RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund: Clash of titans to end all square
RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund have both seen their title challenges fail, and Kevin Hatchard doesn't think there'll be anything to choose between them on Saturday.
RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund Saturday 20 June, 14:30 Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
Leipzig and Nagelsmann have questions to answer
The ball seemed to hang in the air for an eternity, and then Düsseldorf defender Andre Hoffmann powered it into the net with his head. Relegation-threatened Fortuna wheeled away in celebration after snatching a 2-2 draw from the jaws of defeat, and Leipzig were left to rue another edition of Groundhog Day.
Leipzig had been 2-0 up in that game in the 87th minute, but somehow contrived to blow it, drawing at home for the fifth game in a row. While title rivals Bayern have been relentlessly winning, Leipzig have been nailed to parity time and time again. No-one in the division has fewer defeats (three) but no-one in the league has more draws (12).
That profligacy means Die Roten Bullen are still not sure of Champions League qualification, although they will book a VIP slot at European football's top table if they match Borussia Mönchengladbach's result at Paderborn. If they beat Borussia Dortmund, they'll move into second with just one round of league matches left.
This will be Timo Werner's final home match before he scoots off to the Premier League and Chelsea, and his departure raises questions. How can he be replaced, and how can Leipzig hope to match Bayern in the future? How long will coach Julian Nagelsmann stay it situ if he can't build a side that will stay put? With defensive talent Dayot Upamecano's future also up in the air, this is a period of painful growth for a club that has only existed for 11 years.
Favre debate at the heart of BVB's future
With Jürgen Klopp on the verge of ending Liverpool's long wait for a Premier League title, some Dortmund fans will wistfully reminisce about what might had been had one of the club's icons stayed in his post for longer. In truth, Klopp knew it was time to bring his seven-year reign to an end in 2015, having delivered a pair of Bundesliga titles, a Champions League final and the DFB Cup. The team had flirted with relegation in his final season, and the impact of his message had faded.
That golden era has left an indelible mark, and subsequent coaches have suffered by comparison. Thomas Tuchel delivered a DFB Cup and pushed Bayern hard, but his relationships with players and club bosses were much more fractious than the genial Klopp's. Dutchman Peter Bosz burned brightly and then burned out in just a few months, and his replacement Peter Stöger was only ever going to be a stopgap.
That brings us to the current incumbent Lucien Favre. The professorial Swiss tactician took the title race to the final day last term, but Dortmund blew a big lead. This season, he will deliver a lower points total than last season, and Wednesday's awful home defeat to Mainz has left his team ten points adrift of Bayern at the top.
The signings of Mats Hummels, Emre Can, Erling Haaland, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard show that Dortmund are serious about trying to win the league, and now Favre has to demonstrate he is the coach that can put all of those pieces together. BVB have collected 12 wins from 15 league games in 2020, but lost the other three, including a 1-0 defeat to Bayern in Der Klassiker that broke the back of their title push.
Backing the draw the sensible play
I don't normally go for the draw, but here it seems backing that outcome at 3.80 makes sense. Leipzig have drawn their last five home matches, and six of their last nine league games overall. They drew 3-3 at Dortmund in the reverse fixture, drew twice with Bayern, twice with Bayer Leverkusen and drew at home with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Conversely, Dortmund don't draw many games, but a point would suit them here, as it would preserve second spot going into the final matchday.
Market expects goals and entertainment
The reverse fixture between these two just before the winter break was a breathless, crazy affair that ended 3-3. Dortmund led 2-0 and 3-1, but blew that advantage with some barely believable errors. The market clearly expects goals here, with Over 2.5 Goals trading at 1.63 and Both Teams To Score priced at 1.51.
BTTS certainly seems like a lock, as both teams have found the net in ten of Leipzig's last 11 home matches, and the hosts have scored in every home game this season. Dortmund haven't drawn a Bundesliga blank on the road since they lost 4-0 at Bayern in November.
Werner v Haaland an intriguing clash
Timo Werner took his Bundesliga tally for the season to 26 goals on Wednesday, while Erling Haaland's recent winner at Fortuna Düsseldorf took him to a figure of 11 league goals in 13 outings.
Werner scored a brace in the reverse fixture, and you can use the OddsBoost facility on the Sportsbook to back both him and Haaland to score at 5/1. If you'd rather back them individually, Werner is priced at 10/11 to score, with Haaland 11/10.