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Dec 3, 2021 at 7.30pm UK
Union BerlinUnion Berlin
2-1
RB LeipzigRB Leipzig
Awoniyi (6'), Baumgartl (57')
Khedira (64')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Nkunku (13')
Szoboszlai (65')

Preview: Union Berlin vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Union Berlin vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Bundesliga clash between Union Berlin and RB Leipzig, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The weekend's Bundesliga action begins on Friday evening at the An der Alten Forsterei, with an intriguing clash that sees Union Berlin hosting a troubled RB Leipzig.

Union will be looking to bounce back from a last-minute defeat last weekend, whilst their visitors have numerous concerns on and off the pitch following another defeat themselves last Sunday.


Match preview

As ever, Union will be glad to return to their An der Alten Forsterei fortress on Friday evening, following their 2-1 defeat on their travels at Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday.

Following a disappointing first-half display that saw Urs Fischer's men go into half time at 1-0 down, Max Kruse equalised from the penalty spot just after the hour mark in a much-improved solid second-half performance.

However, Frankfurt's Evan N'Dicka popped up in the fifth minute of stoppage time to net the winner and take away what would have been a well-earned point for Union.

Friday's encounter with Leipzig sees Die Eisernen return home though, and despite Bayern Munich ending their 21-match unbeaten home run in the Bundesliga back at the end of October, Union remain strong there and returned to winning ways in front of their own supporters in the Berlin derby against rivals Hertha Berlin two weeks ago.

Four of Union's five league victories this campaign have arrived at home, and despite their drop in performances and results on their travels, their home form has maintained their push for a European place once more.

Following a seventh-placed finish in the 2020-21 season, which earned them a spot in the debut campaign of the Europa Conference League, Union find themselves in sixth ahead of matchday 14, two points and as many places off the Champions League spots.

Meanwhile, Leipzig head to the capital on Friday in a disappointing eighth place in the table, also two points and as many positions behind their hosts.

Following Julian Nagelsmann's second-place finish last season before departing for Bayern, manager Jesse Marsch has struggled to follow in his predecessor's footsteps as things stand.

Struggles with a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp in recent weeks have certainly played their part, but Leipzig's problems in the opening stages of the campaign had begun long before.

Near the top of the list of concerns is Die Roten Bullen's away record, which currently stands at a six-game winless streak to begin the 2021-22 Bundesliga campaign, ahead of another daunting away trip this weekend.

Three draws and as many defeats, with just the three goals scored as well, is a disastrous record for supposed title-challengers, and is one that Marsch will be looking to address in the immediate future to provide his side with the certainty of European football at the very least for the next campaign.

Although Leipzig's home form this season had eased some of the problems caused by their away record, this could not prevent them from falling to a 3-1 loss to fellow European-hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen at the Red Bull Arena last weekend.

In Marsch's absence from the touchline due to COVID-19, assistant Achim Beierlorzer took charge of the Red Bulls, and the German admitted his side were second best to Die Werkself throughout the contest.

Andre Silva's third Bundesliga goal of the campaign just after the hour mark appeared to pull his side back into the contest, but the Leipzig defence could not handle the pace and directness of the Leverkusen front line, who inflicted their opponent's fifth Bundesliga defeat of the season already.

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Union Berlin form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Union look set to have just the one potential absentee to contend with on Friday, with Kevin Behrens expected to remain unavailable due to COVID-19.

Niko Giesselmann surprisingly lost his place to Bastian Oczipka at left wing-back at Frankfurt last time out, but the 30-year-old is expected to return to the starting 11 against Leipzig.

Kruse and Taiwo Awoniyi should lead the line once more, in what has been a relatively settled starting lineup for much of the season under Fischer so far.

As for Leipzig, the availability of much of their squad for Friday's trip to the capital depends largely on the results of COVID-19 tests in the coming days.

Following more positive results within the backroom staff on Tuesday, training for the day was cancelled, before a resumption as normal on Wednesday, although it is not clear whether Marsch will be able to lead his side from the sidelines in Berlin.

Peter Gulacsi and Mohamed Simakan were able to return to training on Wednesday following a negative test result, but the returns of Willi Orban, Yussuf Poulsen and Hugo Novoa remain unknown.

In terms of further absences, Marcel Halstenberg and Marcelo Saracchi remain missing from the back line due to long-term knee injuries, whilst Dani Olmo is ruled out until the new year due to a hip problem.

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Baumgartl; Trimmel, Haraguchi, Khedira, Promel, Giesselmann; Awoniyi, Kruse

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Klostermann, Orban, Gvardiol; Mukiele, Adams, Kampl, Angelino; Nkunku, Forsberg; Silva


We say: Union Berlin 2-1 RB Leipzig

Union's terrific home record, combined with Leipzig's awful away form, means we are predicting a home win for Union on Friday evening.

Not many sides come away from the An der Alten Forsterei with the points, and also factoring in the visitors' troubles with COVID-19, Union will be confident of achieving the victory.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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5Freiburg2096533231033
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15Wolfsburg2063111732-1521
16Augsburg204792035-1519
17Stuttgart2046102235-1318
18Greuther Furth2024141752-3510
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