Matchday 12: There’s More Than Showing Up
As clubs return from the international break, we get a front-heavy schedule of action. The first match is the highly-anticipated BVB match where we see if the club can recover from its slide. The weekend ends with potential relegation six-pointers as clubs at the bottom of the table begin to face the need to start collecting points before it is too late.
For all clubs, now begins a major part of the schedule. The month-long winter break is five matchdays, or roughly thirty days, from this weekend. This period is an important chance for every club to gain some momentum to position themselves in the table where they hope to be. Rosters will be stretched and emotions will run as every club knows that in a short time, all their players will be going off for a break and the winter transfer window will open.
VfB Stuttgart v. BVB – No Auba when the club desperately need three points to keep pace means this match is one not to miss. Add the fact it is a Friday night match and it should be immense fun.
FC Bayern Munchen v. FC Augsburg: It seems like every week we throw out a ridiculous stat about Robert Lewandowski, but this may top them all. The Polish international has 16 goals in 12 Bundesliga meetings against Augsburg (with both Bayern and BVB) including two hat tricks. Oh, and he also has five assists against them. Maybe his thigh issue will slow him down a little, although Augsburg to this point have only conceded 11 goals this season.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v. RB Leipzig: Timo Werner, he scores when he wants to. Another goal for Germany means seven in ten appearances, so the break has done nothing to dent his form. Meanwhile, Leverkusen are unbeaten at home this season and have 14 goals in their last 6 matches.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v. Eintracht Frankfurt: Frankfurt are unbeaten in their last six matches but injuries are piling up. Alex Meier and Jonathan de Guzman will both be out until the next calendar year. Hoffenheim entered the break with a strong 3-0 showing and unlike Frankfurt have players like Serge Gnabry and Adam Szalai returning from injury.
VfL Wolfsburg v. SC Freiburg: The struggle is real for both sides as both are trying to avoid the whirlpool of the relegation zone. Wolfsburg have drawn their last seven league matches while Freiburg will be without Philipp Lienhart and Florian Niederlechner. Fun fact – Wolfsburg have yet to win at home this season and Freiburg have yet to win on the road. A draw means a new Bundesliga record for most consecutive draws for the home side.
1 FSV Mainz 05 v. 1 FC Koln: Good news for the home side as captain Rene Adler could feature for the first time in months after suffering a thigh injury. Speaking of thigh injuries, Cologne could see Jhon Cordoba return after suffering the same injury, and just in time to face his former club. Claudio Pizarro is also in line to return. That’s the good news. The bad is that the visitors have set the record for fewest goals throughout the first eleven matchdays and tied the record for fewest points in the same period.
SV Werder Bremen v. Hannover 96: Florian Kohfeld should enjoy his first home match as manager, maybe at least until kickoff. His club are looking to snap a 14-Bundesliga match winless streak (dating back to the 2016/2017 season). Fun fact – if Maximilian and Johannes Eggstein, and Lamine and Salif Sane all feature, it will be the first Bundesliga match with two sets of brothers on the pitch.
Hertha BSC v. Borussia Monchengladbach: Valentino Lazaro will face the home fans this weekend as a Hertha player for the first time, as he signed a permanent contract with the club during the break. Two big returns in this match are Matthew Leckie (from international duty with Australia) and Christoph Kramer (thigh injury). The visitors have won six of the last seven matches between the sides.
FC Schalke 04 v. Hamburger SV: We have mentioned him prior, but Weston McKinnie may soon rival Christian Pulisic as the best American in the Bundesliga. A goal against Portugal this week will fill the Schalke man with confidence. His compatriot Bobby Wood will probably stand aside for the in-form Jann-Fiete Arp, who is an incredible talent and may single-handedly turn around Hamburg’s fate. Points on the road this week against a good side will go a long way to helping arrest their slide to the bottom.