BERLIN (Reuters) - RB Leipzig will look to stretch their unbeaten run on the road to a club record nine matches when they take on Augsburg on Saturday, with Julian Nagelsmann’s team an early dark horse in the Bundesliga title race of what will be a very busy season.
With quintuple winners Bayer Munich and Borussia Dortmund having already slipped up early, the pandemic-adjusted calendar will favour consistency more than in previous years.
Surprise Champions League semi-finalists in August, Leipzig have so far hardly missed a beat since the departure of top striker Timo Werner to Chelsea and top the standings on seven points.
With eight goals coming from seven different players in their first three Bundesliga games, Leipzig seem to have a plethora of options up front led by Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen.
Nagelsmann will not have a lot of time to prepare with close to 10 players returning gradually this week from national team duties. Marcel Sabitzer is also still doubtful after training alone following muscle problems.
But the coach could also have Ibrahima Konate back in the squad against Augsburg after the tall French central defender recovered from a hip injury and returned to team training.
Bayern, one point behind on six, will travel to Arminia Bielefeld after Thursday’s delayed German Cup first round against Dueren.
Promoted Arminia have not lost at home in the first and second division in more than a year and with many Bayern players playing their third or even fourth game in 10 days there could be room for a surprise.
“It is difficult to say,” Bayern coach Hansi Flick said when asked if the frequency of games could have an effect on the team’s performance. “No one is complaining about the many matches. We have to accept the situation as it is.”
The champions’ busy schedule continues with the first Champions League group match against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and Flick is expected to rotate heavily until then.
Dortmund, also on six points, travel to Hoffenheim, with top striker Erling Haaland in superb form after his hat-trick for Norway in their 4-0 Nations League over Romania on Sunday.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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