RB Leipzig are Bundesliga leaders no more. After a red-hot start to their season, the Red Bulls suffered their first league defeat and second in as many games as they are finally showing their limitations after losing star striker Timo Werner.
Leipzig’s loss allowed champions Bayern Munich to regain the league lead despite a less-than-stellar performance against a relegation struggler. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund’s defence had another impressive outing ahead of Der Klassiker.
Here are all of SBOTOP’s top takeaways after another interesting round of Bundesliga fixtures.
RB Leipzig limitations emerge after another loss
RB Leipzig are not looking so hot at the moment as they are finally starting to show their vulnerabilities after a strong start to the season.
After getting thumped 5-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League, the Red Bulls have now lost back-to-back games as they went down 1-0 away to Borussia Monchengladbach, which cost them the league lead.
Hannes Wolf, who is on loan from Leipzig, popped up with the winning goal for Gladbach against his parent club.
Leipzig looked like they were adjusting well to Timo Werner’s absence, but they have undoubtedly begun to miss their star marksman as the level of competition has gone up.
For all of Yussuf Poulsen’s positive qualities, being a consistent goalscorer is not one of them. Meanwhile, Alexander Sorloth still has yet to prove outside of one breakout season in Turkey that he can be that reliable goal-getter as well. And as good as Angelino has been, having a wing-back as the team’s top scorer was always going to be unsustainable.
Having said all of that, Leipzig could still very well be the third-best team in Germany. They have enough quality in their side to beat up on the teams below them consistently.
However, their last few games have started to expose the limitations of having a squad that just lost its star striker, especially when going up against better teams.
Lewandowski-less Bayern back on top
With Leipzig’s slip-up, Bayern Munich are finally back at the top of the Bundesliga after beating Koln 1-2 away from home.
But despite being two goals up by half-time, the reigning German and European champions had to work harder than expected to pick up the win against the relegation strugglers.
Granted, they were without Robert Lewandowski, who was given the much-deserved game off after scoring nine goals in his last three league games. Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry got Bayern’s goals in his absence.
Eric Choupo-Moting got the start in Lewandowski’s place, and despite his heroics in the Champions League with PSG last season, the 31-year-old Cameroonian clearly has limitations even as a back-up forward. Bayern had just six shots the entire match, one of which was a penalty.
It’s no coincidence that the lone game Bayern have lost this season came in a game where Lewandowski didn’t start. The Polish striker is the one player they cannot afford to lose. Aside from the loads of goals he provides, Lewandowski’s mere presence in the side is irreplaceable.
But so long as Lewandowski remains fit and healthy, the Bundesliga 2020 odds should still have Bayern as clear favourites to retain their title.
Dortmund defence showing signs of improvement
While Leipzig’s weaknesses are suddenly coming to the surface, so are Borussia Dortmund’s potential new strength in defence. BVB are up to second place after a 0-2 away win at newly promoted Arminia Bielefeld.
Like Bayern, Dortmund also won without their star striker, Erling Haaland, who was nursing a minor knee injury. In Haaland’s absence, veteran centre-back Mats Hummels took up the goalscoring mantle by bagging a brace.
Hummels also continued to do some fine work in defence, where Dortmund have looked surprisingly solid this season. Dortmund have conceded just two goals in six games this season, the best defensive record in the league.
But like Leipzig, though, it may be too soon to judge Dortmund’s defence, especially since they have not exactly faced the stiffest of competition thus far. Their toughest opponents to date have been Gladbach, who were not at full strength when they met on the opening game of the season.
Their backline was also quite poor in their 3-1 Champions League defeat away to Lazio, so they clearly still have work to do.
Nevertheless, five clean sheets in six games is no mean feat, and those Bundesliga 2020 results should give Lucien Favre’s side some confidence ahead of their biggest test to date: Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich next weekend.
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