Football is, indeed, a funny old game.
Given the regular twists of fate the football calendar can throw up, it should perhaps be little surprise to see the start Marco Rose has been handed after being appointed RB Leipzig head coach this week.
The first two Bundesliga games for Rose will be against his former clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach, either side of a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to play Real Madrid in the Champions League.
“We all play in the same league so we’ll face every team at some point,” he said after he was announced by Leipzig. “It’s definitely special and exciting, but I have a lot of work to do here so the scheduling isn’t very important. We’ll take it as it comes.”
And he’s right. Domenico Tedesco’s replacement must get off to a good start to get Leipzig’s season back on track, and who better to do it against than a Dortmund side that has already opened up a seven-point gap on them?
After winning just five points from their first five games, Leipzig are experiencing their second-worst start to a Bundesliga season, though they have beaten last season’s effort by a point.
Following their 4-0 humbling at Eintracht Frankfurt last time out, they have conceded nine Bundesliga goals already for the first time ever, and have never scored fewer goals at this stage (also six last season).
Dortmund, on the other hand, have collected 12 points from their first five games for the third successive season, sitting second in the table, ahead of Bayern Munich in third.
Edin Terzic’s men also won their first two away games for the first time since 2015-16, meaning they could win their first three on the road in a top-flight season for only the third time (also in 2000-01 and 2010-11).
Kiss from a Rose
Marco Rose was in charge of 46 competitive matches as coach of Dortmund last season, but now that he is set to take on his former club in his first match as coach of Leipzig, it must be noted that he has lost five of his last six competitive games against BVB (W1).
New boss Terzic has won all three of his competitive games as head coach against Leipzig, including a 4-1 victory in the 2021 DFB-Pokal final.
In fact, Terzic has recorded more wins and scored more goals (10) against Leipzig than versus any other team, so will be confident of piling more misery on them on Saturday.
5 – Marco #Rose was in charge for 46 competitive matches as coach of Borussia Dortmund last season and now meets his former club in his first match as coach of RB Leipzig – he has lost five of his past six competitive games against BVB (W1). Reunion. pic.twitter.com/HTWfHXWms8
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 8, 2022
Importance of Reus and Nkunku
Marco Reus made it 1-0 to Dortmund for the 45th time in the Bundesliga when he scored against Hoffenheim last week. In doing so, he drew level with Manfred Burgsmuller’s club record.
Reus has had a hand in 17 goals in the top flight in 2022 (seven goals, 10 assists) – of current Bundesliga players, only Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku has been directly involved in more (25 – 17 goals, eight assists).
Nkunku will make his 100th Bundesliga appearance on Saturday, should he play, and is the only player since his debut in August 2019 to score at least 30 goals (35) and set up 30 (32).
He was directly involved in five goals against Dortmund last season (two goals, three assists) – a record he did not better against anyone else (four goals, one assist against Hertha Berlin).
Keeping those sheets clean
Leipzig have only ever kept one clean sheet against Dortmund, which came in their first ever competitive meeting, a 1-0 home win in September 2016. They have since conceded at least once in all 12 meetings. Leipzig have never endured such a long wait for a clean sheet against any other side.
Despite losing Erling Haaland to Manchester City, BVB have continued to score goals, and have found the net in each of their last 33 Bundesliga games, the second-longest run in club history (37 games from 2020 to 2021).
No side has kept more clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season than Dortmund (three, level with leaders Freiburg), and only Union Berlin (three) have allowed opponents fewer clear-cut chances than BVB (five, and none over the last two matchdays).
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