14:30 (BST), Saturday 21st October, Red Bull Arena (Leipzig, Germany)
RB Leipzig will look to continue their rise up the standings when they welcome VfB Stuttgart to the Red Bull Arena for the very first time. Stuttgart have been strong at home so far this season but are yet to secure a point on their travels.
Leipzig enter this week’s match on a high. A surprising 3-2 win in Dortmund last week and their first Champions League victory has left Die Rotten Bullen full of confidence. Can Stuttgart spring a surprise on them or will Leipzig continue on their merry way?
Last Time Out
RB Leipzig 3-2 Porto (Champions League)
RB Leipzig were still searching for their first win in the Champions League as they welcomed Porto to the Red Bull Arena. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side got the jump and took the lead when Bruma’s shot proved too hot for Jose Sa to handle, Willi Orban there to score the rebound. The lead was shortly lived, however, as Porto drew level thanks to an excellent finish from Vincent Aboubakar.
On 38 minutes, Leipzig were back in front when Marcel Sabitzer played in Emil Forsberg for the Swede’s second goal of the competition so far. Jean-Kévin Augustin made it three just moments later to give Leipzig a well-needed buffer. But Marcano would bring the margin back to one on 44 minutes to cap off a crazy first half. A much tighter second half followed which saw Leipzig hold on for their first win in the Champions League.
Stuttgart 2-1 Köln (Bundesliga)
Stuttgart welcomed a winless Köln to the Mercedes-Arena with the hosts searching for their third win of the season. It was the perfect start for the home team, Anastasios Donis finding his way into a dangerous position before scoring well past Köln keeper Timo Horn. Köln would push for an equalizer and their desperation would be reward late in the game when defender Dominique Heintz’s excellent curling shot stayed beyond the reach of Ron-Robert Zieler.
There would be late drama in stoppage time when Sehrou Guirassy was brought down prompting referee Benjamin Cortus to point to the spot. But, with the use of the Video Assistant Referee, the decision was reversed. With Köln frustrated, Stuttgart took advantage with less than a minute left in added time. Chadrac Akolo’s shot trickled into the back of the net to give Stuttgart all three points.
RB Leipzig Lineup
Timo Werner came off the bench against Porto and he will return to the starting lineup against Stuttgart. Marcel Sabitzer played up top last time out but he will return to his regular position on the right of midfield. Bruma drops to the bench.
Stuttgart will be without defender Marcin Kaminski after picking up an injury against Köln, his precise return date is unknown. Andreas Beck returns to the starting XI at right wing back whilst Benjamin Pavard moves to central defence. Just the one change, then, expected for Stuttgart.
Key Battle: Jean-Kévin Augustin vs Holger Badstuber
Jean-Kévin Augustin made his way from Paris Saint-Germain during the close season and the 20-year-old Frenchman has been a surprise packet in the RB Leipzig side. The striker has displaced Yussuf Poulsen in the starting lineup and with good reason: in six matches this season, Augustin already has three goals and two assists. He will look to continue his good form against Stuttgart on Saturday.
His opponent is likely to be experienced Bundesliga defender Holger Badstuber who has rejuvenated his career since joining Stuttgart this season. After a difficult period in which Badstuber missed a huge chunk of games, the 28-year-old has asserted himself as the leader of Stuttgart’s defence. Can Badstuber stop the young Frenchman in Leipzig?
Away Day Problems
Stuttgart have been excellent at the Mercedes-Benz Arena where they are yet to succumb to defeat. On their travels though, it’s been an incredible struggle for Hannes Wolf’s side. The Swabians have only scored twice this season on their travels coming at Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt. Stuttgart are 7th in the league in chances created, they must make it count on their travels.
Keeping it tight
Although RB Leipzig have secured two impressive wins against Borussia Dortmund and Porto, there is still cause for concern if you are manager Ralph Hasenhüttl. This season, RB Leipzig have conceded 10 goals this season and have only kept one clean sheet so far which came on Matchday 3 at Hamburg. Stuttgart will create chances throughout the contest, so Leipzig will need to tighten it up defensively on Saturday.
Prediction: RB Leipzig 3-0 Stuttgart
RB Leipzig enter the clash as favourites and it will be hard to make a case for Stuttgart to steal the points at the Red Bull Arena. Although the sides have never played each other in any competition, RB Leipzig have plenty of quality all over the pitch to outmatch the current squad Stuttgart possesses. Stuttgart will have a tough time keeping Leipzig’s incredible attacking options muted so expect RB Leipzig to take all three points at home.
Can RB Leipzig continue their excellent form or will Stuttgart take their first win on the road? Let us know in the comments section below
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