High-flying RB Leipzig will look to prolong their Bundesliga dream and extend their formidable seven-match winning run on Saturday as they prepare to host in-form Schalke, who are unbeaten in exactly seven matches of their own.
Can RB Leipzig go the distance?
Leicester City of the Bundesliga. That is the most convenient way to describe RB Leipzig, who appear to be locked on course to upset the German championship, in their first-ever season in the top tier. The promoted side lead by Ralph Hasenhuttl keeps going from strength to strength not showing any signs of slowing down and there isn’t a person in the world who could afford to bet against the Red Bulls. Three point clear of the current champions Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig have issued a strong statement of will and desire by going on a seven-game winning run which saw them beat the likes of Augsburg, Werder Bremen, Darmstadt, Mainz, Bayer Leverkusen and SC Freiburg last time out. Boasting a young and relatively obscure squad, RB Leipzig are enjoying a fantastic stretch of form helped by one of their key men Emil Forsberg, who has the most assists (7) for the club this season and five goals to his name, two less than RB Leipzig’s top scorer Werner, who has bagged 7 so far in the season.
Hosts will have to overcome several selection issues ahead of the Saturday’s match as RB Leipzig will be without Bernanrdo, Compper and Papadopoulos. There is a huge question mark over the fitness of Klostermann, who is having problems with his knee injury wheras Willi Orban is suspended for the occasion.
Schalke on the run
It is as good as time as any for Schalke to try and do what others have failed. Ever since their September’s 2-1 defeat, which ended the three-match losing run, Die Knappen have been in superb form winning ten of the total 12 matches in all competition, drawing the remaining two. Without a loss in their last seven Bundesliga matches, Markus Weinzierl’s men will have a shot at yet unbeaten Bundesliga leaders, aiming at three points that would shoot them up within the touching distance of the European places. With the abysmal start to the season long behind them, Schalke are currently occupying eighth spot in the standings with 17 points to their name and additional three against the league leaders would not only be a boost to the tally, but to the confidence as well. Schalke’s brilliant form has seen them with the intact Europa League record in the group stage of the competition and it is fair to say that the Miners are enjoying their football at the moment much to the pleasure of their own fans.
Weinzierl will have some selection doubts when it comes to the attacking department of his team as both Huntelaar and Embrolo will be forced to miss the Saturday’s clash due to respective knee and ankle injuries. Furthermore, the visiting team will be without Franco Di Santo, Coke and Leon Goterzka who is having digestion problems. Atsuto Uchida is yet to be involved this season.
Both sides head into the match on the back of flying forms and with a couple of selection issues that could end up having a huge impact on the game. We should expect fireworks at Red Bull Arena as unlikely Bundesliga leaders look to extend their run against the in-form opposition and that is the only thing we are sure of at the moment.
Top Pick: Both teams to score 1.80 (4/5) @StanJames
Alternative Pick 1: Home win 2.05 (21/20) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 2:Over 2.5 goals 1.90 (9/10) @Bet365