Bundesliga match preview: Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig

There is an old Paul Simon song from 1977 called ‘Slip Sliding Away’ and it could very well be the new Bayern Munich anthem for this current stage in the season as their mini-crisis becomes a medium-sized crisis with the potential to turn into a full-blown crisis. Three successive defeats have seen Bayer Leverkusen open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table, Thomas Tuchel has in effect been fired for next season and the players look shorn of all confidence.  

After losing to title rivals Leverkusen in the top of the table clash dubbed a ‘Meisterschale decider’ two weeks ago, Bayern then doubled down on the depression levels with another loss in Rome to Lazio in the Champions League. The losses were one thing, the toothless manner of the defeats was another with just one shot of note on target across the two matches. The players looked to be without ideas and were a pale shadow of the side seen in the first half of the season.

Last week gave them the opportunity to get themselves back on track with a trip to Bochum, but they fluffed their lines once again against the supposed ‘lesser’ side and after taking the lead, found themselves 3-1 down. The 3-2 loss at the Vonovia Ruhr Stadion was the last straw for Thomas Tuchel and the only real surprise was that he wasn’t sacked immediately. 

As the beleaguered coach has said, the problems at Bayern go deeper than just the trainer and the danger is that the situation could actually get worse. The clarity over Tuchel’s future may give the squad more freedom, but on the other hand open warfare is also an option at FC Hollywood.  

What they need is a win and a performance to steady the ship, but RB Leipzig are not the opponent they would have chosen to face in these circumstances. 

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The Roten Bullen also have a point to prove as they seek to break back into the top four and qualify once again for the Champions League. At the moment it looks like they are going up against VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund in the fight for the two places in the table behind Leverkusen and Bayern.

On the plus side, Leipzig have now rid themselves of their Allianz Arena hoodoo having achieved their very first win there at the end of last season and then repeating the feat at the start of the current campaign when they triumphed in the Super Cup.  They did lose their first three games of 2024, but have since won two and drawn one. They also had a good display in the narrow loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League and a good result against Bayern would be just the tonic ahead of their match in the Spanish capital next week. 

Marco Rose will have watched with interest at how both Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Bochum scored three against Bayern and with Lois Openda, Xaxi Simons, Benjamin Sesko and Dani Olmo in good form, will be confident that his side can once again come away from their travels to Bavaria with a smile on their faces. 

Team news:

Bayern Munich:

File:FC Bayern München logo (2017).svg - Wikipedia

Thomas Tuchel still has an awfully long injury list to contend with. Kingsley Coman, Sacha Boey, Noussair Mazraoui, Bouna Sarr, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies are all still out, while Dayot Upamecano is suspended following his red card against Bochum. Konrad Laimer will however return to the squad.

Due to circumstances it seems that Joshua Kimmich will be needed at right back, although Eric Dier could be an option there. 

Possible line-up: Neuer – Kimmich, de Ligt, M.-J. Kim, Guerreiro – Pavlovic, Goretzka – Sané, T. Müller, Musiala – Kane

RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig Logo and symbol, meaning, history, PNG, brand

Lukas Klostermann’s muscle injury suffered last week that Marco Rose will need to choose between Castello Lukeba and Mohamed Simankan to partner Willi Orban,  There have slight worries about Peter Gulacsi, Benjamin Sesko, Dani Olmo and Yussuf Poulsen in the week, but all should be fit for the big game on Saturday.  

Possible line-up: Gulacsi – Henrichs, Simakan, Orban, Raum – Haidara, Schlager – Dani Olmo, Xavi – Openda, Sesko

What they’re saying:

Bayern Munich

Thomas Tuchel: “We love football and what we do. For me, whether I had a five-year contract or a five-week contract never mattered. All that matters is the here and now. There are new circumstances but that doesn’t play a role. I love the job and obviously will do the job with the same energy as before. There’s clarity now, and clarity gives freedom. Freedom is always good, both for coaches and players.

“It’s a professional sport at the highest level. I don’t think I’m the only problem, but I have responsibility. I’m not satisfied with the development. Now we have a new situation, it’s resolved, which hopefully makes it clear and brings freedom.

“I’ve never had the feeling that there’s a big problem. There’s a glaring discrepancy between the way we’re training and the way we’re playing. We’ve trained at a good level but that’s no guarantee that we’ll produce a good performance.”

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RB Leipzig

Marco Rose: “The statistics show that Bayern are not in a bad run at home or, in general, not in bad form. Of course, not everything is going so easily for them at the moment. But Bayern are Bayern. They are still a great team with excellent individual players and a top coach.  This team has dominated German football for years. It is and will always be difficult to win in Munich.

“I have great respect for Thomas Tuchel as a coach and especially for what he has achieved. I have great respect for FC Bayern. Decisions always have consequences and can have both positive and negative effects. But we concentrate on ourselves – that’s the most important thing. Because in the end we can only influence our performance and that doesn’t just have to be right in Munich, it has to be really good.”


Bayern Munich

18/02/24  VfL Bochum (a) 3-2 L  (Bundesliga)

14/02/24  Lazio (a) 1-0 L  (Champions League)

10/02/24  Bayer Leverkusen (a) 3-0 L  (Bundesliga)

03/02/24  Borussia Mönchengladbach (h) 3-1 W  (Bundesliga)

27/01/24  Augsburg (a) 2-3 W  (Bundesliga)

RB Leipzig

17/02/24  Borussia Mönchengladbach (h) 2-0 W  (Bundesliga)

13/02/24  Real Madrid (h) 0-1 L (Champions League)

10/02/24  Augsburg (a) 2-2 D  (Bundesliga)

04/02/24  Union Berlin (h) 2-0 W  (Bundesliga)

27/01/24  VfB Stuttgart (a) 5-2 L  (Bundesliga)

Last time:

The corresponding fixture last season at the Allianz Arena took place on the penultimate matchday of last season and Leipzig’s historic first win looked to have ended Bayern’s hopes of winning the Meisterschale.

Serge Gnabry fired Bayern into a first half lead, but a second half blitz saw the visitors turn the game on its head. Konrad Laimer equalised against his future employers before a Christopher Nkunku penalty put the Roten Bullen in front. The icing was put on the cake in the 86th minute when a second penalty dispatched by Dominik Szoboszlai sealed the victory. 

Players to watch:

Bayern Munich

Bayern need a reaction and Thomas Tuchel will be looking to club legend Thomas Müller to take the lead in dragging his team mates onwards. Nobody embodies the ‘Mia San Mia’ mentality at the club more than Müller and as a leading figure, his lead could be vital this weekend.  

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RB Leipzig

The current shakiness in the Bayern team and in particular the defence will have Leipzig’s attacking players relishing their opportunities on Saturday. Striker Lois Openda has scored in each of Leipzig’s last five Bundesliga matches and he will be very keen to keep that successful run going against the Rekordmeister at the Allianz Arena. 

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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