LINE: RB Leipzig +160 | Draw +250 | Borussia Dortmund +155
KICK OFF: Thursday, May 13th, 14:45PM EST
WHERE: Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany
RB Leipzig were only formed in 2009, where they started in the 5th tier of German football. In the last 12 years, they have rocketed through the leagues but are yet to be the bride. So far, they have settled for being the bridesmaid with a 3-0 defeat in the 2018-19 DFB-Pokal final to Bayern Munich and runners up in the 2016-17 Bundesliga season. Borussia Dortmund have won this competition four times in 1964/65, 1988/89, 2011/12, and 2016/17.
Winning this season’s DFB-Pokal would be a great parting gift for the managers and some of the players on both sides. Jadon Sancho will return to England, and he would love to end his time in Germany with a piece of silverware. Edin Terzić’s time as interim manager is also coming to an end. Marco Rose will replace him in the summer, and he is set to be one of his assistants. A DFB-Pokal win and Top 4 finish will do wonders for his reputation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if another club comes in for him this Summer.
Leipzig are in a similar situation. Dayot Upamecano’s transfer to Bayern was announced back in February, and manager Julian Nagelsmann will follow him to the Allianz Arena after Hansi Flick announced his intentions to leave. Marcel Sabitzer, Marcel Halstenberg, Willi Orbán, and Emil Forsberg all have a year left on their contracts, and Ibrahima Konaté has a release clause that activates. Most of these players have been at the club since 2015 and are the foundation of their rise from the lower divisions to Bundesliga title challengers.
RB LEIPZIG PROJECTED STARTING XI
Nagelsmann will stick with a similar formation and players who started against Dortmund on Saturday. I think he will be a little more cautious by going with one up top and playing Dani Olmo a little deeper to control the center of the pitch. Tyler Adams and Christopher Nkunku are both still suffering from back issues, and if they make it, it will be on the bench.
I expect Hee-Chan Hwang, Lukas Klostermann, and Benjamin Henrichs to drop to the bench for Nordi Mukiele, Konaté, and Amadou Haidara. Konatè is Leipzig’s most naturally gifted defender, and his pace will help them keep Dortmund’s frontline quiet. Haidara has been performing well in recent weeks, and Mukiele is the club’s strongest RWB at this moment.
I would stick with Forsberg up top, who’s in good form with an assist and two goals in his last three matches. Yussuf Poulsen hasn’t found the back of the net in his previous six appearances, and Alexander Sørloth has only scored twice in his last six.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND PROJECTED STARTING XI
Terzić will be delighted to have Erling Haaland available. He returned to training on Tuesday after being sidelined with a muscle injury for their last two games. I’m confident he will start on Thursday with Thorgan Hazard, Marco Reus, and Sancho playing in the three behind him, with Gio Reyna dropping to the bench. Hazard is more direct, and his pace and trickery will help them on the counter and in transition.
Jude Bellingham will return to the starting lineup after serving his one-match Bundesliga suspension. The 17-year-old England international is BVB’s only true box-to-box midfielder, and he has blossomed in recent weeks scoring three goals in his last six games. Mahmoud Dahoud was one of the best players on the pitch against Leipzig at the weekend. He bossed the midfield with his passing, dribbling, and movement. Fans will be hoping he can produce a similar performance at the Olympiastadion.
Marwin Hitz has been ruled out for the rest of the season with the knee injury he picked up on Saturday after colliding with Manual Akanji. Terzić will restore former first-choice goalkeeper Roman Bürki to the starting lineup and stick with the same back four.
DFB-POKAL FINAL BETTING TIPS
Sports Books think this game could go either way, and that’s reflected in the Money Line with Leipzig at +155 and Dortmund at +160. Both play very differently, with Leipzig’s strength coming from their pressing, system, and tactical flexibility, whereas Dortmund relies more on individual brilliance.
Leipzig’s biggest shortcoming this season is they haven’t replaced the goals of Timo Werner. If they had Haaland or a player of similar quality, they would be heavy favorites. The core of their squad have been playing together for a few seasons now, and they have experienced so many firsts together, like playing in the Champions League. Winning the DFB-Pokal would be another first for all of them, and it would be the perfect ending to their time together.
Nagelsmann said he would use Saturday’s meeting to try a few things out, so expect a tighter game. His tactical brilliance and the squad’s team spirit will win RB Leipzig their first-ever piece of major silverware.
Prediction – 2 Units: RB Leipzig Money Line +160 | 0.5 Units: Correct Score RB Leipzig 2 -1 Borussia Dortmund +850
WHERE TO BET THE DFB-POKAL IN THE US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in New Jersey, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.