On Saturday evening, Borussia Dortmund will face RB Leipzig in a matchup between two of the Bundesliga’s top four teams.
Dortmund leads third-placed Bayer Leverkusen by nine points (and is a dozen points ahead of Leipzig in fourth), but they are six points behind table-topping Bayern Munich, who have been shedding points on a regular basis.
Leipzig have climbed into the top four with seven games remaining after a difficult start under now-Leeds boss Jesse Marsch. Only one point separates the east German team and sixth-placed Hoffenheim.
Here’s all you need to know about the Topspiel this weekend.
When is kick off? Saturday 2 April, 17:30 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Signal Iduna Park
TV channel/live stream? Sky Sports Football (UK), ESPN+ (US), Sportsnet (Canada)
Highlights? Sky Sports & Bundesliga YouTube channel
Dortmund are expected to be boosted by the return of their talismanic captain Marco Reus this weekend after missing the club’s last four Bundesliga matches.
However, Marco Rose’s side remain besieged by fitness concerns. Full-backs Felix Passlack and Nico Schulz suffered muscle injuries on the eve the March international break. Fellow defender Thomas Meunier is already in the treatment room with a hamstring problem. The Belgian, Mateu Morey – another right-back – and young striker Steffen Tigges could all be out for the rest of the season.
Youssoufa Moukoko is also a doubt with a hamstring injury.
In comparison with Dortmund, Leipzig’s injury list is mercifully brief. Yussuf Poulsen sustained a groin problem during Denmark’s friendly defeat to the Netherlands last week and has been ruled out of Saturday’s match.
Goalkeeper Peter Gulasci is also a doubt as he returned from the Hungarian national team ahead of schedule with complaints of an adductor injury. Lukas Klostermann recovered from an issue in the same area to return to training during the club hiatus.
RB Leipzig’s circumvention of the Bundesliga’s ownership stipulations wasn’t warmly received by many in Germany. But Borussia Dortmund have emerged as one of the fiercest opponents to the club’s jet-fuelled ascension up the footballing pyramid.
That enmity made Dortmund’s DFB Pokal Cup final victory over RB all the sweeter last summer. Yet, the enigmatic Christopher Nkunku led Leipzig to a victory in this season’s reverse fixture at the Red Bull Arena.
However, that victory ended an eight-game unbeaten sequence for Dortmund in this fixture.
Leipzig have only ever beaten Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park once. Their chances of repeating that feat this weekend have been dented by the expected return of a capacity crowd in Dortmund for the first time in more than two years.
Marsch’s replacement at the Leipzig helm, Domenico Tedesco – formerly of Dortmund’s fierce rivals Schalke – has steered the club to 27 points in his 13 league matches, conceding a league-low 12 goals in that time.
The clash between Dortmund’s chaos and Leipzig’s increasing parsimony may see them cancel each other out this weekend.
Prediction: Dortmund 1-1 RB Leipzig