RB Leipzig vs Schalke 14/01/2018
24 points separated both teams last season. It is much closer this time round, thanks to Schalke’s fine 11-match unbeaten run. That’s officially the Royal Blues’ longest run for 11 years.
This is undeniably the Bundesliga’s match of the week, where both teams have a smattering of players to go up against. RB Leipzig are fifth, trailing second-placed Schalke by just two points.
The midfield battle between Naby Keita and Max Meyer will be the main event, while veteran defender Naldo will have up-and-coming star Timo Werner for company. Defensively, Naldo has won 75 per cent of his individual duels – the best return in the Bundesliga. Amine Harit’s defensive capabilities will also be put on the test as he attempt to negate Emil Forsberg’s creativity.
Despite missing eight Bundesliga games with injury, the 26-year-old Forsberg has still managed to create more chances (36) than any other RB player this season.
But one absence will be felt and that’s Schalke playmaker Leon Goretzka. The Liverpool and Arsenal transfer target is out with an injury and that is a big blow to the men in blue.
New signing Marko Pjaca, signed from Juventus at the start of the month, could fill in Goretzka’s shoes.