RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich: CONFIRMED teams, match stats and LIVE blog!
Sadio Mane misses out, but Jamal Musiala can be expected to keep Josko Gvardiol busy when Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich visit third-placed RB Leipzig on Friday (kick-off: 8.30pm CET).
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Thanks in no small part to Christopher Nkunku’s eight goals in the final eight games of 2022, Leipzig ended the calendar year as one of the Bundesliga’s form sides, climbing from 11th to third with 23 points collected under the guidance of Marco Rose. An injury in November denied the Frenchman his place at the World Cup, however, and he has not yet made a full recovery as league action resumes, leaving Rose with a key change to make. Dani Olmo could be the answer to Rose’s prayers, with the Spanish attacking midfielder shining for his country at the World Cup and ready to kick on domestically. The knee injury which disrupted his season appears to be a thing of the past, and if Rose can do the same with him that he did with Nkunku – pushing him into a more focal, advanced role – he may fancy the chances of adding to his sole goal of the season. Gvardiol was another player to impress in Qatar, and the Croatian defender will lead from the back, with Abdou Diallo and David Raum only fit enough for the bench. Club captain and first-choice goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is still sidelined with a knee injury. Back-up Janis Blaswich has had a calf issue, but is passed fit to start. Timo Werner, having missed the World Cup with ligament damage, is back on the bench.
That is an area where Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann must also make a change, with Manuel Neuer’s season ended by a freak skiing accident. Sven Ulreich deputised for the Germany No.1 in 2017/18 but it is new signing Yann Sommer, freshly arrived from league rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach on the eve of the game, who is between the posts for this one. Neuer’s not the only injury to affect the league leaders coming into the new year. Lucas Hernandez tore cruciate knee ligaments during the World Cup, which is why experienced campaigner Daley Blind was signed and the Dutchman could make an immediate debut, though Alphonso Davies is given the nod on the left-hand side of the defence. He does not have Sadio Mane in front of him, though, with the Senegalese forward still sidelined. So it's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting leading the attack and looking to add to his six goals in as many games at the end of 2022. Musiala, with his nine goals and six assists making him the league’s most dangerous player so far this season, has Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry for company in attack. Thomas Müller is among the substitutes.
• Nkunku scored 25 Bundesliga goals in the 2022 calendar year – more than any other player – while he is the league’s top scorer so far this season with 12.
• Since Rose became head coach of Leipzig in September, no club has picked up more points (23) in those 10 games; Bayern also have 23.
• Leipzig have only won one of 15 meetings with Bayern to date.
• After Musiala, Serge Gnabry is Bayern's next best scorer in 2022/23, with eight Bundesliga goals.
• Former Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is the only Bayern player to have appeared in all 15 Bundesliga games of the season.
• Bayern have won their last six league games – the longest winning streak of any club in the Bundesliga this season.
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