RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is trying to ensure the Bundesliga leaders stay alert at Eintracht Frankfurt this weekend amid an intensifying title race by organising a sleep seminar.
Bayern Munich’s seven-year domination in Germany is under threat with Leipzig, Gladbach, Dortmund and Schalke all in the hunt for this season’s title.
Leipzig travel to mid-table Frankfurt looking to maintain their four-point lead over second-placed Bayern and extend a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Striker Timo Werner is level with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski as the league’s joint top scorer with 20 goals after netting twice in last weekend’s 3-1 home win over Union Berlin.
In an effort to squeeze every advantage Nagelsmann brought in sleep experts to brief his squad about getting better rest between games.
“It was about improving sleep quality — sleeping in the right rhythms and spending less time checking the mobile or watching television in the evening to keep blue light to a minimum,” explained Nagelsmann.
Leipzig were caught napping when Union took a shock first-half lead last Saturday before Werner scored either side of a goal by captain Marcel Sabitzer.
“We need to be completely greedy in wanting to defend our goal and give nothing away,” Nagelsmann warned.
Leipzig snapped up promising goalkeeper Josep Martinez from Las Palmas in midweek and are reportedly close to signing Dinamo Zagreb’s Spanish midfielder Dani Olmo as well.
Bayern host high-flying Schalke, who clawed back into the title picture with a 2-0 home win over Gladbach following the winter break.
The defending champions have strengthened their injury-hit defence by signing right-back Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid.
The 24-year-old could made his debut at the Allianz Arena and gives head coach Hansi Flick options in a back four depleted by injuries to centre-backs Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez.
“I’m already thinking about the game against Schalke and hope to play,” said Odriozola upon his arrival.
Schalke could also hand a debut to French centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan from Barcelona.
Schalke last beat Bayern in 2011, but David Wagner’s side has improved since the 3-0 home loss to the Bavarians in August when Lewandowski bagged a hat-trick.
“We have really developed since and our goal is to play good football in Munich. If we do that, we have a good chance of taking something away,” said Schalke sports director Jochen Schneider.
One to watch: Timo Werner
The Germany striker is keeping pace with Lewandowski as the pair chase down Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 goals from the 1971/72 season.
Werner has scored in eight of his last 10 league games and dug Leipzig out of trouble last Saturday against Union with some lethal finishing — which surprised even him.
“I have never scored a goal like that,” Werner said of his second-half equaliser, a thunderous first-time strike from the edge of the area.
“What can I say? I hit it perfectly, but there was a time when I’d have fired that out of the stadium.”
183 – the number of seconds Erling Braut Haaland needed on his Dortmund debut before scoring the first of three goals off the bench against Augsburg.
35 – the millions of euros ($39 million) Real Madrid paid Real Sociedad for Odriozola in 2018. The Spain international found himself surplus to requirements in Madrid this season.
19 – the number of games since Schalke last beat Bayern home or away.
Fixtures (all times 1430 GMT unless stated)
Borussia Dortmund v Cologne (1930)
Bor. Moenchengladbach v Mainz, VfL Wolfsburg V Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig, Freiburg v Paderborn, Union Berlin v Augsburg, Bayern Munich v Schalke 04 (1730)
Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen v Fortuna Duesseldorf (1700)
1/1 Leipzig striker Timo Werner (L) has 20 goals in 18 league games this term