Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Bundesliga clash between Union Berlin and RB Leipzig, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The visitors, meanwhile, have lost one and won one of their first two league games, so they have an opportunity to move level on points with their opponents.
However, Union Berlin will almost certainly take some stopping on Sunday, with Urs Fischer‘s side scoring four times in each of their opening three matches of the season.
Astoria Walldorf were swatted aside 4-0 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal before Die Eisernen defeated Mainz 05 on the opening matchday of the 2023-24 Bundesliga campaign, with Kevin Behrens firing in a hat-trick at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.
The 32-year-old added to his goalscoring tally for the season during his side’s 4-1 victory away to recently promoted SV Darmstadt 98 last weekend, with Robin Gosens scoring a brace inside the first half on his debut, before Danilho Doekhi made sure of the points after the hour mark.
While Fischer would have expected his side to defeat their opponents, claiming all three points after Brendan Aaronson‘s 21st-minute dismissal had left them with one man fewer for the majority of the encounter was mightily impressive, especially as Darmstadt equalised three minutes later.
They will surely need to keep all 11 men on the pitch if they are to stand a chance of making it three wins from three against Leipzig, who they will consider to be a Champions League qualification rival this season.
Indeed, Leipzig edged out Union Berlin by a point in a lengthy battle to finish fourth two seasons ago, before the two teams finished third and fourth respectively to both qualify for Europe’s elite competition.
Despite losing the likes of If Guardiol, Dominik Szoboszlai and Christopher Nkunku in big money moves to Premier League sides during the summer transfer window, The Red Bulls will expect to be in the mix at the top end of the table once again this season, while aiming to lift the DFB-Pokal for the third successive campaign.
After losing 3-2 to Bayer Leverkusen on the opening weekend, Marco Rose‘s side bounced back in some style to thrash Stuttgart 5-1 last Friday, with five different goalscorers getting themselves on the scoresheet during a one-sided second half after Serhou Guirassy‘s 35th-minute strike had given the visitors a marginal half-time lead.
Rose will not want to see his side have to come from behind once again when they arrive in the capital on Sunday, with their forthcoming opponents arguably the most dogged and resolute team in German football at present. Likewise, Leipzig can ill-afford to fall six points off the pace aleady, especially with Bayern and Leverkusen both looking likely to retain perfect records ahead of the international break.
Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
Union Berlin form (all competitions):
RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
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Union Berlin will be without Aaronson for one match due to suspension after his red card against Darmstadt, while Doekhi and David Fofana were substituted due to head and muscle injuries respectively and may not be risked this weekend.
If that is the case, they will join Sheraldo Becker, Laurenz Dehl, Janik Haberer, Andras Schafer, Rani Khedira and Lucas Tousart on a busy treatment table, making their start to the season all the more admirable. Paul Jaeckel, Theoson Siebatcheu and Kevin Volland will be on stand-by to come into the side, with Fischer potentially having to start with three forwards given his lack of midfield options.
Legendary defender Leonardo Bonucci is unlikely to be thrown straight into the starting XI after the Italy international completed his shock move from Juventus on a free transfer on deadline day.
Leipzig, meanwhile, will travel without Peter Gulasci, Amdou Haidara, Andrew Silva, El Chadaille Bitshiabu and Caden Clark due to injury, but Rose will hope to have Luke Klostermann and Yussuf Poulsen both available despite them suffering minor muscle strains against Stuttgart.
Timo Werner would likely replace Poulsen should the Dane be struck down by injury once again, with new signings Benjamin Sesco and Christopher Baumgartner both having to be patient at present before working their way into the starting XI.
Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Ronnow; Jaeckel, Knoche, Leite; Juranovic, Laidouni, Kral, Gosens; Siebatcheu, Behrens, Volland
RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
blowwich; Henrichs, Simakan, Orban, Raum; Simons, Kampl, Schlager, Olmo; Openda, Werner
We say: Union Berlin 1-2 RB Leipzig
Union Berlin are missing a ridiculous amount of players through injury at present, which is a shame as it would be great to see both of these sides face each other at full-strength.
Although the hosts have looked mightily impressive so far this season – and indeed over the course of their previous three campaigns at this level since gaining promotion – we can envisage Leipzig taking advantage of their opponent’s busy treatment table by edging to a tight victory on Sunday.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.