RB Leipzig vs Augsburg – Friday, February 9, 19:30 GMT/20:30CET – Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany.
The Friday night fixture in the Bundesliga always sets the tone for the entire matchday. With two top sides clashing this Friday will be no different as seventh-placed Augsburg travels East to Leipzig where they will face the third-placed Roten Bullen.
Augsburg have been one of the most positive surprises this season, and with 31-points the Bavarian-Swabians are just three points behind Leipzig in the current standings. In fact, a recent run of good form, epitomised by a 3-0 victory on matchday 21 over Eintracht Frankfurt, has catapulted Augsburg among the candidates for a European place at the end of the season.
Finishing in the top seven would result in Augsburg’s second European campaign after reaching the round of 32 in the Europa League, where they were narrowly eliminated by Liverpool, during the 2015-16 campaign. With 13 games left in the campaign, however, it might be still a bit too early to dream about European nights.
Leipzig in the meantime will feel that their European aspirations are back on track after beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0 on matchday 21. A late Ademola Lookman strike produced the winner for die Roten Bullen in what was in truth a mediocre game by both sides.
Leipzig have somewhat lacked the consistency of last season. With several critical injuries and additional games in Europe, Leipzig may have just reached a bit of a ceiling in the recent development that has taken them from the Regionalliga all the way to the Champions League in five years. As a result, sporting director Ralf Rangnick is now making changes to the club’s player development, which should result in more squad depth thanks to a better youth program.
In the short-term return to European football is paramount for Leipzig’s development. Although Augsburg have shown this season that they can upset the applecart, Leipzig will be warned from the Frankfurt result and will likely collect all three points in this game.
RB Leipzig vs Augsburg – Player to look out for:
Konrad Laimer #27 – RB Leipzig
Brought in from RB Salzburg this summer Konrad Laimer was understood to become Naby Keïta’s long-term replacement. In truth, the two are too different for Laimer to efficiently fulfil a holding midfield role the same way as Keïta has done for the club in the last 18-months. Although voted the best player in the Austrian Bundesliga previous season Laimer also struggled to get past Kevin Kampl and Diego Demme in midfield. Leipzig head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl has, however, found a new position for the Austrian. Reacting to the many injuries in the squad Laimer has been converted to a right-back where he has excelled in recent weeks.
Daniel Baier #10 – FC Augsburg
An 1860 München prospect Daniel Baier has become FC Augsburg’s most recognised player. Joining the club in 2010 Baier has played 286 games for Augsburg and is now the side’s captain. A leader on the pitch the 33-year-old defensive midfielder is crucial when it comes to Augsburg’s playing style. Like a metronome, Baier keeps the team together and is also not shy of emotionally leading the squad when necessary.
RB Leipzig vs Augsburg – Match Stats
- Leipzig have won four out of five Friday night games.
- The only time Leipzig have dropped points on a Friday night was on March 3, 2017, in a 2-2 draw against Augsburg.
- Augsburg Daniel Baier and Leipzig’s Dominik Kaiser could celebrate their 100th victory with their respective clubs.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: RB Leipzig vs Augsburg – 2-0
RB Leipzig vs Augsburg – Possible Lineups
Gulacsi – Laimer, Orban, Upamecano, Klostermann – Demme – Kampl, Keita – Sabitzer, Bruma – Werner
Coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl
Hitz – Danso, Khedira, Hinteregger – Framberger, Moravek, Baier, Max – Koo – Gregoritsch, Caiuby
Coach: Manuel Baum
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.