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Marco Rose has made a promising start at the Red Bull Arena and we fancy the favorites to come out on top in this one.
Back RB Leipzig to beat Augsburg and both teams to score on Saturday. (+170)
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RB Leipzig appear to be locked in a cycle. Upon taking charge of the club in 2019, Julian Nagelsmann determined that it was time for the team to evolve. They did not ditch their hard-running, heavy-pressing style of play, but under the tutelage of the current Bayern Munich boss, Leipzig added a little more possession and patience to their play.
Nagelsmann led the club to third- and second-place finishes in the Bundesliga, as well as to a DFB-Pokal final and the Champions League semi-finals. He inarguably did a good job. But his successor, Jesse Marsch, decided that Leipzig needed to go back to their roots. It was a case of harder, faster, stronger but not better: Marsch was sacked after a few disappointing months in charge.
His replacement was Domenico Tedesco, who was closer to Nagelsmann than Marsch on the sliding stylistic scale. But a poor start to the 2022/23 campaign saw the former Schalke boss out of a job, with Marco Rose appointed in his stead. As one has come to expect, Leipzig’s current boss immediately pushed back on his predecessor’s work and made the team more focused on quick transitions.
That is not to say that Rose is unconcerned by possession. He is certainly not a tactical extremist who believes in the counter-attack alone. But Leipzig’s squad contains several players who are well-suited to a transition-based game and Rose is taking advantage of that fact. So far, he has managed to strike a sensible balance.
Last month’s 3-0 victory over his former club Borussia Dortmund was the perfect illustration of that. That remains the standout result of his tenure, but Leipzig have since taken seven points from the last nine available and are beginning to climb up the table. A top-four finish is still eminently achievable for Leipzig this season.
Augsburg finished 14th in 2021/22 but it was far from a comfortable campaign. At the end of exactly half of the Bundesliga’s 34 game weeks, the Bavarian outfit were in the bottom three - either in one of the two automatic relegation spots or the sole relegation play-off place. Four wins in their final eight games were enough for Augsburg to finish five points clear of danger.
The aim of this term is to steer well clear of the basement battle - and the early signs in that regard are positive. Augsburg are yet to ditch the inconsistency that plagued their season last time out. They remain something of a boom-or-bust team, with just one draw in their first 10 games. But they certainly would have taken being just two points behind Leipzig going into matchday 11.
Augsburg are not out of the woods yet. The best online sportsbooks had them down as one of the favorites for relegation before a ball had been kicked, and they have not yet fully revised that view (although their odds have certainly lengthened).
Augsburg have pulled off some eye-catching results already this season, though. They beat Bayer Leverkusen away from home on matchday one, then stunned Bayern Munich - the reigning champions and overwhelming favorites for this year’s Bundesliga title - with a 1-0 win in front of their own fans at the WWK Arena.
Indeed, Augsburg have demonstrated an ability to cause upsets already this season, but we do not envisage another one this weekend. Their defeats of Leverkusen and Bayern were hugely impressive, but they came amid poor runs of form for their opponents.
Leipzig, conversely, are full of belief right now after three wins and a draw from Rose’s first five league games at the helm. They have also won their last two matches in the Champions League, climbing up to the second spot in Group F as a result. Leipzig will not be confident to the point of complacent on Saturday, but they are certainly in a better place than they were just a couple of months back.
Rather than backing a straightforward away win (click here for more on how to bet the moneyline), go for a Leipzig triumph and both teams to score. That bet is available at a much more attractive price, and recent evidence suggests it has a decent chance of coming through.
Augsburg have scored in each of their last five matches, including two goals in their most recent encounter against Koln. Leipzig have demonstrated plenty of firepower in their games under Rose with an average of 2.2 goals per Bundesliga match since the ex-Dortmund head coach took charge.
This should be an entertaining encounter, but fans of clean sheets might want to look elsewhere.
|Teams||Augsburg vs RB Leipzig|
|Location||WWK Arena, Augsburg, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 22 October 2022, 9.30 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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