Preview: Arminia Bielefeld vs. RB Leipzig

Preview: Arminia Bielefeld vs. RB Leipzig

Arminia Bielefeld take on RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Friday, with the visitors desperately needing to win in order to keep pace with Bayern Munich at the top of the table.

The hosts, meanwhile, moved outside of the relegation zone with a surprising 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.

Few neutrals would have given Arminia much of a chance of gaining a positive result at Leverkusen, who were top of the Bundesliga as recently as December, given that they had picked up only four points from their previous 11 away matches.

However, one of those points was recently earned at Bayern prior to the club parting ways with Uwe Neuhaus and appointing Frank Kramer as manager, so Leverkusen certainly should not have underestimated their opponents in any way.

Ritsu Doan, who is on loan from PSV Eindhoven for the campaign, was handed a more central role by his new manager, rewarding Kramer’s faith by opening the scoring after 17 minutes.

Masaya Okugawa doubled the visitors’ lead 12 minutes after the half-time interval, with Peter Bosz’s side struggling to penetrate Arminia’s organised defensive structure despite having 75% possession across the 90 minutes.

Patrik Schick’s 85th-minute strike ultimately proved to be little more than a consolation goal, with Arminia climbing a point above Hertha Berlin and outside of the relegation zone to move level on points with FC Koln.

While Leipzig are likely to prove much sterner opposition on Friday night, there certainly appears to be renewed optimism in Bielefeld in terms of surviving relegation.

With Bayern cruising to a 3-1 victory away to Werder Bremen last Saturday, the pressure was ramped up on Julian Nagelsmann’s shoulders ahead of Leipzig’s home match against high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt the following day.

With Adi Hutter aiming to steer Frankfurt into the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, there was plenty at stake for both sides, and that was certainly clear to see in a quiet first half between two evenly-matched sides.

However, the hosts did enjoy the better chances early on, with Marcel Sabitzer stinging the hands of Kevin Trapp before Willi Orban saw his effort ruled out for offside.

Given that they boasted the best defensive record in the division heading into the weekend, Nagelsmann would have felt confident of holding onto victory after Emil Forsberg broke the deadlock less than a minute after the break.

Frankfurt had other ideas, though, demonstrating the quality and spirit which has seen them establish themselves as genuine top-four contenders this season.

Amin Younes and Daichi Kamada probed between the lines, with the Japan international reacting quickest to steer home Andre Silva’s cross and claim a crucial point for the visitors, which saw Leipzig slip four points behind Bayern.

Nagelsmann’s side simply must bounce back with a win a Arminia if they are to stay in the race.

Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga form:
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RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
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RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
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