The most exciting match of the weekend in Europe’s top 5 leagues will be played at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig. The hosts, RB Leipzig, will try to extend their winning start of the season to four-out-of-four, while the opponents, the German reigning champions, Bayern Munich, will try to win and take over the top of the Bundesliga.
Rebuilding and Staying Competitive
Bayern Munich were quite busy in the summer transfer window. This was not because they were trying to build a Galactico team, but because a lot of their first team players that carried the burden of playing week in week out left the club or retired.
Distinguished Bayern Munich loyal servants such as Mats Hummels, Franck Ribery, Renato Sanchez, Rafinha, and James Rodriguez left the club, while the legendary Arjen Robben decided to pull the curtains on an impressive career.
This put the Munich giants into an unenviable position because they needed to strengthen several areas of their team, particularly their defence and their attack.
And because it is very difficult to replace the world club players that left the club, Bayern had to spend big to bring reinforcements which would be able to slot into the first team from day one. And so they did.
Niko Kovac’s team acquired top quality international level players which were able to play for Bayern immediately as they arrived in Munich. The defence was strengthened with World Cup winners Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard while the empty attacking positions were filled in by the likes of Philipe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic.
Hernandez and Pavard are basically like-for-like replacements for Hummels and Rafinha. What’s more, at 23 years of age, they are both much younger and according to some pundits much better players than the ones they were replacing.
Bayern’s attack was also under a lot of construction, but the German club decided not to go into a whole rebuilding mode, but went for an already tried and tested approach. They did this by replacing their departing stars with two high-profile loan signings. They knew that this worked from their previous experience with James Rodriguez so they went and did the same with the incoming Coutinho and Perisic.
The Brazilian and Croatian international joined the Bundesliga champions on loans for the season and are direct replacements for the likes of Rodriguez, Ribery, and Robben. By doing their business in this way, Munich officials made sure that their team will not have to go through a transition period in which they would have to sacrifice results in order to build a younger squad. Instead they went with small, surgical cuts which ensured that the attacking players who leave are replaced by players of similar quality.
At the same time, by acquiring Hernandez and Pavard, the people at Bayern started creating a new defensive spine which would lead the club in the future. The Germans really know how to build and rebuild things.
Leipzig Conducting Smart Business Too
It is not only Bayern Munich that conducts their business smartly during transfer windows. Red Bull Leipzig do the same thing, but with a somewhat different strategy.
Julian Nagelsmann’s Leizig is one of the youngest teams in Europe with an average age of 22.7. The youngest manager in the Bundesliga who is only 32 years of age obviously likes to build the squad in his own image and we cannot find a reason to blame him. Leipzig are playing excellent attacking football and are currently the only side in the Bundesliga with a 100% record.
The East German club acquired much different players than what Bayern brought to the Allianz Arena. The oldest RB Leipzig arrival was 21 year old Ademola Lookman, who joined Leipzig from Everton this summer after his loan move was turned into a permanent transfer.
Other notable arrivals include Cristopher Nkunku and Hannes Wolf who joined the club for a combined fee of around $25 million. The club also added the likes of AS Roma’s Patrick Schick and Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu who joined the club on loan.
RB Leipzig are definitely building a team for the future, but their current team is delivering results right now. Nagelsmann’s team finished third last season, plays in the group stage of the Champions League and will be once again one of the dominant teams in the Bundesliga.
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Impressive at the Start
Both of these clubs started the season impressively, but it was Red Bull Leipzig who impressed more. Their three fixtures were more difficult than Bayern’s and they won quite convincingly all of them.
In the first round, Leipzig went to the capital to play against newly promoted Union Berlin. It is always difficult to play against freshly promoted sides and especially in the first round. However, Leipzig absolutely destroyed the home side, dominating from start to finish and won the match 4-0.
Something similar happened in the second round, but the result didn’t quite reflect the real situation on the pitch. Leipzig never put the winner in doubt in that match and used the fact that Eintracht was in-between European matches to win the match comfortably.
Finally, in the third round, Nagelsmann’s men had a very difficult away trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, but managed to win much more convincingly than they were expected to. They once again dominated the game from the start and the winner was never in doubt.
Bayern started the season in positive fashion to, but failed to win their initial match against Hertha Berlin. However, this can be excused as at that time Bayern was still a work in progress and most of the new signings weren’t at the club.
After that first match though, the Bavarians won both of their next two matches with a cumulative goal difference of 9-1. They won at Schalke away 3-0 and absolutely destroyed Mainz at home by winning 6-1.
Thrilling Match in the Making
This all points to a match which will be incredibly exciting to watch and might be full of goals too. This is because in just three matches Bayern and Leipzig together combined to score a total of 20 goals that is more than six goals per match.
However, considering that this match takes place after an international break can complicate things a little as this might take the sting off from both clubs’ attacking lines. Clubs such as RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich are almost exclusively comprised of international players and it is usually difficult for these players to find their groove after being away with their national teams for two weeks.
If this is the case then we might be in for a tactical battle which neither manager will be prepared to lose. However, even if this comes to be, real football lovers will still enjoy as they will be able to see two of the best teams in Germany and in Europe battle it out for top spot in their division.
Will There Be an Early Goal?
The key to whether this game will turn into a several goal thriller or a tactical war with few if any goals is the early goal. If any of these two teams score an early, goal then it is very likely that more goals will follow. However, if the first half ends goalless, then it is not unreasonable to expect that the second half will be a cagey affair in which both teams will be afraid to lose.
If you want a better example to understand what we are saying, you can look at two previous encounters between these two teams that took place in Leipzig. The first one happened this May and was a tight match in which the stakes were high as Bayern Munich’s title was on the line. The match ended 0-0 and both teams tried hard not to concede first and only then worried about attacking.
The second match took place two years ago and in it there was a goal as early as the 2nd minute. This spurred both teams to attack their opposition’s defence mindlessly and the match ended with a crazy score line of 4-5 in Bayern’s favour.
Our prediction is that there will be an early goal as it is highly unlikely that teams which contain the attacking talents of Coutinho, Lewandowski, Werner, and Perisic will fail to find the back of the net.