RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is hoping his team have learned from May’s 5-4 defeat to Bayern as they prepare to face the German champions in the DFB Pokal and Bundesliga.
Leipzig, last season’s Bundesliga runners up, have slowly worked their way up the table and — following a 3-2 win over leaders Dortmund earlier this month — look well-placed to challenge again this time around.
Bayern, now under Jupp Heynckes, are shaping up to be the team to beat once more, though, and Leipzig will have the chance to test their progress when they meet in the cup this weekend and then in the league on Saturday.
Speaking at his news conference to preview the DFB Pokal game, Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl said: “It’s never easy, and there are never easy draws. Moreover, it never mattered to me at which point of the season we play Bayern.”
It will be the first meeting between the sides since Bayern’s 5-4 win under Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, when Leipzig threw away a 4-2 lead in the final 10 minutes.
Bayern also won the first-ever Bundesliga meeting between the sides earlier in that campaign and Hasenhuttl added: “Last term, we were stretched thin in one match and lost the other one in the final minutes, but it was an important match. We saw how it can be done.
“Tomorrow, the chances are split. We’ve beaten many teams at home, and nothing is impossible.”
Leipzig began the season slowly, including two away defeats at Schalke and Augsburg, but have turned things around since the last international break and last week claimed their first ever win in the Champions League when they beat Porto 2-1.
“The confidence is there, and the form is there as well,” Hasenhuttl said. “It’ll be important to have the ball too. You can’t just defend against Bayern. We will have our chances, and just like it was possible to beat Dortmund, it will be possible to beat Bayern.”
Hasenhuttla will have the majority of his players available, and after resting defenders Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Halstenbergin the 1-0 win against Stuttgart at the weekend.
However, he could make an exception for attacker Timo Werner.
“He managed 60 minutes at the weekend, and is important for our game,” he said. “You don’t like to do without Timo.”
Bayern, on the other hand, will be without Germany international Thomas Muller, and Hasenhuttl said:
“His loss hurts Bayern, but they have the likes of Thiago Alcantara to replace him.”