Berlin (AFP) – Marcel Sabitzer expects fireworks when RB Leipzig host Bayern Munich in the German Cup on Wednesday, the first of two games in four days between the Bundesliga heavyweights.
Hosts Leipzig hope to capitalise on Bayern’s injury list with stars Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery sidelined.
Germany defender Mats Hummels, who injured his ankle at the weekend, faces a race against time to be fit for both the second-round cup clash at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena and the league match four days later in Munich.
The Bundesliga clash on Saturday is also a mouth-watering prospect with just a point separating third-placed Leipzig and Bayern, who are second.
Leipzig’s home cup match against Bayern is the plum tie of the second round, which includes holders Borussia Dortmund at third-division Magdeburg on Tuesday.
“We’re in the flow. The fans can look forward to some fireworks,” said Leipzig’s Sabitzer, the match-winner in Saturday’s 1-0 league victory against Stuttgart.
Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff was more reserved, insisting Bayern “are in a class of their own with a top squad full of world-class players” even without their injured stars.
“We’ll need a perfect day, but we believe in ourselves and want to show again that we are good for a surprise,” he added.
Mueller tore a hamstring in Saturday’s win at Hamburg and Spain’s Thiago Alacantara is set to step into the attacking midfield role.
Hummels, who will be replaced by Niklas Suele if he fails to be fit, is relishing the back-to-back showdowns against Leipzig.
“They have an incredible amount of quality and play a very intensive game with very intensive counter-pressing,” said Hummels.
“You have to be very awake and think very, very fast.
“That is the most important thing – that you are switched on from the first second to the fact that the opponent can make your life hard.”
Bayern beat Leipzig twice in the Bundesliga last season, romping to a 3-0 victory in Munich last December, with three goals in the opening 45 minutes, before winning 5-4 away last May.
The double-header against Leipzig begins a run of four tough games for Bayern in a fortnight.
They have a Champions League match at Celtic next Tuesday followed by the league game at current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund on November 4.
“These are exactly the kind of games we love,” added Hummels.
German Cup second-round fixtures
Playing Tuesday (all times 1845 unless stated)
Paderborn v VfL Bochum, Wehen WI v Schalke 04, Fortuna Duesseldorf v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen v FC Union (1630 GMT), Mainz v Kiel, Magdeburg v Borussia Dortmund, Schweinfurt v Eintracht Frankfurt, Guerther Fuerth v Ingolstadt (1845)
Osnabrueck v Nuremberg, Hertha Berlin v Cologne, VfL Wolfsburg v Hanover 96, Kaiserslautern v VfB Stuttgart (1830), Regensburg v Heidenheim, Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim, Freiburg v Dynamo Dresden, RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich (1845)
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