Created on 2018-12-18 at 15:53 PM
2018 is drawing to a close, but the last home match of the year is a cracker. FC Bayern entertain RB Leipzig on Wednesday evening (live in English from 20.30 CET on our exclusive fcbayern.com ticker). The Saxony outfit are fourth in the Bundesliga table, two points short of Bayern in third place.
The Bavarians aim to stretch the gap and apply pressure at the top. Another interesting aspect of the duel is that RB's play is similar to Liverpool's, Bayern's Champions League last sixteen opponents. "Leipzig have the same basic ideas [as Liverpool], quick transitions with quick players who can make life difficult for their opponents," explained Kovac at the press conference on the eve of the match.
Bayern aim to stifle exactly that: "We must eliminate Leipzig's strengths. We mustn't play into their hands. We'll prepare our team for that. But my team aren't taking on RB for the first time," added the FCB coach. The sides have met two times at the Allianz Arena so far, Bayern winning both matches.
Kovac is confident Bayern will win the third one on Wednesday. Apart from long-term absentees James Rodríguez, Corentin Tolisso and Arjen Robben, he has all players at his disposal, including Franck Ribéry, who took a breather against Hannover 96. Besides, the last few matches, especially the 4-0 victory over Hannover last weekend, have boosted Bayern's confidence.
Festive conclusion to the year
"We must display the same strengths as we did against Hannover and show we're on an upward trend. If we play like that it'll be hard to stop us," demanded the 47-year-old. Bayern's strong display came at an inconvenient time for Leipzig: "Bayern are back on top form every time we go to Munich," complained Timo Werner. RB have to make do without Marcel Sabitzer, who is sitting out a one-match suspension. Midfielder Kevin Kampl is rated doubtful with a bruised thigh.
But Leipzig will "go there with our heads held high and give it everything," said captain Willi Orban. The fans have reason to look forward to a true cracker. The Bayern players aim to bow out to the fans after the last home match of the year, preferably with three points.