RB Leipzig is eager to recover from three straight losses when they play host to Union Berlin on Sunday.
On the other hand, the visitors have put a five-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone after beating SV Darmstadt 98 last weekend.
The winter break seemed to come at the worst time for Leipzig, who had a six-point lead over Borussia Dortmund for a Champions League spot during the holiday season. However, three losses in a row have dropped them outside the top four.
Their most recent loss, a 5-2 defeat to third-place Stuttgart, was particularly hard to take. Benjamin Sesko’s goal made it 2-1 at halftime, but Deniz Undav’s hat-trick in the second half sealed the win for Stuttgart.
With Dortmund playing Heidenheim, Leipzig could be further behind in the race for Champions League qualification. They need to start winning again quickly to keep their hopes of playing in Europe’s top competition for the sixth year in a row alive.
Facing Real Madrid later this month will be a tough challenge for Marco Rose’s team, especially given their current form. But positive results against Union Berlin and Augsburg could change their outlook.
Union Berlin got kicked out of the Champions League in the group stage in their first season in the competition. After finishing fourth last season, their legendary manager Urs Fischer was fired following a poor start this season.
Nenad Bjelica has since taken over and has found some stability, winning three and drawing one of his six league matches. Aside from a close 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich, Bjelica’s only major setback was a 3-0 loss to VfL Bochum.
Benedict Hollerbach’s goal gave Union Berlin a narrow win over Darmstadt in an important match for avoiding relegation, with Union Berlin taking 21 shots during the game. Despite a tense finish, they managed to hold on for the win.
Having not scored in their last five away games in the Bundesliga, Union Berlin faces a tough challenge against Leipzig. However, this might be the best time to play Leipzig, even though Union will have seen three teams below them play on Saturday.
RB Leipzig Bundesliga Form:
RB Leipzig Form (All Competitions):
Union Berlin Bundesliga Form:
Union Berlin Form (All Competitions):
Leipzig will miss Mohamed Simakan due to a suspension. Benjamin Henrichs is expected to replace him as right-back.
Xavi Simons is set to return from injury, playing on the right wing, but Amadou Haidara is still with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Union Berlin won’t have Josip Juranovic because of a muscle injury. Kevin Behrens, Jerome Roussillon, and Kevin Volland are doubtful, which might limit Bjelica’s attacking options.
Behrens, who left the Darmstadt game early with a knee issue, might be replaced by Chris Bedia if he can’t play.
RB Leipzig Possible Starting Lineup:
Henrichs, Klostermann, Lukeba, Raum;
Simons, Seiwald, Schlager, Olmo;
Union Berlin Possible Starting Lineup:
Knoche, Vogt, Leite;
Trimmel, Tousart, Kral, Schafer, Gosens;
Prediction: RB Leipzig 2-1 Union Berlin
Union Berlin has gotten back some defensive strength under Bjelica, but their performance away from home is still lacking this season. Leipzig has had a tough time since the winter break, but they’re too talented for this slump to last.
We predict Leipzig will find a way to win on Sunday, but Union Berlin will make them work for it.