Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Bundesliga clash between RB Leipzig and Freiburg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
In a repeat of last season's DFB-Pokal final, RB Leipzig host Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Wednesday.
The visitors moved second in the table after beating FC Koln at the weekend, and they head into the encounter five points clear of their forthcoming opponents.
Leipzig are on a superb run themselves, though, having extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 11 matches by beating Hoffenheim 3-1 away from home on Saturday.
Christopher Nkunku's brace either side of Georginio Rutter's equaliser helped the France forward become the first player to move onto double figures in terms of goals scored in the Bundesliga this season, with Dani Olmo marking his return to the starting XI by sealing all three points with around 20 minutes of play remaining.
Die Roten Bullen appear to be a force to be reckoned with now that Marco Rose has bedded into his managerial position, with the 46-year-old clearly implementing his methods more effectively during September's international break given that his side are unbeaten since returning from it.
Their penultimate match prior to the World Cup beginning in Qatar later this month represents a hugely significant fixture as they look to make up further ground on the Champions League qualification positions, with finishing inside the top four representing their main aim this season having been drawn against Manchester City in the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition in Monday's draw.
Freiburg, meanwhile, are aiming to qualify for the Champions League for the first time during Christian Streich's 11 years at the club, with their 2-0 win against Koln on Sunday certainly doing their chances of achieving that no harm whatsoever.
After a quiet first half - with both teams potentially tired after their European involvements on Thursday evening - Jeong Woo-yeong and Michael Gregoritsch both bagged after the break to provide their side with a crucial victory.
Trailing league leaders Bayern Munich by just one point heading into the midweek round of fixtures after Union Berlin's surprising 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen, Streich will be desperate for a favour from Werder Bremen in Bavaria in order to have the opportunity to move top of the table.
However, having secured their progression to the Europa League knockout stages and the third round of the DFB-Pokal, all eyes must be focused on two hugely difficult games against potential top four rivals Leipzig and Union Berlin prior to breaking for the World Cup.
RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
Freiburg Bundesliga form:
Freiburg form (all competitions):
Leipzig will remain without Timo Werner, who is set to miss the World Cup after sustaining a serious ankle ligament injury during his side's victory against Shakhtar Donetsk last week.
Mohamed Simakan, Peter Gulasci, Konrad Laimer and Lukas Klostermann will not feature in either match before the World Cup either, but Benjamin Henrichs should return at right-back having missed out against Hoffenheim due to suspension.
Yussuf Poulsen, Kevin Kampl, Emil Forsberg and Amadou Haidara all provide options to start having been named on the substitutes' bench at the weekend, with Rose likely to be mindful of fatigue ahead of the World Cup.
Freiburg, meanwhile, will travel without Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Jonathan Schmid and Kimberley Ezekwem due to muscle strains.
Streich significantly rotated his team for their dead rubber against Qarabag FK last week, meaning the majority of his key players should be fresher than their opponents, but Roland Sallai will hope for a recall to the starting XI having recovered from an eye injury.
RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Blaswich; Henrichs, Orban, Gvardiol, Raum; Haidara, Kampl; Szoboszlai, Forsberg; Poulsen, Nkunku
Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Flekken; Kubler, Ginter, Lienhart, Gunter; Keitel, Hofler; Sallai, Jeong, Grifo; Gregoritsch
This should be a highly entertaining encounter between two in-form teams, but Leipzig appear to be a class above the majority of teams in the division at present and should be able to claim a huge win.
Nkunku continues to be one of the Bundesliga's most impressive players and he will be keen to remain at the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts, although Gregoritsch will fancy his chances of bagging once again, too.
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