Red Bull have been handed the smallest of lifelines in the Bundesliga title race after Bayern Munich’s draw against Union Berlin. However, Nagelsmann’s side still has a lot of ground to make up in little time if they want to lift their first-ever league title. Next up for them, Hoffenheim.
The Julian Nagelsmann derby sees RB Leipzig face off against TSG Hoffenheim. While not an actual rivalry, the German head coach does share history with both teams. He has been in either dugout for all of the ten previous meetings between the two teams – seven with Hoffenheim and three with Leipzig. Having taken over at Leipzig in 2019, he has beaten his previous side all three times.
Despite impressing many with his coaching acumen, Nagelsmann is yet to win a top division league title. Leipzig have suffered from a series of near-misses under him and are looking at another second-place finish. That is unless a miracle is to take place over the course of the next six weeks.
Leipzig are currently on 60 points with 28 matches played, five behind league leaders – and perennial German champions – Bayern Munich. The Bavarians’ latest stalemate at Union Berlin, coupled with Leipzig’s massive win at Werder Bremen, reducing the deficit to where it currently stands.
Hoffenheim are going through a difficult season. They are currently 12th in the league table and have lost thirteen matches all season. Hoffenheim have collected a total of 31 points so far this campaign, but only one from their last four games. They are just five points clear of a relegation play-off spot, which is occupied by Arminia.
To make matters worse, Hoffenheim have a terrible recent record against Leipzig. Die Rotten Bullen have won five of their last six meetings and have drawn the other one. Hoffenheim are also without a win in five Bundesliga away matches – a theme constant in their season’s struggles.
While the outcome of the match is no guarantee, Leipzig will hope to take maximum points from this one. Any slip up at this stage would surely guarantee another title win for Bayern. Nagelsmann’s side have started to hit their stride at just the right time following a period of transition.
Leipzig went through an overly complicated process to sign Alexander Sorloth last summer, intending to replace Patrick Schick. The Norwegian did not hit the ground running but has developed into a key player recently. Sorloth started upfront for Naglesmann’s side in their recent win over Werder Bremen and scored two goals. He is up to six goals for the season and will be looking to get into double figures before the end.
This might be the final few times we see Marcel Sabitzer kit up in the red and white of Leipzig. The Austrian midfielder has been linked with a move away from the club, and with good reason. Sabitzer is a metronome in midfield for Die Rotten Bullen and is among their most important players. He has scored eight times this season already and is his side’s top scorer in the league.
Andrej Kramaric will likely go down in Hoffenheim history as one of the best players ever to play for the club.The Croatian striker became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Bundesliga in 2019. He is leading the club’s top scorer charts this season as well, with fourteen goals to his name in the league. Hoffenheim are dependent upon the striker to get the goals in most matches, and the one against Leipzig won’t be any different.
21-year-old Christoph Baumgartner is among the most promising players in the Bundesliga. The Austrian midfielder is a constant starter for Hoffenheim and has attracted glances from all over Europe. He has eight goals in all competitions this season, along with seven assists.
Hoffenheim have struggled to replace Naglesmann ever since his departure. The German tactician left to join Leipzig in 2019 and has helped the team to consecutive UEFA Champions League qualification. However, the young coach was hired to deliver Bundesliga success – a target he has failed to hit in his two years at the club.
Nonetheless, all is not lost yet. A series of results in their favour could turn the tide for Leipzig. Bayern Munich are just five points ahead of them but have lost top scorer Robert Lewandowski to an injury. Leipzig can take advantage of the situation, especially with the team finally coming together in the final weeks of the season.
Nagelsmann’s team should be able to beat their opponents Hoffenheim in the next match. Sebastian Hoeness’ side have struggled throughout the season and should not pose too many problems for the title chasers.