Bundesliga: RB Leipzig hungry for revenge against Bayern Munich; Cologne face in-form Bayer Leverkusen
RB Leipzig head to Bayern Munich this Saturday for a rematch of their German Cup clash.
Berlin: Timo Werner will be looking for redemption when RB Leipzig travel to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga this Saturday.
The 21-year-old striker missed the decisive penalty in the shootout as Bayern knocked Leipzig out of the German Cup on Wednesday.
Werner is expected to return to the starting XI on Saturday, having started on the bench in midweek. He and his team will be out for immediate revenge in the Allianz Arena.
Third in the table and just a point behind Bayern, victory would also see Leipzig edge ahead of their rivals in the Bundesliga title race.
Both sides currently sit behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who hope to return to winning ways when they host Hanover 96.
Here are five things to look out for on this Bundesliga weekend:
Emotional rematch in Munich
Emotions are sure to run high when RB Leipzig head to Munich this Saturday, after tensions boiled over during Wednesday’s cup clash.
Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick squabbled with Bayern players at half-time, while coach Ralph Hasenhuettl accused the referee of "double standards".
The team played 65 of the 120 minutes with ten men on Wednesday, after Naby Keita’s red card, and Hasenhuettl is expected to rotate his exhausted squad. Werner, Lukas Klostermann and Diego Demme should all return to the starting line-up.
"It will be a very difficult game (on Saturday)," said Leipzig forward Marcel Sabitzer. "We will need to push ourselves to the limit. The only good thing is that Bayern have also had to play 120 minutes."
Dortmund just want to have fun
Borussia Dortmund head to Hanover in good spirits on Saturday, having picked up their first win in four games with a midweek victory over Magdeburg.
Dortmund still top the Bundesliga, but their five-point lead has evaporated in recent weeks, following defeat by RB Leipzig and a 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bosz had been accused of reckless tactics after the string of disappointing results, but vowed this week that he would not change his philosophy. "The system was working at the beginning of the season," Bosz protested. "It was fun to watch, and fun for the players."
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Goetze are expected to return to the starting team against Hanover.
Crisis over in Cologne?
Still bottom of the table and without a win this season, Cologne face an in-form Bayer Leverkusen side in the Rhine Derby on Saturday.
After the shock departure of sporting director Joerg Schmadtke last week, victory in the cup against Hertha Berlin has given Cologne hope ahead of the derby.
The relegation-threatened club have beaten their local rivals just once since 2011, and they should expect no mercy from Leverkusen this time around. "It sounds tough, but if Cologne are already on the ground, we should keep kicking them," said Leverkusen striker Julian Brandt.
Thorgan Hazard’s winner fired Borussia Moenchengladbach into the next round of the German Cup on Tuesday, and the Belgian has promised more of the same against Hoffenheim this weekend. "This was just the beginning," said Hazard. "I’ve struggled to take my chances lately, so it was a liberation to score."
Victory would see Gladbach overtake Hoffenheim, who are currently in fourth, but have won just one of their last five competitive games.
Rising star Goretzka
Fellow top four contenders Schalke host Wolfsburg on Saturday, with their hopes pinned on rising midfield star Leon Goretzka.
The 22-year-old has scored Schalke’s opener in each of the last three games, and is looking ever more likely to secure a place in Germany’s World Cup squad next summer. Goretzka missed out on Schalke’s cup win over Wiesbaden in midweek due to muscular problems, but is expected to return to action against Wolfsburg.
Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)
Bayer Leverkusen v Cologne, Hanover 96 v Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin v Hamburg, Hoffenheim v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Schalke 04 v Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig (1630)
Werder Bremen v Augsburg (1530), Stuttgart v Freiburg (1800)
Premier League: Pep Guardiola 'not going to apologise' for asking Manchester City fans to fill empty seats
The City boss said this week that he wanted a bigger crowd at Saturday's home game against Southampton than the 38,062 who watched his side's 6-3 Champions League win over RB Leipzig in midweek.
Manchester City have scored at least five goals in each of their last four home games in all competitions. Next in the firing line at Etihad Stadium is Southampton
The 33-year-old Lewandowski has a Bayern contract until June 2023 and despite having often been linked to a move to Real Madrid in the past, he told reporters that he "doesn't need to prove myself in another league".