Berlin: RB Leipzig are determined to defend their hard-earned status as the new Bundesliga leaders with a win at Freiburg on Friday, kick-off 11.30pm UAE time, to pile the pressure on faltering Bayern Munich.
Leipzig, sponsored by Austrian energy drinks giant Red Bull, went top last Friday with a 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen, setting a new Bundesliga record in the process.
No club has gone unbeaten in their first 11 German league games after promotion.
Fifth-placed Hoffenheim are the only other unbeaten team in Germany’s top flight.
Leipzig are three points clear of second-placed Bayern, who lost 1-0 at Borussia Dortmund last Saturday and suffered a 3-2 defeat at Rostov on Wednesday in the Champions League.
RB can add extra pressure by going six points clear at Freiburg.
Bayern host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at Munich’s Allianz Arena looking to bounce back from straight defeats.
Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern are “hunting” Leipzig — music to the ears of RB coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
“From a sporting perspective we have stirred up the wasps nest, so of course there is a bit of buzzing,” quipped the Leipzig boss.
Bayern are set to host Leipzig on December 21 in what is shaping up to be a pre-Christmas showdown.
One big factor in Leipzig’s favour this season is that, having exited the German Cup in the first round, they are only involved in the Bundesliga.
In contrast, Bayern are busy with the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.
Freiburg, who were promoted alongside RB Leipzig last season, are no pushovers at their Schwarzwald Stadium, winning four of their five home games this season.
“Both teams run a lot and have good systems in place,” said Hasenhuettl.
“Freiburg were second-division champions last year ahead of us, that is why I expect a very difficult task.
“It won’t play a role that we go into this game as table leaders. Freiburg wouldn’t do anything different if we were second.”
Leipzig will be without ex-Germany defender Marvin Compper, who has an ankle injury, with Greece’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos or wingback Stefan Ilsanker to deputise.
Austria forward Marcel Sabitzer [head injury] and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita [foot problems] are also out.