RB Leipzig welcome Besiktas to the Red Bull Arena in UEFA Champions League Group G on Wednesday with progression to the knock-out stages of the competition a distinct possibility (kick-off 20.45 CET/19:45 GMT).


Leipzig’s maiden campaign on the continent has been eminently impressive, with wins over Porto and Monaco helping them to a haul of seven points with this final match left to play. Besiktas have won the group, with Porto – who also have seven points – up against Monaco in their final group game. Accordingly, if Leipzig get a better result than do the Portuguese, they will progress. The worst-case scenario for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men is the UEFA Europa League last 32, with Monaco out of Europe altogether.

The RBL coach is expected to shuffle his deck for the match following the 4-0 loss at Hoffenheim on Saturday. Club captain Willi Orban should slot back in at centre-back, while Bernardo is likely to join him in the back four. Marcel Sabitzer is out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury and has been joined on the sidelines for this one by influential Sweden international Emil Forsberg and French defender Dayot Upamecano. Timo Werner is favourite to lead the line, meanwhile, despite coming off in the reverse fixture – a 2-0 win for the Turkish side – after feeling the effects of vertigo.

Besiktas are undefeated in the Champions League this term and will play in the knock-out rounds for the first time, although they have never won a match on German soil. Third in the Turkish Superlig, Besiktas are in high spirits after beating Istanbul rivals Galatasary 3-0 on Saturday. Former Real Madrid defender Pepe has shaken off a groin injury and should start.

Watch: Leipzig proving last season was no fluke!

Probable line-ups

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Bernardo, Orban (c), Ilsanker, Halstenberg – Demme, Keita – Kampl, Bruma – Poulsen, Werner
Absentees: Sabitzer (shoulder), Forsberg (abdominal), Upamecano (thigh)
Coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl

Besiktas: Fabri – Gönül, Pepe, Tosic, Adriano – Hutchinson, Arslan – Quaresma, Özyakup (c), Babel – Tosun
Absentees: Kavlak (shoulder), Nukan (cruciate ligaments)
Coach: Senol Günes

Match stats

  • If Leipzig better Porto’s result against Monaco, then they will play in the Champions League knock-out stages for the first time in their eight-year history.
  • Werner has scored 11 goals in all competitions for Leipzig this season, including three in the Champions League.
  • Leipzig qualified for the competition after finishing second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, in what was, remarkably, their maiden top-flight campaign.
  • RBL are the 12th German club to play in the Champions League group stage.
  • Turkey centre-back Altinc Nukan is on loan as Besiktas from Leipzig, though injury has precluded him from the hosts’ European squad.
  • Besiktas attacker Ryan Babel spent the 2011/12 season with Hoffenheim, where he was teammates with Leipzig pair Marvin Compper and Dominik Kaiser.

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