Top meets bot­tom as Leipzig face In­gol­stadt

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

BER­LIN:

Bot­tom faces top to­day when base­ment dwellers In­gol­stadt host un­beaten Bun­desliga lead­ers RB Leipzig, who are chas­ing an eight straight win to keep Bay­ern Mu­nich off the top. RB Leipzig’s coach Ralph Hassen­huettl returns to In­gol­stadt, who he left in May hav­ing taken them from the bot­tom of the sec­ond divi­sion to Ger­many’s top flight in his three sea­sons. In­gol­stadt, who have slipped down to 18th in the tablea fter their 2-1 de­feat at Werder Bre­men, have yet to win a match at home this sea­son.Leipzig, mean­while, have the best away record in the Bun­desli­gaw­ith five wins and two draws.

RB are the surprise pack­age this sea­son and have now been top of the ta­ble since Bay­ern’s 10 de­feat at Borus­sia Dort­mund a fort­night ago. Timo Werner, the club’s top scorer with eight goals, has been in the spot­light for the wrong rea­sons this week.Af­ter be­ing awarded a penalty just 19 sec­onds into last Satur­day’s 2-1 win at home to Schalke, re­plays showed Werner dived. Sec­ond-placed Bay­ern Mu­nich host VfL Wolfs­burg on Satur­day in a re­peat of the match which broke four Bun­desliga records last sea­son when Robert Le­wandowski scored five goals in nine min­utes.

Bay­ern’s Ger­many for­ward Thomas Mueller is with­out a Bun­desliga goal is his 12 games so far, while Le­wandowski has been reg­u­larly hit­ting the net. The Poland hot-shot net­ted twice in last Fri­day’s 3-1 win at Mainz be­fore drilling in the win­ning goal in Tues­day’s 1-0 home win against Atletico Madrid in the Cham­pi­ons League. Wolfs­burg are strug­gling with just two wins this sea­son to leave them just two points from the rel­e­ga­tion zone and their Ger­many for­wards Ju­lian Draxler and Mario Gomez have failed to gel. They have picked up just four league points since Va­le­rien Is­mael re­placed Di­eter Heck­ing as head coach in October.

Cologne host a Borus­sia Dort­mund side buoyed by their 4-1 romp at home to Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach last Satur­day and Wed­nes­day’s 2-2 draw at Real Madrid. Both Cologne and Dort­mund are just out­side the Bun­desliga’s top five. Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang net­ted twice to leave him as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals so far, while Cologne crashed to a 4-0 drub­bing at Hof­fen­heim last week­end. The match pits the league’s top strik­ers against each other with Anthony Modeste hav­ing hit 12 goals in 13 league games. Both Aubameyang and Marco Reus are in form as the pair both scored at Real. An­dre Schu­bert is in dan­ger of be­com­ing the sixth Bun­desliga coach fired this sea­son and his Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach badly need a win at Mainz on Sun­day. Glad­bach are win­less in their last eight games fol­low­ing Tues­day’s 4-0 trash­ing at Barcelona. Schu­bert’s side are cur­rently 13th, five points from the rel­e­ga­tion places, and their last league win was in late Septem­ber.

Di­rec­tor of sport Max Eberl says Glad­bach’s next three Bun­desliga games, against bot­tomhalf clubs Mainz, Augs­burg and Wolfs­burg are cru­cial. Fourth-placed Hof­fen­heim, who along with Leipzig are the league’s only un­beaten teams, are at Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt on Fri­day with both sides on 25 points. Un­der Ju­lian Nagels­mann, the youngest coach in Bun­desliga his­tory at 29, are one of the league’s surprise pack­ages this sea­son. — AFP Ger­man Bun­desliga ta­ble ahead of the week­end’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): RB Leipzig 13 10 3 0 29 11 33 Bay­ern Mu­nich 13 9 3 1 299 30 Hertha Ber­lin 13 8 3 2 22 13 27 Hof­fen­heim 13 6 7 0 25 14 25 E Frank­furt 13 7 4 2 19 11 25 BDort­mund 13 7 3 3 31 15 24 Cologne 13 6 4 3 18 12 22 Schalke 04 13 5 2 6 18 15 17 B Lev­erkusen 13 5 2 6 20 21 17 Mainz 05 13 5 2 6 23 25 17 Freiburg 13 5 1 7 17 25 16 Augs­burg 13 3 5 5 11 15 14 Bor. M.glad­bach 13 3 4 6 13 22 13 Werder Bre­men 13 3 2 8 17 32 11 VfL Wolfs­burg 13 2 4 7 12 18 10 Darm­stadt 98 13 2 2 9 11 26 8 Ham­burg 13 1 4 8 10 27 7 In­gol­stadt 04 13 1 3 9 10 24 6

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