RB Leipzig vs U Craiova
RB Leipzig looked decently well in the season-opening game in the second round of Europa League qualifiers when they welcomed Swedish side Hacken two weeks ago. The German side was better from the first minute but was also obvious that they need some more playing time in official matches.
Still, they managed to put pressure on the opponents and limit them to a very defensive role - taking the double lead already at the end of the first halftime thanks to goals from Bruma and Cunha. Kampl wrote 3:0 at the start of the second half and even though they lowered down the tempo, there was nothing that Hacken could do in attack.
- Leipzig had bit more of play and more of the ball possession, although it wasn't a game where they needed to show their best.
Despite the exclusion of their player Ilsanker in the 81st minute, Leipzig scored another goal three minutes later via Augustin. Their second leg match last Thursday in Gothenburg ended as a 1:1 draw. Bruno scored the opener in the 47th minute, while Irandust leveled up five minutes before the end.
A day later, players who didn't play in Sweden had a test game against Huddersfield which was lost with a 0:3 result. Other than that, Leipzig didn't play against many competitive sides in friendlies, taking this Europa League route as a test phase as well.
Left-back Marcel Halstenberg (15/2 last season) is long-term absentee and will miss matches during August for sure. Defender Dayot Upamecano (28/3) and midfielder Konrad Laimer (22/0) last season) are coming slowly from injuries and shouldn't perform here.
- Leipzig spent around 43 million euros this season to strengthen their squad.
They have signed left-back Marcelo Saracchi from River Plate, right back Nordi Mukiele from Montpellier and striker Cunha from Sion - spending 43 million euros only for transfer fees for these three. Midfielder Naby Keita went to Liverpool, left back Bernardo to Brighton, plus a couple of more for lower transfer fees.
U Craiova 1948 CS started their new season with a Super Cup game in the middle of July which they lost to CFR Cluj by a narrow 1:0 result. The only goal was scored late into the match via penalty kick taken by Culio in the 78th minute in a pretty equal game that looked much more as a defensive one even when the opponent was leading.
- Craiova didn't show much since the start of the league. They have only two points in the first three rounds.
Their league opening game was a goalless draw game against Poli Iasi at home, despite much more chances created from the home team. Second round game saw them losing to Sepsi 1:0. Finally, the last one was a 2:2 draw in front of own fans against FC Bosotani last Friday afternoon.
They had much more of the ball possession, but overall the visitors have deserved far more, is far more concrete and threatening side during the whole match. The worrying fact is also that the first three games were against play-out profile teams, but the team failed to make some proper and impressive performance.
Central midfielder Aleanxdru Cicaldau came from Viitorul. The club also signed central defender Florin Gardos from Southampton and forward Cesar Meza Colli from FK Keshla. Few more guys came on a loan deal. Forward Alexandru Baluta signed for Slavia Prague, while defensive midfielder Vladimir Screciu has gone to Genk and right winger Gustavo to Liaoning in China.
RB Leipzig already showed decent dominance over Hacken weeks ago and now should be only better as the new season approaches. They have full support from their fans even in early rounds like this, while individual quality speaks greatly in their favor. Romanian side is far away from their good form even for the standards of their domestic league.
RB Leipzig vs U Craiova prediction
RB Leipzig -2.25 Asian handicap @ 1.95 with BetVictor