With Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig going head-to-head on the Sign Iduna Park on Saturday, the place will the battle be received when the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho tackle Tyler Adams, Dayot Upamecano & Co.?
bundesliga.com casts an eye fixed over how the 2 sides stack up in opposition to one another.
Traces of assault
Hosts Dortmund are the league’s second-highest scorers behind leaders Bayern Munich, with their 66 objectives outstripping Leipzig’s 55 – ranked fifth within the Bundesliga – by 11 strikes. Each their xGoals price of 61.5 and 62 main possibilities over the course of the marketing campaign additionally outrank Leipzig’s returns of 57.5 and 55, respectively.
Of their 66 strikes, Haaland’s private return of 25 from 26 appearances accounts for 38 p.c. The Norwegian tends to attain in bulk, too, having hit 9 doubles this season and in addition bagged 4 in a single sitting in opposition to Hertha Berlin on Matchday 8. He’s additionally scored twice in every of his two outings in opposition to Leipzig.
Watch: Erling Haaland named April Participant of the Month!
After his newest brace within the win over Wolfsburg – one which put Dortmund firmly again within the working for a UEFA Champions League spot – interim boss Edin Terzic mirrored: “We all know Erling is a prime ahead. If he will get a lot of possibilities, then the likelihood he’ll rating may be very excessive. He didn’t have so many possibilities right now, however he was very scientific for us.”
The return of Haaland’s partner-in-crime, Sancho, to the first-team fold following harm provides much more efficiency to the Dortmund assault. His six league objectives are the membership’s subsequent highest after Haaland, whereas the Londoner’s 9 assists imply he’s been concerned in no fewer than 15 of Dortmund’s objectives – or 22 p.c.
Sancho has performed an element in 5 objectives in 5 video games in opposition to Leipzig (two objectives, three assists), however whereas BVB are extra reliant on this supercharged duo, Julian Nagelsmann’s facet have delivered their 2021/22 scoring extra by committee.
It’s Emil Forsberg, Marcel Sabitzer (each seven) and Christopher Nkunku (six) who’ve had essentially the most success in entrance of aim for Leipzig, whereas Angelino – a defender by commerce – has been concerned in additional RBL objectives than any of his teammates in all competitions; 19 (eight objectives, 11 assists).
It exhibits that Nagelsmann’s prices can muster up objectives from wherever on the pitch, however and not using a deadly-duo similar to Haaland and Sancho to depend on week-in, week-out, they do fall brief when held immediately up in opposition to Dortmund’s assault.
A case for the defence
Leipzig actually excel on the different finish of the pitch although, they usually have conceded simply 25 objectives from 31 matchdays going into the assembly with Dortmund. It means they boast the league’s most miserly defence – conceding seven fewer occasions than next-best Wolfsburg and having shipped 17 objectives lower than their Matchday 32 opponents.
All of it begins with goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi who has saved a league-high 15 clear sheets in 31 appearances this time period. The 30-year-old informed bundesliga.com lately that he believed his performances now make him probably the greatest ‘keepers in Europe – one thing few would disagree with – however that the whole defence deserves to take credit score for these shutouts.“
After all, to have 11 clear sheets doesn’t simply present that you’ve goalkeeper, it means that you’ve workforce in entrance of you, and workforce who’s defending properly,” he stated, previous to forcing Hoffenheim and Stuttgart into firing additional blanks. “For me, it’s a very essential side of our recreation.”
Watch: Peter Gulacsi’s top-5 saves
Certainly it’s, and the presence of the likes of Upamecano, Lukas Klostermann, Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban in entrance of him make for imposing roadblocks. And that’s earlier than you issue within the affect of Angelino, Marcel Halstenberg, Benjamin Henrichs and Nordi Mukiele on the flanks of Nagelsmann’s most well-liked three-man defence.
Dortmund’s backline is rather less settled, particularly in aim the place Roman Bürki (16 video games, 4 clear sheets) and Marwin Hitz (15 video games, seven clear sheets) have shared duties between the sticks.
Issues have been extra constant in entrance of them, however – as soon as once more – it’s from an attacking sense that Dortmund’s defence stands out. No centre-back has extra objectives than Mats Hummels (5) to date in 2020/21, whereas Raphaël Guerreiro’s eight assists are solely bettered by Borna Sosa (9) with regards to provisions by defenders.
A defender’s principal job is to defend, nevertheless, which supplies Leipzig the sting in a tantalising battle between a red-hot assault and a razor-sharp defence.
Dayot Upamecano (r.) has been central to RB Leipzig boasting the perfect defence within the league this season. – Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Assortment by way of Getty Pictures
The midfield minefield
The place the opposite two areas of the pitch level to pretty convincing arguments as to who edges the encounter, the midfield is extra difficult. Each side supply each craft and graft in equal measure, and have severe engine rooms that recommend the battle could finally be determined in the midst of the pitch.
Axel Witsel’s season-ending harm in Dortmund’s 3-1 win on this fixture’s reverse appeared an actual blow, however BVB have handled the Belgian’s absence fantastically. Jude Bellingham’s emergence has been startling, however the Englishman will once more miss out in opposition to Leipzig – he was injured after they met in January – because of the primary crimson card of his profession final day out.
However all is much from misplaced, with Emre Can or Thomas Delaney capable of step into midfield alongside Mahmoud Dahoud – one other glorious performer over the course of the again finish of the season – and captain Marco Reus, who has dropped ever so barely deeper in latest weeks, to excellent impact.
Within the Leipzig ranks, their skipper Sabitzer has equally discovered success a nudge additional again and is flourishing alongside considered one of Adams or Kevin Kampl. Each of which make for high-quality firm and have allowed Dani Olmo and Amadou Haidara to have a better affect in attacking areas.
Watch: Battle of the Buddies: Reyna vs. Adams
It’s very like how Dortmund’s strong base offers Gio Reyna and Sancho the liberty to trigger. That is the place Dahoud has been a breath of contemporary air over the previous couple of months and he has featured in all 14 of the workforce’s earlier 14 Bundesliga matchdays after making simply 5 appearances throughout the primary 18 weeks of the season.“
It isn’t straightforward whenever you haven’t performed for a very long time. You attempt to get again within the groove, you simply attempt to play, you attempt to get extra confidence,” he informed Dortmund’s Matchday Journal in February. “Should you play each recreation, you may maintain enhancing – and that’s what I’m making an attempt to do proper now.”
Going up in opposition to Sabitzer & Co. shall be an actual check of Dahoud’s latest growth and, such is the standard throughout each groups’ midfield, that battle between each events won’t solely make for fascinating viewing, however might show decisive.