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  • 27 December 2023

Bundesliga Clash: RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Preview

When RB Leipzig plays Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal final on Saturday at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, they will be looking to defend their championship.

Frankfurt, on the other hand, might tie Werder Bremen for the most German domestic cup victories with six, which would make them the second most successful side in competition history, just behind Bayern Munich.

Match Preview

Naturally, Leipzig won their first major championship ever the previous season when they defeated Freiburg on penalties in a thrilling final. Marcel Halstenberg was sent off after his team had already fallen down, but Christopher Nkunku tied the match late on.

Die Roten Bullen advanced to their third straight cup final by defeating Christian Streich's team once more, this time in the semi-finals at Europa-Park Stadion. This time around, it was a far more straightforward affair as they won 5-1.

After winning seven of their final eight Bundesliga games, Marco Rose's team should be full of confidence going into Saturday's final. This will guarantee that they will play in the Champions League for the fifth consecutive season, and Nkunku may play in his final match for the team after scoring two goals against Schalke 04, who have been relegated.

In fact, Leipzig has significantly improved under Rose's leadership after having a terrible start to the season under Domenico Tedesco. Rose has led Leipzig to a 67.5% win percentage in his 40 games in charge across all competitions since taking over in early September. The 46-year-old will be driven to win his first title as a manager in Germany, and the romance of the possible tale this weekend will only be enhanced by the fact that he is managing the main team from his hometown.

Oliver Glasner and his team will undoubtedly make an effort to prevent the DFB-Pokal holders from winning the championship, though, as Frankfurt looks to win their second major trophy in as many seasons after thrillingly winning the Europa League in Glasner's debut season.

Die Adler qualified for the Champions League for the first time in the team's history last May after defeating Rangers on penalties. On the last day of the season, Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe's injury-time goal against Freiburg secured seventh place, preventing Wolfsburg from competing in Europe once more.

Depending on how they do against Leipzig on Saturday, they will either represent Germany in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League the next season. If they win, they will return to the Europa League, but if they lose, they will only play in the Europa Conference League.

All of it is ultimately insignificant compared to the potential to win a significant award once more, and Glasner is probably glad that his team has been able to find some form recently.

In fact, Frankfurt had lost their previous ten league games, and their lone away win in the prior thirteen travels came in a 3-2 triumph against Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal semifinal.

Frankfurt's recent reliance on their home crowd at Deutsche Bank Park could prove to be their downfall against Leipzig, especially since Saturday's final is being played at a neutral location in the capital, but under Glasner, they have consistently shown that they can perform well when it matters most.

Team News

In training this week, Leipzig faced a setback when it was announced that former Frankfurt forward Andre Silva would not be able to score against his old team due to a major thigh injury that may prevent him from playing in the preseason.

After a challenging second season at the club, the Portugal striker was not expected to start in any case. Last weekend, he was benched during his team's 4-2 victory against Schalke.

Despite giving Orjan Nyland a shot on the last day of the Bundesliga season, Jan Blaswich is probably going to be favoured in goal over Peter Gulasci, the first-choice keeper, who is still out with a catastrophic ACL injury.

Josko Gvardiol is banned after getting sent off against Freiburg in the semifinals. He has been linked to a move away from Leipzig ahead of the summer transfer window. After starting together last weekend, Lukas Klostermann and Willi Orban seem destined to be paired together at the core of their defence.

Frankfurt, meanwhile, has to choose between starting club captain Sebastian Rode at the base of their midfield with Switzerland international Djibril Sow or Daichi Kamada, who looks certain to sign with AC Milan this summer on a free transfer.

Rode could be viewed by Glasner as a more reliable choice given Leipzig's capacity for quick counterattacks, which means Kamada might eventually make his last appearance for the team as a substitute.

Even though Ebimbe, who only recently returned from a long-term injury, scored a crucial late winner against Freiburg after substituting in the second half, Glasner has plenty of options in the wing-back positions, with Philipp Max and Ansgar Knauff also ready to go when needed.

But because of persistent knee problems, the former Wolfsburg manager will continue to be without the services of Lucas Alario and Hrvoje Smolcic.

Possible starting lineup for RB Leipzig: Laimer, Haidara; Szoboszlai, Olmo; Nkunku, Werner; Blaswich, Simakan, Orban, Klostermann, Halstenberg

Possible starting lineup for Eintracht Frankfurt: Lindstrom, Gotze; Kolo Muani; Trapp; Tuta, Hasebe, Ndicka; Buta, Rode, Sow, Lenz

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