Bundesliga – RB Leipzig and Hertha BSC look to bounce back

Dec 17, 2016
RB Leipzig fans supporting their club during a Bundesliga match.
RB Leipzig fans supporting their club during a Bundesliga match.

RB Leipzig and Hertha BSC both look to bounce back from set-backs last week, while, Eintracht Frankfurt look to climb to third and top play bottom when Darmstadt face Bayern.

Both sides relinquished records last weekend as RB Leipzig lost for the first time in the league away at Ingolstadt whilst Hertha suffered their first home defeat if the season against Werder Bremen.

Both sides will be looking to bounce back on Matchday 15 as the Berliners visit Leipzig for the first time since 1997, when they beat VfB Leipzig 3-0 in the second tier.

After last week’s 1-0 defeat, the Red Bull-backed club face their first mental challenge of the season.

Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is unlikely to make large-scale changes to the starting eleven but he did tell press on Thursday that Brazillian full-back Bernardo could return to the squad.

Centre-back Willi Orban is one booking away from a suspension that would see him miss Leipzig’s showdown with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The visitors have lost only one of their last five away games (a 1-0 defeat to Hoffenheim on Matchday 9) and recorded an impressive 1-1 draw away at Dortmund on Matchday 7.

Striker Vedad Ibisevic has scored against every current Bundesliga side – except newcomers RB.

A goal in the Red Bull Arena could help Pal Dardai’s side secure a victory which would close the gap on Leipzig to three points.

Eintracht Frankfurt

With the teams around them playing each other, Eintracht Frankfurt could find themselves in third place come Saturday evening – although manager Niko Kovac will certainly not be letting his players get ahead of themselves.

The Eagles last tasted victory against the Wolves in December 2012 but the two clubs’ current situations couldn’t be more different.

Under Kovac, Frankfurt have developed into a well-organised, hard-working unit who defend and attack as a team – a quality they have lacked in previous seasons.

An eight game unbeaten run – including an impressive 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 12 – has seen last season’s relegation candidates climb to fifth in the Bundesliga.

Wolfsburg on the other hand sink deeper and deeper into crisis.

The team which reached the quarter-finals of last year’s Champions League has taken only 10 points from 14 Bundesliga games this season and boasts the weakest home defense in the league.

It is a run of form which has seen coach Dieter Hecking replaced by Valerien Ismael and managing director Klaus Allofs lose his job.

Off the pitch, financial cuts loom large as parent company Volkswagen brace themselves for heavy fines after breaching US car emissions laws.

Eintracht full-back Timothy Chandler is suspended following his red card against Hoffenheim but the Eagles will be circling above the Autostadt on Saturday evening.

Darmstadt vs Bayern

Bottom vs top, can history repeat itself?

For the first time in Bundesliga history, top plays bottom for the second consecutive week.

Following a November blip, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have bounced back in December to go top of the league. With a top-of-the-table cracker against surprise challengers RB Leipzig looming on Wednesday evening, the Italian will be keen to maintain momentum.

Struggling Darmstadt have lost all 6 of their Bundesliga fixtures since being knocked out of the DFB Pokal by fourth-tier Astoria Walldorf in October and will likely line up with five at the back.

Even this might not be enough to stop Robert Lewandowski, who has scored as many Bundesliga goals this season as Darmstadt’s entire team and who signed a contract extension on Tuesday.

Just like last week, it’s top v bottom again – but a similar outcome appears unlikely.

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