Leipzig scouting report: Aiming for Europe
Leipzig have now consigned their elimination from the UEFA Europa League in December to the past, and after breaking new ground in the DFB Cup this week, they are pursuing a two-pronged attack on European qualification once again.
Leipzig, currently fourth in the standings ahead of their meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt, are regarded as one of the best teams in the Bundesliga. Underlining this recently acquired status, they reached the DFB Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever earlier this week with a 1-0 victory at home to VfL Wolfsburg. Ralf Rangnick's side have won their last three outings in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet each time. It is safe to say, then, that the Eagles face a difficult assignment on Saturday as they maintain their push for the European places.
Rangnick tends to line his team up either in a 4-2-2-2 or a 4-1-2-1-2 formation with a midfield diamond. Leipzig are known – and feared – for their fierce pressing and counter-pressing game, launching swift attacks immediately after winning possession and shooting as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
One to watch: Willi Orban
Leipzig captain Willi Orban is a model professional and the team's undisputed leader. Nevertheless, the central defender has had to fight for his place in the side this season, with Ibrahima Konaté and Dayot Upamecano usually preferred at the heart of defence. Orban has been an unused substitute eight times during season 2018/19, more than in the previous two campaigns combined.
The 1.86m centre-back is still a highly prized asset at the club, however, and despite his limited playing time he has already scored more goals (three) in the Bundesliga this term than any other defender. Indeed, his overall record of nine goals in 66 games for Leipzig since joining from hometown club 1. FC Kaiserslautern is well above the average haul for a defender. Given Leipzig's absentees at the back, the former Germany U-21 and current Hungary international is now more important than ever in his roles of defensive rock, on-field leader…and goalscorer.