This was not a great week for the Bundesliga. The prime talking point was its clubs going 0 for 6 in European competitions, highlighted by BVB’s thrashing by Real Madrid and Bayern’s disappointing showing against PSG. The results are already starting a domino effect, as Ancelotti is out and speculation runs rampant on who’s next in line for the league’s premier job.
In the meantime, the league serves up a tantalizing list of fixtures, kicked off with match-up of two sides mid-table but looking to climb. After such disappointment in Europe, how will the returning clubs respond, especially those at or near the top of the table? And, with an international break approaching, how will clubs line-up knowing clubs (if not players) will have time off before a brutal Matchday 8?
As a reminder, our matches are divided into three categories: tier one (cannot miss), tier two (worth recording or watching when you have time), and tier three (don’t make time to watch).
FC Schalke 04 v. Bayer 04 Leverkusen: The new American sensation Weston McKennie signed a new long-term deal with the home side, but will likely give way to a returning Leon Goretzka. Schalke will face the now trendy VAB frontline of Kevin Volland, Lucas Alario, and Leon Bailey. Leverkusen have lost all of their away games so far this season but have won on their last three trips to Schalke.
FC Augsburg v. BVB: The Black and Yellow’s defence was woefully exposed on the European stage, so will league competition be able to take advantage?
Hertha BSC v. FC Bayern Munchen: The world’s attention will be focused on Bayern and new boss Willy Sagnol. Even though the former Bayern player will likely be a placeholder, it will be a chance to audition for future roles. His first task is travelling from the footballing capital to the political capital of Germany. Hertha are coming off a disappointing loss with Ostersunds (managed by Graham Potter) that leaves them last in their Europa League group. Matthew Leckie still is a threat in the league, with the Bayern defence his best test yet.
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Hannover 96: Both clubs are looking to rebound from less than stellar showing in Matchday 6. Hannover are looking to recover from an embarrassing draw with Koln last time out. Gladbach were demolished by BVB.
Eintracht Frankfurt v. VfB Stuttgart: Stuttgart Twitter was busy this week sending out pictures of players in training. Of note was Chadrac Akolo, whose goal-scoring potential is much needed for a club that has no points in three road matches this year (and has been outscored 7-1). Speaking of points, Frankfurt have only four goals through six matches.
Sport-Club Freiburg v. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: The visitors had likely hoped to have the football world focus on Bayern and BVB while they strung together a title challenge. However, with Ancelotti gone and Hoffenheim in second, the spotlight will be squarely on them and their 30-year-old seemingly heir apparent. Freiburg will hope to grab another draw (to make five on the young season) or even spring a surprise for their first victory of the season.
VfL Wolfsburg v. 1 FSV Mainz 05: Wolfsburg are now dating the ex. Eleven days ago, Wolfsburg became the first club to make a managerial change and appointed Martin Schmidt. The 50-year-old hosts his former club, who he led to a disappointing 15th place finish which was just above…Wolfsburg.
Hamburger SV v. SV Werder Bremen: Hamburg started the season well but have gone into a slide while haemorrhaging goals. They desperately need three points from this match to not only arrest their slide, but to stop from falling into the bottom three, where Bremen currently sit. Bremen are one of three clubs still winless on the season. If this were April, this would be a riveting relegation six-pointer.
1 FC Koln v. RB Leipzig: Despite tripping up in Europe, Leipzig have found a better league form of late. The good news for the visitors is that star Timo Werner has seemingly recovered from his “dizziness” experienced at Besiktas on Wednesday. Koln fans are making news off the pitch for all the right reasons – this week donating their away tickets to an orphanage – but their players desperately needing points before they become buried at the bottom of the table.