LatestNkunku came off the bench after minor wrist surgery on Saturday to help Leipzig come from 3-0 down to snatch a draw at Augsburg and extend their unbeaten run to seven games. That includes back-to-back victories home and away against Celtic to reignite Die Roten Bullen’s European campaign. The DFB Cup holders currently sit second in Group F and know they will be through to the last 16 if they win and Shakhtar Donetsk – a point behind in third – lose in Glasgow. Andre Silva is the club’s leading scorer in the Champions League this season with two goals, plus an additional two assists, but Timo Werner has missed the last three matches with illness.
Coach Marco Rose is yet to settle on which of Josko Gvardiol and Abdou Diallo partners Willi Orban in central defence in front of Janis Blaswich, who continues to deputise for long-term absentee Peter Gulacsi. Benzema was with Nkunku in Paris last Monday as he won the 2022 Ballon d’Or ahead of Sadio Mane. However, the striker missed Saturday’s 3-1 win at home to Sevilla with “muscular fatigue” that will also keep him out of the trip to the Red Bull Arena.
The Champions League holders are already through to the knockout stage, leading the group by four points ahead of Leipzig. Former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti may therefore opt to rotate a bit and has a number of former Bundesliga players at his disposal in 10-time champion David Alaba, Toni Kroos, Antonio Rüdiger, Dani Carvajal, Jesus Vallejo and Alvaro Odriozola. However, the most decorated coach in the competition’s history will be eager to ensure Los Blancos maintain their unbeaten start to the season as he returns to Leipzig for the first time since Bayern’s famous 5-4 win there in 2017. Watch: The best Bundesliga goals by ex-Real Madrid playersMatch statsNkunku is Leipzig’s 11-goal top scorer this season from 17 appearances – four more than Real’s joint-best scorers (Fede Valverde and Vinicius Junior).
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