Matchday 11: Isn’t It Strange How We Change Everything We’ve Done?
For Dortmund fans, there will be no need to watch the scoreboard this weekend. If the club defeats Bayern, it controls its fate in the league. Failing to do so and continuing its slide means bigger problems.
That discussion is for another story. This article is about the other matches this weekend. While no other club can lay claim to the top spot this weekend, there are a number of intriguing matches that may establish the top contenders to the top two. At the other end, Cologne are desperate for an escape from the bottom and while the point difference between 16 and 17 is not great, the narrative is.
On to the weekend preview, with our usual three tiers and one additional one.
Platinum Tier (you don’t watch this, you don’t like football)
Borussia Dortmund v. FC Bayern Munich: The fact this match is at Signal Iduna Park makes this even more cannot miss.
RB Leipzig v. Hannover 96: While most of the football world is focused on one v. two, three hosts four in a match that may have even more intriguing storylines. Naby Keita returns from suspension while Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen were both left out of the starting XI on Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Porto. For Hannover, confidence from the promoted side grows with a 4-2 victory over Dortmund. Imagine what three points from Leipzig at Leipzig would do! Fun fact – this is the first time the clubs have faced each other in a competitive match.
FC Augsburg v. Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Augsburg righted the ship last week with a victory over Bremen, but will be without Alfred Finnbogason, Jan Moravek, and Sergio Cordova. They will have to handle Leon Bailey, whose three goals in four matches has been a big reason they are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions. Fun fact: Augsburg have never defeated Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
Eintracht Frankfurt v. SV Werder Bremen: Former U23 coach Florian Kohfeldt takes over a Bremen club desperate for a victory. In his press conference, he declared that all players will have “an opportunity to prove themselves”. Frankfurt will simply look to continue their excellent play and will have a healthy roster to choose from. Fun fact: Frankfurt have beaten Bremen more than any other Bundesliga club, but still only have 34 victories to 40 losses.
1 FC Koln v. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Similar to above, a club at the bottom of the table faces one closer to the top to try and climb out of the relegation zone. Cologne have momentum after their victory over BATE Borisov in the Europa League but have had none in the league this season.
VfL Wolfsburg v. Hertha BSC: Watch out league; both Mario Gomez and Divock Origi look to be healthy. Can they both play in the starting XI and give Wolfsburg a truly dangerous 1-2 punch? Speaking of scoring threat, Matthew Leckie likely misses this match to heal for home country Australia’s match against Honduras to qualify for the World Cup.
SC Freiburg v. FC Schalke 04: Since losing to Hoffenheim in Matchday 6, Schalke have looked like a top-four club. They will be without Leon Goretzka this weekend, so someone (maybe Weston McKennie?) will have to step up. Freiburg are unbeaten at home this season and have a 9-match unbeaten streak at Schwarzwald Stadion.
Borussia Monchengladbach v. 1 FSV Mainz 05: Mainz may be beginning a good run up the table, as they only have one defeat in their past five league matches. They face a Gladbach team in good form but that has lost two of their three matches this season at home.
Hamburger SV v. VfB Stuttgart: Will we see Jann-Fiete Arp this weekend? The 17-year-old could be in line for a start to try and arrest Hamburg’s poor form. Giving hope to the home side is that Stuttgart has no points on the road, so something will give this weekend.