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BVB have made a solid start to the season and the odds on an away win are too attractive to pass up.
Back Borussia Dortmund to beat RB Leipzig on Saturday. (+175)
In 2021/22 Domenico Tedesco turned RB Leipzig’s season around. Jesse Marsch, now in charge of Leeds United in the Premier League, struggled to fill Julian Nagelsmann’s shoes at the Red Bull Arena. He was dismissed at the beginning of December following defeat by Union Berlin, Leipzig’s third loss in a row. That result left them in 11th place as the winter break approached. Many wrote off Leipzig’s chances of a top-four finish and predicted that Europa League qualification was the best they could hope for.
Yet Tedesco made an immediate impact. Four victories in his first six matches at the helm lifted the mood around the club. Tedesco’s side gave Bayern Munich a game at the Allianz Arena, losing 3-2 in a thrilling encounter, and then took 23 points from the next 27 available. Leipzig finished fourth and secured their place in the group stage of the Champions League. If the season had begun when Tedesco took charge, they would have finished as runners-up. And just for good measure, he won the DFB-Pokal too.
It is therefore safe to say that no one saw Leipzig’s start to this season coming. Just one win in their first five games has left them playing catch-up already. And Tedesco paid the ultimate price for his team’s poor form: he was sacked soon after Leipzig were thrashed 4-1 by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday. He has been replaced by Marco Rose, the man who was fired by Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season.
What went wrong for Tedesco? Perhaps the writing was on the wall as soon as he turned down the offer of a contract extension in the summer. Tedesco’s chopping and changing of formations made Leipzig incoherent. It is now up to Rose to turn the situation around, much like his predecessor did last term.
Borussia Dortmund have more points to their name than Bayern Munich right now. That will probably not be the case after 34 rounds of fixtures, with the reigning champions once again the strong favorites to win the title this term. But BVB will still be pleased with how they have begun the campaign, especially as Bayern looked infallible after three wins in the first three matches.
During that period BVB suffered a demoralizing 3-2 defeat by Werder Bremen, despite Edin Terzic’s side being 2-0 up going into the 89th minute. It was a stunning collapse from Dortmund, but one that was not entirely uncharacteristic.
That result hinted at an underlying vulnerability which, it was predicted, would leave BVB trailing in Bayern’s wake pretty quickly. Instead, back-to-back draws for Nagelsmann’s men has allowed Dortmund and Freiburg to climb above them.
Consecutive 1-0 wins is exactly what Dortmund fans wanted. The performances against Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim will not live too long in the memory, but Terzic’s charges got the job done with a minimum of fuss. Confidence was boosted further by victory on matchday one of the Champions League, as BVB eased past Copenhagen by three goals to nil. Three clean sheets in a row represents a fine response to the Werder debacle.
The quick turnaround between Tedesco’s sacking and the hiring of Rose indicates that Leipzig had already sounded out the ex-Dortmund head coach. It is a twist of fate that his first game in charge comes against his former employers, and Leipzig will hope to benefit from the fabled ‘new manager bounce’ on Saturday.
It should be remembered, though, that this is a team which has conceded eight goals in its last two outings. The humbling defeat by Shakhtar in midweek was just as bruising as the 4-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt last time out in the Bundesliga. Rose has had little time to work with his new charges, so it is not as if the new manager has been able to impart his methods in the build-up to this match.
Leipzig will have faith that Rose can be a successful manager for the club in the long term. He was previously at the helm of Red Bull Salzburg, so he knows the Red Bull model well. He also has plenty of experience in the Bundesliga, with Borussia Monchengladbach as well as Dortmund.
Yet a meeting with BVB is a much tougher start than Rose would have wanted. Terzic’s side looks well balanced between attack and defense, and they can take advantage of Leipzig’s defensive struggles. Back an away win in this one.
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|Teams||RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany|
|Time||Satuday, 10 September 2022, 9.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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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