The Bundesliga will return with a bang this weekend as RB Leipzig put their 100 percent record on the line with a home game against defending champions FC Bayern München on Saturday evening.
The Bundesliga will return with a bang this week as RB Leipzig put their 100 percent record on the line with a home game against defending champions FC Bayern München on Saturday evening.
Leipzig has made a brilliant start under new coach Julian Nagelsmann, going top of the table before the recent international break. The team that finished third last term had never won their opening three league matches before, but that’s exactly what they did this season when they beat 1. FC Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
No Leipzig player had scored five goals in the first three games before Germany striker Timo Werner did, and no one at the club had ever got four assists in that timeframe-before Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. Leipzig’s flying form means they lead the standings by two points from record champions Bayern, who are still unbeaten themselves after two wins and a draw so far.
No Leipzig player had scored five goals in the first three games before Germany striker Timo Werner did, and no one at the club had ever got four assists in that time frame-before Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. Leipzig’s flying form means they lead the standings by two points from record champions Bayern, who are still unbeaten themselves after two wins and a draw so far.
Their star forward Robert Lewandowski, the Bundesliga’s leading goalscorer last season, once again tops the scoring charts with six goals to date. One feature of the top two’s battle will be the abundance of French talent on show. The Bundesliga has long been a great league for French flair–think Franck Ribery, Ousmane Dembele and Sebastien Haller –and no fewer than nine players from the home of the 2018 world champions could play the Red Bull Arena.
Visitors Bayern have five Frenchmen, and three of them were part of Les Bleus’ FIFA World Cup-winning squad in Russia last year. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez moved to Munich from VfB Stuttgart and Atletico Madrid this summer to bolster the champions’ backline. Corentin Tolisso looks back to his best after recovering from the cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for much of last season.
Mickael Cuisance is one for the future, but winger Kingsley Coman is definitely a clear and present danger for Leipzig. The 23-year-old has extra responsibility following the retirement of Arjen Robben and departure of Ribery.
Coman, who only missed the World Cup through injury, is surely someone the home side have to stop –especially after his three goals in two matches for France this month. Luckily for Leipzig, they have an excess of French talent at the back. Ibrahima Konate was part of the meanest defense in the Bundesliga last season, and the 20-year-old has won 100 percent of his aerial duels this season. He also has a pass accuracy of 94 percent so far, clearly thriving alongside compatriot Nordi Mukiele in the three-man backline that Nagelsmann has often opted for.
Like Konate, Dayot Upamecano is a towering 20-year-old France U21 international, while midfielder Christopher Nkunku has already got one goal since his summer move from PSG.
Matchday 4 will start with unbeaten VfL Wolfsburg hoping to go top –at least temporarily –when they travel to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Friday. Just behind the Wolves in the table, there’s another huge clash between fourth and fifth when last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund host fellow UEFA Champions League hopefuls Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday.
It will see best friends Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz –former teammates in Leverkusen –come up against each other at the Signal Iduna Park. There is also the small matter of the first Rhine derby of the season as Cologne host Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday afternoon. Just over 50 kilometers –30 miles –separate the two rivals who will meet at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Elsewhere on Matchday 4, Fortuna Düsseldorf host VfL Wolfsburg in the opening fixture on Friday night. 1. FSV Mainz 05 host Hertha Berlin, FC Augsburg will face Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Union Berlin takes on SV Werder Bremen on Saturday.
On Sunday, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play host to Sport-Club Freiburg before SC Paderborn 07 face FC Schalke 04 to wrap-up the action.