Of all the Champions League fixtures this evening, few are likely to offer up the excitement that RB Leipzig vs Manchester United will.
Group H is finely balanced coming into the final round of games, with Manchester United, PSG and RB Leipzig all sitting on nine points apiece.
With each side having won three and lost two as well, it means any of the three could be heading into the knockout stages by the end of play.
PSG are likely to do so, with them expected to enjoy a comfortable evening against İstanbul Başakşehir, so it means a straight shootout between Leipzig and United for the final spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side only need a draw to secure their place, while the Germans have to win or hope for things to swing dramatically in their favour otherwise.
It means the pressure is on and as you would expect the game has received a tonne of coverage in Germany today.
Kicker start us off, explaining that things are ‘tight as hell’ for Leipzig, who must go ‘all in’ if they are to qualify.
They explain that the only thing clear about their group is that Başakşehir will finish bottom and so it is left between the other three for who gets through.
Leipzig have to win after their 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford meant a draw would not be enough.
The pressure is very much on, although coach Julien Nagelsmann has tried to deflect some of that back at Manchester United.
“I don’t know for whom the group constellation is psychologically worse and the situation easier,” TZ report him saying.
“The situation for Manchester is complicated. They were first for a long time; now they can be eliminated with one game. We fought back and can do it on our own.”
It is not just sporting reasons that are adding to the tension, though, with Leipzig’s finances also set to take a hit from a failure to qualify.
Kicker explain that tonight’s game is ’eminently important’ for them from an economic standpoint as they could end up missing out on €12m depending on how things go.
They explain that Leipzig would be due to earn €9.3m if they qualified for the knockout stages, while they can also pick up another €2.7m if they get another win in the group stages.
Those are significant sums, ‘especially in the tense Corona times’ and mean there is even more added importance to tonight’s game.
If the German side are to win they will need their top players to perform, although one will be missing, with Dayot Upamecano banned for this clash.
That gives Nagelsmann something of a headache given the Frenchman’s importance, and Marbacher-Zeitung say Ibrahima Konaté will assume the role of ‘defence chief’ in the game.
Who partners him will be key, and they say Willi Orban will ‘probably’ be the one selected, although Marcel Halstenberg is ‘another top alternative’ to fill the vacancy.
Upamecano’s absence is undoubtedly a blow, something MOPO allude to by saying him being out leaves Leipzig as the ‘outsider’ against United.
As far as they are concerned the ‘key duel’ in the game will be between Harry Maguire and Emil Forsberg, with the Swedish midfielder currently ‘in the shape of his life’.
He impressed against Bayern Munich at the weekend, and MOPO say Leipzig will need him at his best against the ‘scandal professional’ who ‘drunk a little too much’ and ‘bragged about his wealth’ during the summer but is now ‘feared again’.
Their battle will be the ‘key duel’ in the ‘most important game of the season’ as far as they are concerned.
All in all, things look a little tough for Leipzig, but German legend Lothar Matthäus is confident they can get the job done.
“Leipzig has arrived in the football elite and is convincing at all club levels,” he told Sky Sport Germany.
“Above all, they show attractive, spectacular and successful football, as on Saturday in Munich.
“They scout young, fast, talented players who fit their philosophy and which top coach Julian Nagelsmann then sends onto the field in such a way that they can beat any team in the world.
“United have great players like Marcus Rashford who can make the difference, but thanks to the collective and the game idea, as well as the incredible pace of RB, they are my favourite in this game.
“Even if it will be a lot of work, I believe that Gladbach – compared to Leipzig – has the harder task. Also, because they have to compete away from home.
“United are still far behind the big times, and they may have won the first leg 5-0, but that wasn’t in sight until the 70th minute, and RB won’t repeat the same mistakes.”