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RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid: preview, team news, how to watch and prediction

Real Madrid will be travelling to Red Bull Arena to face off against RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday evening.

Real Madrid will be travelling to Red Bull Arena to face off against RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday evening.

Los Blancos qualified for the knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition by topping their group – which contained Napoli, Sporting Braga and Union Berlin.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished at the top of the table so they will be playing the first leg away from home before hosting the Bundesliga side at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu next month.

Real Madrid will be coming into this game off the back of a thumping 4-0 victory over their La Liga title rival Girona. So, they will be full of confidence ahead of this fixture.

On the other hand, Leipzig were in the same group as Manchester City, Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys. They finished second and have now been drawn to play against the record European Champions at this stage of this competition.

Previous meetings

Leipzig previously met against Real Madrid in this tournament last campaign during the group stage – where Los Blancos won the first game at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu but the German side won the reverse fixture.

How to watch

The game will kick off at 8 PM UK time and the match will be broadcasted live on TNT Sports 2 in the UK.

Supporters can still attend the game in person by purchasing from a ticket marketplace but the game is expected to be a sell out, so act fast if you want to be in the stands at the Red Bull Arena.

Team news

Leipzig have a pretty much full fit squad but Amadou Haidara is in doubt ahead of this fixture owing to an injury concern.

As for Real Madrid, they have a long list of injury problems as Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao and David Alaba are all set to miss out on this game owing to serious knee issues. Antonio Rudiger is also expected to be unavailable for selection due to an injury.

Jude Bellingham sustained an injury in the previous game against Girona and as a result, he is set to remain sidelined over the next few weeks. So, he isn’t in contention to feature in this encounter.

Nacho Fernandez was unavailable for selection in the last game owing to a muscular problem but he is expected to return for this fixture.

Predicted line-up

Rose is expected to go with the 4-2-2-2 formation with Peter Gulacsi likely to be in goal for the hosts. Willi Orban could be deployed in the backline alongside Lukas Klostermann. Benjamin Henrichs should be in the right-back position, while David Raum might be on the opposite side.

Nicolas Seiwald and Xaver Schlager are expected to be in the midfield pivot position with Dani Olmo and Xavi Simons in the advanced midfield role. Lois Openda and Benjamin Sesko might be leading the line for the hosts.

Expected Leipzig line-up vs Real Madrid

Gulacsi; Henrichs, Orban, Klostermann, Raum; Seiwald, Schlager; Olmo, Simons; Openda, Sesko

As for Real Madrid, Ancelotti is set to continue with the 4-3-1-2 formation with Andriy Lunin set to be between the sticks. Amid the visitors’ injury problems at their back, Aurelien Tchouameni could be used as an auxiliary centre-back alongside Nacho Fernandez, deploying Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy in the fullback position.

Eduardo Camavinga could be in the holding midfield position, while Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde are likely to complete the midfield trio for Los Blancos.

Brahim Diaz could commence amid Bellingham’s absence in the attacking midfield position and in front of him, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo would be the two centre-forwards for Ancelotti’s side.

Expected Real Madrid line-up vs RB Leipzig

Lunin; Carvajal, Tchouameni, Fernandez, Mendy; Camavinga, Kroos, Valverde, Diaz; Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo

Key players

Lois Openda has established himself as the talismanic figure for Leipzig after moving to Red Bull Arena from RC Lens last summer. The forward is the highest scorer for the hosts so far this season and the forward will have to be at his best to guide his team to victory in this encounter.

Sesko is a highly talented player and could create all sorts of problems for Real Madrid’s defence with his strength, speed and aerial prowess. So, Los Blancos will have to keep a close eye on the Slovenian to stop him from finding the back of the net.

Simons has been in great form this season after joining Leipzig from PSG on loan last summer. He has already established himself as a key figure for the hosts. The Dutchman is a highly talented player and could help his side win the game single-handedly. Therefore, the visitors will have to stop the Netherlands international from showcasing his best to come away victorious from this encounter.

Leipzig’s backline will have to be at the top of their game to stop Real Madrid’s attack, while Gulacsi will have to display a flawless performance to help his side win the game.

For Real Madrid, Bellingham has enjoyed a stellar debut campaign for Real Madrid having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund last summer. The midfielder has surprisingly been the highest scorer for Los Blancos this term and has managed to fill the void of Karim Benzema – who left the club ahead of this campaign. So, the midfielder’s absence will be a huge blow for the visitors and the onus will be on Diaz to fill the Englishman’s void.

Vinicius Jr has struggled with injury problems this term but he still is one of the main attacking options for Ancelotti’s side. The winger is a devastating player and he displayed his qualities in the last game against Girona. So, if he can replicate the same performance in this fixture then Real Madrid will definitely be able to come away with a victory from this fixture.

Rodrygo has enjoyed a promising campaign this term and he is also an extremely talented player. So, Leipzig will have to be careful about the Brazilian’s threat to come away with an advantage ahead of next month’s second leg.


Real Madrid are always the favourite to win almost every game and they tend to showcase their best during the knockout stage of the Champions League. So, it is going to be difficult for Leipzig to come up on top against the record European Champions.

Leipzig will desperately need to come away with a healthy lead from the first leg to have a chance to reach the next round of this competition. However, Rose’s side haven’t had a great season so far this term so it doesn’t look likely that they will be able to beat Los Blancos.

However, they will fight in this home game but Real Madrid are expected to come away victorious due to their experience and their quality. However, it is going to be interesting to see how the match will eventually unfold. Leipzig 2-3 Real Madrid

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