Bundesliga: Out-of-sorts outfits set to lock horns in Leipzig | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.09.2018
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Bundesliga: Out-of-sorts outfits set to lock horns in Leipzig

Already 12 games into their 2018-19 campaign, Leipzig are struggling to find their feet in arguably their toughest season to date. The midweek visit of Stuttgart offers the Saxony side a chance to get back on track.

Since the club's inception in 2009, RB Leipzig have made no bones about their desire not just to reach the European stage, but to establish themselves amongst Europe's elite in the long-term.

Now in their second season of juggling three competitions, performances of late suggest Ralf Rangnick and Co. still have a lot to learn, with ill-discipline proving costly both on and off the pitch.

Three games, two suspensions and just one win

Any optimism following the 3-2 win over Hannover was snuffed out after a humiliating defeat against Salzburg, which Rangnick claimed had seen Leipzig take "at least one-and-a-half, if not two steps backwards”.

Watch video 11:56

Tom on the road - with Leipzig Fans

Players have received public critiques far removed from the media-trained platitudes of most post-match press conferences, while Nordi Mukiele and Jean-Kevin Augustin were suspended from first-team affairs for Sunday's trip to Frankfurt after breaching the club's behavioral code.

"We've got clear rules in the group. The decision was right and consistent,” captain Willi Orban said before finding the positives in the 1-1 draw. "The game against Frankfurt was a test of our character following Thursday's non-performance. Of course, we'd have liked three points, but it's nice to have taken a step forward. With a bit of luck we'd have won. But we've got to learn, learn, and learn.”

Now 12 Bundesliga games without a clean sheet and leading the league with five goals conceded before half-time, Leipzig desperately need to break bad habits. With Rangnick struggling to find the balance between disciplinarian and motivator, facing an out-of-sorts Stuttgart side may provide the perfect tonic.

Korkut's magic has worn off in Stuttgart

The Swabian side are a shadow of the team that took the Bundesliga by storm at the start of the year. Only title winners Bayern picked up more points than Tayfun Korkut's charges in the second half of last season.

However, the magic touch seems to have worn off over the summer with Stuttgart second from bottom and without a win to their name. "We'll get our chances on Wednesday,” said Korkut. "We want to take the next step and pick up our first win of the season.”

Fußball Bundesliga 4.Spieltag VfB Stuttgart vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf | VfB-Torhüter Ron-Robert Zieler (Getty Images/Bongarts/A. Grimm)

Ron-Robert Zieler made a string of world class saves as Stuttgart held on for a 0-0 draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf last time out.

Improvements will need to be made at both ends of the pitch if that's to happen. Stuttgart have failed to score in four of five games in all competitions this season, whilst at the back, no Bundesliga side has conceded more goalscoring chances.

"Not everything is perfect just yet,” continued Korkut. "It's about enjoying longer periods of positive play out on the pitch. We've got to present a compact and united front in Leipzig and close the channels. A lot will be thrown at us.

Remaining Bundesliga Matchday 5 fixtures

Fortuna Düsseldorf vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.)

Mainz vs. Wolfsburg (Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Nuremberg

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

RB Leipzig vs. Stuttgart