's inconsistent VfL Wolfsburg outfit in the last and the most intriguing game of the Bundesliga on Sunday at the Volkswagen Arena.
RBL have triumphed in three of their past six games, drawing three and their impressive, solid 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund stands as an evidence for the fact that the newly promoted side can hold its own against the big clubs too.
Wolfsburg, who finished at an underwhelming 8th last season, have won just a single game this season, losing to Dortmund and Werder Bremen some weeks ago. The title runner-ups of the 2014-15 campaign currently lie at the 13th position on the table.
Are RBL exceeding expectations?
After being at the receiving end of a substantial amount of loathing and distaste, RBL have used the offensive chants and ill-will for their own good, by always striving to silent the haters in resounding fashion. Currently fifth in the table, very few sides have come close to defeating Hasenhüttl's men, as their high-pressing style has helped them earn plaudits in the very first season at the pinnacle of German football.
Having conceded just five goals this season, Leipzig rank third in terms of the least amount of goals allowed past, behind Bayern Munich and high-flying 1. FC Köln, who themselves have enjoyed a surprising start to the new campaign.
In terms of goals racked up too, Leipzig are third in the most goals scored, having found the net 11 times and with an impressive 1.8 goals per game ratio appended to their name. The men from Eastern Germany have young Timo Werner, who was acquired from the relegated VfB Stuttgart this past summer, as their leading scorer with three goals to his name. Emil Forsberg too, who was a vital cog in their wheel in the 2.Bundesliga last season, has racked up two goals and just many assists.
And its quite clear that RBL's solid performances in defense and attack, have acted as contributing factors for an unexpected start to the campaign, which is certainly being loathed by fans of other clubs.
Hecking's men flattering to deceive again?
This season is panning out to be rather similar one for Wolfsburg, when placed in a juxtaposition to the last one, which was riddled with inconsistencies and a number of embarrassments when they were expected to do well.
Although, Wolfsburg have conceded just seven goals this season, but are facing goal-scoring problems up front, having found the back of the net just four times in the Bundesliga till now. And their 5-1 hammering at the hands of Borussia Dortmund at home is suggestive of how the Wolves can end up messing things up against the big clubs.
The 26-year-old Daniel Didavi, who was acquired from Stuttgart this past summer after his contract at the Mercedes-Benz arena had expired, stands as the leading goal-getter for Hecking's side, who sold Bas Dost to Sporting CP and offloaded Max Kruse to Werder Bremen.
The 4-2-3-1 formation sees German star Mario Gomez feature up top, with Julian Draxler playing right behind him and will come up against RBL's narrow 4-2-2-2, which has helped them garner success this season already.
Key men missing for Wolfsburg
The absence of the trio of Josuha Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo and Daniel Didavi can be named as one of the many reasons for Wolfsburg's early season failures and they're expected to still be out. Didavi, who is suffering from a knee-injury currently, is expected to return to action around the 19th of October but will be a massive miss during Sunday's encounter.
RBL, on the other hand, have young Lukas Klostermann missing; the young defender has been missing since mid-September after the defender made a single appearance for Hasenhüttl's men. And the German will be Leipzig's only missing man at the Volkswagen Arena.
Wolfsburg defence vs RBL attack?
Wolfsburg defensive solidarity and Leipzig's flair in attack has already been thrown into the focus this season, with the Wolves playing out as many as three 0-0 draws already. The new defensive pairing of Robin Knoche and new signing from PSV Jeffrey Bruma, has worked quite well for Wolfsburg, who would certainly have to deal with intense counter-pressing and high-pressing from an energetic and young RBL forward line.
Its the first time under Dieter Hecking that Wolfsburg haven't won a single home game in three and in as many as five in total, which certainly is a concerning stat. A stat, that would encourage RBL more than they would be right now, is that its the first time since the 1963-64 campaign that a newly promoted side has gone unbeaten in six top-flight games.
Wolfsburg: Casteels; Vierinha, Bruma, Knoche, Rodriguez; Arnold, Gerhardt; Blaszczykowski, Draxler, Caligiuri; Gomez.
RB Leipzig: Gulasci; Bernardo, Orban, Compper, Halstenburg; Ilsanker, Demme; Forsberg, Sabitzer; Burke, Werner.