After a long international break, the Bundesliga season returns this weekend with several enticing matches.
As the season progresses, title favorites Bayern Munich has already lost ground to Borussia Dortmund. The “Schwarzgelben” have won every one of their games so far and will be facing Hamburg on Saturday. Dortmund relied on new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan for two goals and the new signing has gelled well playing behind Lewandowski. With the polish striker injured, Aubemayang will be slotting in for him and will try to continue his fine goal scoring form, finding the back of the net 4 times already. Hamburg scored four against promoted Eintracht Braunschweig and will be glad to see Lewandowski out for this fixture. They will be relying on old boy Rafael Van Der Vaart for inspiration and so will Bayern Munich.
Speaking of the champions, they have been struggling with injuries to some key players like Robben, Goetze, Alcantara and Martinez. Bayern recently beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout in order to boost the morale of the players and confidence in the coach. Guardiola has already lost one trophy and was under pressure by the German press to keep the romantic story upbeat. Bayern tied in a poor display against SC Freiburg, who are currently struggling at the bottom of the league. Their opponents on gameweek 5, Hannover, have won 3 out of their 4 games and have been free scoring, beating their last opponents 4-1. Sobiech and Mame Diouf have meshed well together, but Diouf will surely be sitting out of the game after having been seen in crutches.
FC Schalke 04, boosted by the purchase of the Kevin-Prince Boateng, will try to climb out of the bottom half of the table in a game against Mainz. Mainz was thoroughly outplayed against Hannover but is still 5 points above Schalke. Die Nullfünfer have been led by an unlikely source in Nicolei Müller. The forward has scored 5 goals in this campaign and will be someone to look out for. The Friday game, Hertha BSC Berlin against VFB Stuttgart, will see Stuttgart trying to rebuild their season. They had not won a game and crashed out of the Europa League until last Sunday to move the Schwaben from bottom place…oh and also sacking their coach Bruno Labbadia. He did not last long into the new season before management decided that they may get relegated with him in charge. Ibisevic scored a hatrick against his old club Hoffenheim and will be looking forward to a trip to Germany’s capital.
Werder Bremen has had a shaky start to their first season in over decade without Schaaf heading the team. Having won 2 and lost two, they have only managed to score 3 goals, and will be facing a Frankfurt side struggling at the bottom. Frankfurt has added Tranquilo Barnetta to their side who will be joining his countryman Pirmin Schwegler. Werder Bremen will hope that Frankfurt is already feeling the strains of their Europa League qualification games. Bremen have let go of Marko Arnautovic but brought in a player of similar stature in Franco Di Santo. The Argentinian began to find his feet last year at Wigan, but continues failing to impress his critics. At Bremen he may be given a chance instead of Aaron Hunt.
The Bundesliga is known for some outrageous score lines and these two teams, Hoffenheim and Borussia Monchengladbach, certainly do not disappoint. Hoffenheim and Monchengladbach lead the table in goals with 12 and 10 respectively. Hoffeinheim boast the league’s worst defense having conceded 12 compared to Monchengladbach’s 8. Goals have come from all over the field for Gladbach with Max Kruse leading the lot. Hoffenheim have three players with three goals, and one of them is highly rated Kevin Volland.
Finally, Champions League contenders, Bayer Leverkusen will continue their push for the top against VFL Wolfsburg in a game that has been dubbed the game of the week. Wolfsburg’s Diego is starting to show why he was once one of the most highly touted players in the world. The little Brazilian was in full force and has been able to combine with Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic. Leverkusen is still reeling from their loss against Schalke and hopes that new boy Eren Derdiyok can provide Stefan Kiessling with some help up front. The misfiring striker was a flop at Hoffenheim and is looking to redeem himself at his old club where he was a success and a mainstay in the Swiss team. With Switzerland most likely going to Brazil, Derdiyok is going to have to turn over a new leaf with national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld who has given him the cold shoulder.
Games of the weekend:
Bayer Leverkusen vs VFL Wolfsburg, Saturday, 9:30am ET
Bayern Munich vs Hannover 96, Saturday, 12:30pm ET, GolTV
Borussia Dortmund vs Hamburger SV, Saturday, 2:30pm ET, GolTV
TSG Hoffenheim – Monchengladbach, Sunday, 11am (tape delay), GolTV