RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg have had extreme success to start the 2018-19 season with one being in second place in the German Bundesliga and the other a runaway favorite atop the Austrian league. This week both teams welcome in beatable opposition and attempt to avoid a road-bump that could cost them in May.
Leipzig and Salzburg Return for More after Int. Break (Preview)
Leipzig Fighting for German Supremacy
The race is closer than at any point in recent memory in Germany. Borussia Dortmund sits in first place with 17 points this season but Leipzig, Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin are tied for second place with 14 points. Bayern Munich, who has suffered greatly early in the year, is below all of those teams in sixth place. Leipzig can further their case over the weekend with a win over Augsburg, a team that they have handled well in years past.
The team’s most recent win, 6-0 over Nurnberg, had manager Ralf Rangnick singing his team’s praises: “We’re over the moon with this result and the performance today. We wanted to keep the same tempo for the whole game and win lost of possession, and after doing this, we then created a lot of goal-scoring chances.”
That high-tempo style of football is something that Rangnick’s Leipzig team has made their trademark but fell short of delivering last season under Ralf Hasenhuttl. Perhaps it was the congestion of the Champions League and expectations weighing down the young team but this season they have performed the way many expected they would in the last campaign. Now, Augsburg is the destination and another chance for Leipzig to add their name as a force in the Bundesliga.
Steady as She Goes in Salzburg
It’s an understated story but Red Bull Salzburg are having one of the most dominating seasons in recent European Football memory. Aside from a hiccup that eliminated from the from UEFA Champions League playoff round, the team has been undefeated and even defeated the mother ship team RB Leipzig in the Europa League.
In the league they are dominant with 10 wins out of 10 games and sitting nine points clear of second place St Polten. Marco Rose’s side will pay a visit to Wacker Innsbruck, a team in eastern Austria. The opposition is 10th in the league but can pose a threat should Salzburg not take them seriously.
Several players are returning from international duty with some additional inspiration, including Munas Dabbur who played in Israel’s 2-1 UEFA Nations League win over Scotland. Takumi Minamino also shined as he scored three times against Panama and Uruguay for his home nation of Japan. Now, they return home to continue that run of form and put the league to bed before the holidays.