BERLIN – RB Leipzig hope to brush off back-to-back defeats to Bayern Munich with a morale-boosting Champions League win at Porto on Wednesday to edge them closer to the knockout stages.
After losing twice to Bayern last week, in the German Cup on Wednesday and again in the Bundesliga last Saturday, Leipzig return to European action where they are second, five points behind leaders Besiktas in Group G.
After beating Porto 3-2 at the Red Bull Arena a fortnight ago, another victory over the Portuguese would leave them well placed to make the knockout stages in their debut Champions League campaign.
“If we win there, things will look good. It’s an important game for us,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
Their 2-0 league defeat to Bayern on Saturday left Leipzig a respectable third in the Bundesliga, four points adrift of defending champions Munich.
RB Leipzig’s Champions League goal is clear, “the next level would be to go into the winter break still in Europe,” said chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff.
Liverpool-bound Naby Keita, who will join Jurgen Klopp’s Reds next season, limped out of Saturday’s defeat with a shin injury, but Leipzig’s key midfielder took part in Tuesday’s training session.
Kevin Kampl, who was kept on the bench on Saturday, is expected to start in the defensive midfield alongside Keita, who Hasenhuettl expects to be available after recovering from his knock.
“He is feeling better, I hope he will be okay for Wednesday,” said Hasenhuettl of Keita.
Germany striker Timo Werner is returning to full fitness after a neck injury.
“Timo has made a good impression in training again and shown what he’s capable of,” added Hasenhuettl.
The Germans opted to hold their final training session in Leipzig, rather than at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao stadium as is customary, because Hasenhuettl wanted to keep a few details secret.