Bayern Munich tackle RB Leipzig on Wednesday at the Allianz Arena in an encounter that promises to have a huge impact on their Bundesliga challenge.
A run of eight successive seasons in which Bayern have been top at Christmas has been brought to an end by Borussia Dortmund, who have a nine-point advantage at the summit of the standings over Niko Kovac’s side, who lie third but in turn have a game in hand.
They play that against a Leipzig side only one place and two points below them in the standings, and anything less than a victory would be another body blow to their title aspirations.
|Game||Bayern Munich vs RB Leipzig|
|Date||Wednesday, December 19|
|Time||7:30pm GMT / 2:30pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|FOX Sports 1||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 3 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 3||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Bayern Munich players|
|Goalkeepers||Neuer, Ulrich, Fruchtl, Hoffmann|
|Defenders||Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba, Boateng, Rafinha|
|Midfielders||Martinez, Thiago, Tolisso, Goretzka, Sanches, James|
|Forwards||Lewandowski, Muller, Wagner, Coman, Gnabry, Ribery, Robben|
Long-term injury problems persist for Corentin Tolisso, James Rodriguez and Arjen Robben, but otherwise Bayern have a clean bill of health for this clash.
Franck Ribery, meanwhile, could return after being left out against Hannover.
Possible Bayern Munich starting XI: Neuer; Rafinha, Sule, Boateng, Alaba; Goretzka, Kimmich; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski.
|Position||RB Leipzig players|
|Goalkeepers||Gulacsi, Muller, Mvogo, Krahl|
|Defenders||Saracchi, Orban, Upamecano, Konate, Klostermann, Mukiele, Halstenberg, Hoppe, Bohmer, Talabidi, Rucker, Grimm, Jakel|
|Midfielders||Forsberg, Ilsanker, Laimer, Demme, Mekonnen, Hartmenn, Majetschak, Bias, Winter, Kampl, Fontaine, Krauss, Ruhner, Stenz, Bottcher|
|Forwards||Sabitzer, Poulsen, Werner, Bruma, Cunha, Augustin, Kruger|
RB Leipzig will have to cope without Emil Forsberg, who is injured, while the midfield may be hit with further absentees. Kevin Kampl has a toe problem that could see him sidelined, while Diego Demme is also a worry.
In attack, Marcel Sabitzer is banned.
Possible RB Leipzig starting XI: Gulacsi; Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano; Halstenberg; Bruma, Demme, Kampl, Cunha; Werner, Poulsen.
Betting & Match Odds
Bayern Munich are priced at odds of winning 4/11 according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 9/2. A win for Leipzig is priced at 13/2.
Niko Kovac is looking forward to the challenge that RB Leipzig will provide his Bayern Munich side on Wednesday and sees it as an interesting dress rehearsal for their forthcoming Champions League last-16 encounter with Liverpool in the spring.
“Leipzig have the same basic ideas as Liverpool, quick transitions with quick players who can make life difficult for their opponents,” he said.
“We must eliminate Leipzig's strengths. We mustn't play into their hands. We'll prepare our team for that. But my team aren't taking on RB for the first time.”
Bayern go into the match on a six-match unbeaten run, which continued on Saturday with a thumping 4-0 win over Hannover, in which Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski scored.
However, the latest of their three Bundesliga losses this season came against Dortmund, which has left them distant of Lucien Favre’s side and in a position from which they cannot afford too many more slips.
RB Leipzig, meanwhile, may lie fourth in the Bundesliga but are in a period of indifferent form. They have lost three of their last six games, have won only twice on the road all season and crashed out of the Europa League as they conceded late on against a Rosenborg outfit already eliminated from the competition.
Sunday’s 4-1 win over Mainz, in which Yussuf Poulsen and Time Werner grabbed doubles, was something of a tonic, but they remain in danger of going into the winter break outside of the Champions League spots.
The pressure, therefore, is not just on the hosts.