Counting on Nkunku

RB Leipzig are battling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League again – but the Saxony outfit have suffered some painful defeats in recent weeks. Nonetheless, Marco Rose's team have their objective for the season in their own hands and are in with a shot of defending their title in the DFB-Pokal too. Leipzig are hoping for a fit-again Nkunku, who made a major impact in the reverse fixture, when they face TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday (15:30 CET / Live Ticker at

It has been a turbulent time for RB Leipzig. After losing away to VfL Bochum (1-0) and at home to 1. FSV Mainz 05 (3-0), Marco Rose's team qualified for the semi-finals of the cup courtesy of a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund before also winning their next two league games against Hertha BSC (1-0) and FC Augsburg (3-2). But RB's 2-0 loss in Leverkusen saw them drop to fifth place, with the Werkself now close behind them. Leipzig are two points adrift of fourth-placed Freiburg and four points ahead of Leverkusen in sixth position. There will be one of two outcomes for RB Leipzig – either big success or big disappointment.

RB's Baden week could therefore prove decisive. Their game against TSG will be followed by two away games in Freiburg – first in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday (2 May) and then in the league on Saturday (6 May). Only a victory against Hoffenheim would ensure that fourth place remains in their own hands.

Christopher Nkunku is in contention to return to the starting XI in time for the season run-in. Having been sidelined by two injuries in the second half-season, the Frenchman has gotten some game time in the last two matches and could feature in the starting line-up against Hoffenheim. The 25-year-old netted 12 goals in the first 14 games of the season, including a brace in the reverse fixture against TSG. Germany's Footballer of the Year is back at the perfect moment for Leipzig.

The suspended Amadou Haidara will be joined in the stands by Dominik Szoboszlai, who was sent off for two bookable offence against Leverkusen. There are also doubts surrounding Josko Gvardiol, Dani Olmo, Benny Henrichs and Konrad Laimer, who have all trained either not at all or only individually this week. Hence why Leipzig need a Christopher Nkunku in good nick – for this match and for the pursuit of their biggest goal for the season.

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