The teams will square off just four days after RB Leipzig crushed Freiburg 5-1 in their DFB Pokal semifinal match. This time, two teams seeking a spot in the UEFA Champions League will compete for three vital Bundesliga points. After three straight victories in the league, Freiburg leads by two points, and with four games left, they’ve already racked up more points than in any other Bundesliga season (56).
The visitors’ humiliation on Tuesday, though, would have swiftly taken the shine off of that specific accomplishment as it prolonged a terrible run of eight winless H2Hs everywhere (D3, L5). Only league leaders Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have managed to defeat them at home in league play this season (W9, D4), at least in the Bundesliga.
Following their streak of league games without a draw dating back to February 4th (W6, L5), Leipzig’s 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim last weekend increased their lead over the team in sixth place. Manager Marco Rose was “delighted” with the “crucial” three points that he felt gave them momentum going into their cup and league doubleheader against Freiburg.
Given the lopsided nature of Tuesday’s cup match, he may have been correct, and he’ll be hoping the momentum keeps growing given that the Red Bulls have only won one of their last four Bundesliga away games (L3). Leipzig would rise above their rivals in the standings if they extended a three matches unbeaten H2H record in Freiburg (W2, D1), thus Rose’s team has every motivation to go two for two this week.
Lucas Höler of Freiburg has contributed to four goals in his previous three Bundesliga games (G2, A2), with two of his goals coming after halftime. Timo Werner of the opposition is in similar form, having scored three of Leipzig’s last eight league goals, all of which came between the 20th and 60th minute.
While center back Manuel Gulde is out with a hamstring injury, Freiburg are still missing midfielder Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who has been out since February with a cruciate ligament injury.
The 57 years old will probably switch back to his more comfortable four men defense after Tuesday’s attempt at a back five defense did not succeed, which could result in Lukas Kubler being dropped from the starting lineup.
Ritsu Doan and Gregoritsch are anticipated to start on the left flank alongside Vincenzo Grifo, who has scored nine of his 13 Bundesliga goals at home this season.
Leipzig’s two starting goalies, Peter Gulacsi and Xaver Schlager, are still out with knee and ankle injuries respectively, but Gvardiol is available for selection despite getting sent off in Tuesday’s cup semifinal, and the in demand center back is anticipated to stick with Willi Orban.
Dani Olmo will maintain his position on the left side of the attack against Freiburg after scoring once and dishing out three assists the last time around. Nkunku, who has contributed to seven goals in as many Bundesliga games against Freiburg, will play the No. 10 position.
Timo Werner has gone three games without scoring, but in his previous 12 top flight matches against Freiburg, he has 10 goals. Only against Mainz 05 (13) has he scored more goals against a single opponent, and the former Chelsea player is anticipated to lead the line on Saturday.
Freiburg possible starting lineup
Flekken, Kubler, Ginter, Lienhart, Gunter, Eggestein, Hofler, Doan, Holer, Grifo and Gregoritsch.
RB Leipzig possible starting lineup
Blaswich, Henrichs, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg, Laimer, Haidara, Szoboszlai, Nkunku, Olmo and Werner.
We predict: Freiburg 1-2 RB Leipzig
In an effort to surpass their opponents on Saturday and get into the top four, Leipzig will be hoping that Freiburg is still feeling the consequences of their devastating loss on Tuesday.
However, given the threat that the visitors pose in attack, we anticipate Die Roten Bullen to once again outscore their opponents. The hosts will be eager to make things right and respond strongly with a better performance.