Rosenborg vs Leipzig – Thursday, October 4, 17:55 BST/18:55 CEST – Lerkendal Stadion, Trondheim, Norway
This is the first time Rosenborg meet Leipzig – the German club has never faced Norwegian opposition in its short history. Going back, however, it has been a difficult history for the Trondheim based club against German opposition.
Rosenborg have won only once in 12 matches against German clubs and never in Trondheim, where their record is D3 L3, the defeats have come in the three most recent encounters. They have lost four out of four UEFA Europa League matches against Bundesliga opposition – all of them to Bayer Leverkusen, including two 0-1 defeats at home.
A record 25th Norwegian title in 2017 – Norway’s season runs within the calendar year – earned Rosenborg a place in this season’s UEFA Champions League qualifying phase. After going out to Celtic, they won all four of their UEFA Europa League qualifiers against Cork City and Shkëndija to secure a second successive season in the group stage.
On matchday 1 it was once again Celtic, who dropped down to the Europa League after the third round of Champions League qualifying, that put Rosenborg to the sword. The Scots won that match 1-0 and put Rosenborg under pressure to produce something tangible from this match.
That pressure is also felt in Leipzig. RasenBallsport Leipzig were defeated 2-3 by sister club FC Salzburg on matchday 1. At one point Leipzig were down by two goals but were able to fight their way back into the match equalising the scoreline.
Ultimately, however, Salzburg came out on top, which led to interims head coach Ralf Rangnick to briefly suspend French stars Jean-Kevin Augustin and Nordi Mukiele.
What followed was a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Suspension and tactical tweaks, however, meant that Rangnick got his team back on track with victories against Stuttgart and Hoffenheim.
The match against Hoffenheim, in particular, was outstanding. Future head coach Julian Nagelsmann coaches die Kraichgauer, and Rangnick showed his future understudy some tactical tricks by switching Leipzig to a rather untypical 3-5-2 formation – almost mirroring Hoffenheim’s starting eleven.
That match highlighted Rangnick’s ability to make adjustments to his football philosophy. The 60-year-old head coach was important in importing the four-man defence to Germany in the late 1990s early 2000s but at the same time is also understood to be a tactical mastermind very much in tune with the newest trends and willing to change his fundamental approach.
Hence, while the Red Bull school tends to be based on a 4-2-2-2 formation, Leipzig might make the necessary adjustments to be competitive on Thursday in Norway. Given a thin squad and tactical adjustments it is difficult to judge what formation Rangnick will use but on paper die Roten Bullen will be favourites at the Lerkendal on Thursday.
Rosenborg vs Leipzig – Players to look out for:
Alexander Söderlund #14 – Rosenborg Trondheim
Normally one would have to pick Niklas Bendtner in this category. But the Danish striker has not been in the squad since being involved in a fight with a taxi driver in early September. In his stead, Alexander Söderlund has become the most important striker in head coach Rini Coolen’s setup. The forward has scored seven goals and four assists in 24 league games for Rosenborg this season.
Jean-Kevin Augustin #29 – RB Leipzig
Rehabilitated from his suspension, Augustin returned to the squad against Stuttgart and was brought on in the second half. The 21-year-old had an instant impact scoring Leipzig’s second goal of the game in a 2-0 victory. He was also brought off the bench on Saturday against Hoffenheim but remained without a goal. Nonetheless, three goals in four Bundesliga games is a good average for a striker, and with Augustin not starting in the last two matches there is a good chance Rangnick could rotate the French forward into the starting eleven for the match against Rosenborg.
Rosenborg vs Leipzig – Match Stats
- The Trondheim club are undefeated at home in Europe this term (W3 D1) and have scored three goals in five of their last eight UEFA home fixtures, emerging victorious in each case.
- Rosenborg have won just two of their nine UEFA Europa League group games on Norwegian soil, however, losing five.
- Rosenborg finished third in their UEFA Europa League group last season – behind Zenit and Real Sociedad – and have yet to progress into the knockout phase in four attempts.
- Indeed their last 12 European group stage participation across all competitions have been unsuccessful.
- Leipzig drew all three of their away matches in this season’s UEFA Europa League qualifying phase. Their away record in two seasons of European competition is W2 D4 L3.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Rosenborg vs Leipzig – 1-3
Rosenborg vs Leipzig – Lineups
Hansen – Gersbach, Hovland, Reginiussen, Hedenstad – Lundemo, Konradsen – Jensen – Jebali, Söderlund, de Lanlay
Head Coach: Rini Coolen
Mvogo – Halstenberg, Upamecano, Orban, Mukiele – Demme, Kampl – Forsberg, Sabitzer – Augustin, Matheus Cunha
Head Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.