Matchday 10: The Difficulty’s Coming Here

Bundesliga Preview

Is this the weekend where Dortmund fall from first? The good news is they hold their fate in their hands as their match kicks off before the second and third place sides begin their match. However, this is the week we could begin further stratification of the league table. Right now, there are three to four groups of clubs based on form and points. Based on the schedule this weekend, that stratification could continue. Or we could see further chaos. Either way, this is setting up to be an interesting weekend in the Bundesliga.

Tier One

FC Bayern Munchen v. RB Leipzig: It seems like just yesterday these two sides met. Rather, it was three days past. Will Bayern’s victory on penalties carry over into a league match? A key to this match will be the play of Naby Keita. The Guinean has been a measuring stick for Leipzig this season, at times poor and at other times superb. If he can boss the midfield against Bayern’s stars, Leipzig could emerge as the league favourite/biggest challenger to Dortmund.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v. Borussia Monchengladbach: The big news is that Sandro Wagner could be unavailable for the home side in this match. He did not feature in the Pokal match-up against Bremen and an adductor strain may sideline him again. For the visitors, which side will show up – the one that defeated Fortuna Dusseldorf in the DFB Cup or the one that lost a week ago to Leverkusen 5-1? Don’t turn this one off early – Hoffenheim have lost a lead six times in their last nine matches.

Hannover 96 v. Borussia Dortmund: The Black and Yellow got much-needed relief mid-week with their rout of FC Magdeburg. Now, the key is whether that momentum will continue and Dortmund can right their standing in their other competitions.

Tier Two

1 FSV Mainz 05 v. Eintracht Frankfurt: Frankfurt have the momentum with wins against Dortmund last week and Schweinfurt in the DFB Cup. Timothy Chandler will be missing a while with a torn cartilage in his right knee so there will be a gap to fill at fullback. Mainz needed the full ninety minutes plus extra time to advance, so the question is how fresh many of their key players are. Good news for the home side, however, is that they have never lost a home match to Frankfurt playing in the top two divisions.

SV Werder Bremen v. FC Augsburg: Max Kruse looks to be in line for a return for Werder Bremen, a boost for a club that has scored three league goals. The home side have never gone winless after ten matches to start the season, and face an Augsburg side looking to right itself after a hot start.

FC Schalke 04 v. VfL Wolfsburg: Domenico Tedesco’s side have won their last four matches in all competitions but could be without goal threat Leon Goretzka in the midfield. Wolfsburg could be seeing a light at the end of a long tunnel, as John Brooks is returning to training to challenge revelations Felix Uduokhai and Marcel Tisserand.

Tier Three

Hertha BSC v. Hamburger SV: The bad news for Hertha is that in addition to their poor place in the table, they will be without a suspended Matthew Leckie and coming off an ugly loss in the DFB Cup to Cologne. For Hamburg, Albin Ekdal has a shot to feature in this match which could help the midfield.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v. 1. FC Koln: Leverkusen are playing well and scoring plenty of goals, fifteen in their last five matches to be exact. Their squad rotation for Wednesday’s DFB Cup victory over Union Berlin means Heiko Herrlich has options for his starting XI. Cologne secured their first victory of the league campaign last weekend, so the question is if that was an anomaly or the start of a resurgence.

VfB Stuttgart v. SC Freiburg: Bad news for the visitors as Real Madrid loanee Philipp Lienhart will be sidelined until December with knee ligament damage. That will make the task of leaving Stuttgart with points much harder against a side that is on their longest unbeaten home streak since the 2006-2007 season.