The Bundesliga is set to return after an eventful international break. And what better way to resume the German top-flight than a match-up between the league's table-toppers?
Yes, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich are slated to rub shoulders against each other on September 14, at the Red Bull Arena.
The Bavarians have been simply unforgiving in the Bundesliga in recent years, having lifted the domestic title last season for the seventh year running. However, with the emergence of Leipzig under Ralph Hasenhuttl and now Julian Nagelsmann, it's fair to claim that the champions now have a serious challenge this season.
The table so far undoubtedly suggests the same as well, as the Red Bulls head into this fixture with a perfect record. Not to mention, they possess the division's joint-best defence too, with just two goals conceded in three matches.
However, Leipzig have been a pale shadow of themselves at times when facing the league's unsurpassed side. What's fresh in our memories in the 3-0 mauling suffered at Berlin in the DFB Cup final.
Without further ado, therefore, we shall have a rundown of what unfolded when these two faced-off the previous three times.
RB Leipzig 0-3 Bayern Munich - May 25, 2019 | DFB Cup
Well, well. The purest form of jubilation on one side, along with an unfitting heartbreak in the other. It was a perfect way for the deadly duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery to put an end to what was a career that only a handful could have even dreamt of.
Leipzig set the tone on this big stage, testing the gloves of Manuel Neuer a couple of times before the break. Despite all the sustained pressure, it was Lewandowski who drew first blood; scoring just before the half hour mark.
All in all, the match turned out to be an end-to-end contest between two top sides, but once Kingsley Coman doubled Bayern's advantage, you knew they had one hand on the cup - for the 19th time.
Lewandowski's second of the evening resulted in a sweet cherry on the icing of the cake for the Bavarians.
RB Leipzig 0-0 Bayern Munich - May 11, 2019 | Bundesliga
In terms of the result, this game might seem off-standard when this fixture is revisited. However, drama and tension transpired to another degree as the stalemate concluded.
Firstly, it was Peter Gulacsi's heroic saves - mainly three of them - that kept the hosts in the game. Although Leipzig had their fair share of opportunities, it was the visiting side that enjoyed the more clear-cut chances.
Six minutes after the restart, Leon Goretzka thought he had given his side a much-deserved lead, but upon VAR's intervention, it was confirmed that sharpshooter Robert Lewandowski was offside in the build-up to the goal.
Ultimately, the goal was called off and the match ended as a draw, leaving the title race to the final weekend of the Bundesliga. Bayern eventually won the last game and beat Borussia Dortmund to the trophy by just two points.
Bayern Munich 1-0 RB Leipzig - December 20, 2018 | Bundesliga
By now, you'd know that drama is the name of the game when these top dogs meet. This can be further substantiated through a highlight of what happened when Bayern hosted Leipzig last time out.
The hosts enjoyed more of the ball throughout, although both teams hit the frame of goal inside the first 45 minutes. As the game proceeded, the home side began to gain momentum, and it needed a special effort from their very own Franck Ribery in the 83rd minute of the game to give the Munich-based outfit the lead.
As it happened, the goal stood out as the winner, helping Bayern Munich to move within six points of the then-Bundesliga leaders Dortmund.
Matters turned really ugly when Ilsanker's ill-timed challenge on Javi Martinez saw him being sent off without any delay. The action also seemed to provoke young Renato Sanches, who then lashed out on the opposition and bought himself a second yellow in the process.
You wonder what could happen when these two heavyweights will lock horns on Saturday.Published 12 Sep 2019, 22:31 IST