Two opposite-minded teams battle on Matchday 13 with Leipzig looking at the top four places, while Heidenheim try to inch away from the relegation conversation.
|Photo: RB Leipzig
Leipzig haven’t had the greatest week with a loss to Wolfsburg and a blown lead to Manchester City in the Champions League. At 5th in the league, they are on the outside looking in at those CL places and want to jump at least one club before the calendar year ends.
Benjamin Henrichs, who didn’t play on Tuesday, is expected to return to the starting lineup alongside Simakan, Lukeba, and Raum in defense. There remains a question mark surrounding the status of Xavi Simmons, meaning in-form Loïs Openda could drop into a slightly deeper role.
Following their midweek defeat, Janis Blaswich commented, "We let them back into the game too early in the second 45 and then the stadium came to life again. We’ve already qualified for the knockout stages. Now we need to look ahead and focus on getting points in the league."
Timo Werner, Dani Olmo, and Willi Orban aren’t expected to play. MRI results showed that Simmons avoided a major shoulder injury, but he’s still questionable for this weekend.
With 11 points secured from 12 matches, Heidenheim are defying expectations and are now favored by many onlookers to survive their first-ever Bundesliga campaign. Trainer Frank Schmidt is after any points he can get, as he said after Matchday 12’s 0-0 outing that, “A draw against Bochum is a success and not a failure."
Heidenheim have actually beaten Leipzig before, having won against the newly-born side back in 2015. Captain Patrick Mainka, who hasn’t missed a minute all season, will have his hands full trying to slow down this Leipzig attack on Saturday with center-back partner Benedikt Gimber.
In this week’s presser, Schmidt mentioned, “Of course, we can't go to Leipzig and say we're just defending. We need an idea on the offensive end and have to surprise the people of Leipzig to some extent.”
Eren Dinkci will serve a yellow-card suspension, while Elidon Qenaj and Thomas Keller remain unavailable.