RB Leipzig are not Bayern Munich, nor could they ever be, but the gap between Germany's most successful team and Germany's most promising one is closing. A double header makes for a mouth-watering prospect.
RB Leipzig have the dubious pleasure of facing Bayern Munich twice this week. First, they first host the Bavarians in the German Cup before traveling to Munich at the weekend in the Bundesliga. It's a moment for the team from the east to prove their challenge to the champion's throne is real.
Most German sides that take on Bayern always talk about needing a perfect performance to even stand a chance and the same noises are coming out of RB Leipzig's camp this week. "Bayern are in a league of their own," RB Leipzig's business manager Oliver Mintzlaff told the news agency SID. It feels like Bayern have always been ahead, but RB Leipzig have quickly closed the gap.
Brushed aside in their first meeting, RB Leipzig played a thriller against Bayern in the final game of last season - one that ended 5-4 to Bayern after a furious finale. Since then their paths haven't crossed, but their respective developments have been interesting to observe. Bayern have changed their head coach, talked about finding their identity again (an admission of having lost some of it) and had to deal with public player unrest.
The arrival of Jupp Heynckes certainly steadies the ship for Germany's record champions, but the current wind in Bayern's sails is fresh - Leipzig's has been guiding them for a while longer.
RB Leipzig have the same head coach, continue to preach the same identity (however unpopular) and have dealt with the future departure of one of their best players.
Bayern are aware of the threat RB Leipzig pose. Despite defensive depth, Mats Hummels even talked about "gritting his teeth" through a capsule injury so he could play.
Former Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer rightly said that RB Leipzig "weren't there yet" in reference to the very top, but both the creation and execution of their plan has, from the outside looking in, been flawless.
Ahead of Wednesday's clash, Heynckes said RB Leipzig had been innovative with their approach. With more internationals and a younger average squad age than Bayern, RB Leipzig have good reason to be excited. "I've worked out chances for us," RB Leipzig's head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl said ahead of the game.
Bayern have won their last three in all competitions, RB Leipzig their last four in the Bundesliga.
Bayern haven't gone out in the second round of the German Cup since 2000 (to Magdeburg on penalties) - Ralph Hasenhüttl hasn't made it past the second round since 2013.
Both sides attacking forces are impressive in quality and depth - and both are leading the charge for German clubs in Europe. The cup provides the chance for RB Leipzig to land a knockout blow, while a win in the Bundesliga would be another jab in Bayern's side.
Wednesday's German Cup fixtures:
Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig
Hertha Berlin vs. Cologne
Wolfsburg vs. Hannover
Kaiserslautern vs. Stuttgart
Regensburg vs. Heidenheim
Werder Bremen vs. Hoffenheim
Freiburg vs. Dynamo Dresden
Osnabrück vs. Nürnberg