It will be a clash between two upstarts of German football at the Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, this Saturday. RB Leipzig, the first team side from East Germany to enter Bundesliga after the Berlin Wall came down in 1990, have climbed five divisions since 2009 to make it the premier German league. Not just that, they have challenged Bundesliga giants,Bayern,for the top place of the table and currently share 33 points with the Munich-based giants, much to the chagrin of German football purists. No less sensational has been the case of Hertha BSC, who have been in and out of the Bundesliga since 2010. Placed at 11th last season, the Berliners are up there in the 3rd spot in the ongoing 2016-17 season with 27 points to their credit.
Hertha’s title aspirations received a jolt when they unexpectedly succumbed to a lowly Werder Bremen 0-1 at home at the Olympiastadion Berlin. Similar was the weekend story of RB Leipzig who lost to relegation candidates, 17th placed Ingolstadt 0-1 in an away game, thus allowing Bayern Munich to move to the top of the table. This was remarkably Leipzig’s first loss of the season and a minor setback to the East German club’s confidence going into Saturday’s clash with Hertha. Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg Leipzig’s top scorers with 8 and 5 goals, who were sloppy in their finishing in the Ingolstadt game, could be back in their elements at the Red Bull arena on Saturday. Leipzig dominated 70 per cent of possession against Ingolstadt but were unable to score. Their defence was not able to stop the only shot on target by Ingolstadt from finding the back of the net.
For Hertha, Vedad Ibisevic will be expected to get the side much needed goals, but the Berlin club’s sloppy defensive showing in recent outings (4 goals let in from their last 3 games) could let them down at Leipzig. The host have won in all but one of their last six home games, the odd one out being a 1-1 draw to Borussia Mönchengladbach in September. Despite their 3rd ranking on the Bundesliga table, Hertha’s performance on the road has been average. The Berliners have won just two of their seven away games, their two wins being against lower bottom half teams, Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg.
Of the three times these two have met in the German 2 Division league since 2015-16, both have managed a victory each and played out a 1-1 draw. Barring the unexpected, the table-topping hosts should not have much difficulty prevailing over Hertha at the Red Bull Arena on December 17.
Leipzig to WIN, best odds 1.7 @ Paddypower