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Five things to look for in the Bundesliga

Berlin (AFP) – Two of the league’s best strikers go head-to-head when Cologne host leaders Bayern Munich and Freddie Ljungberg makes his debut as Wolfsburg’s assistant coach.  

Here are five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend:

Hot-shots collide in Cologne

Hot-shot strikers Anthony Modeste and Robert Lewandowski will shoot it out when Cologne host Bayern on Saturday.

Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian have reportedly offered 50 million euros ($52.82m) for Modeste, but the Frenchman wrote “I’m staying in Cologne” on Twitter on Monday.

Modeste has 17 goals, while Lewandowski has hit 19 in the league, including a hat-trick in last weekend’s 8-0 league hammering of Hamburg.

The Poland hot-shot is on fire with seven goals in his last four games and has 30 goals in all competitions.

Bayern, who start the weekend five points clear in the table, drew 1-1 with Cologne last October in Munich.

It has been six years since Bayern lost to Cologne who will have Germany defender Jonas Hector suspended after a fifth booking while Munich are at full strength.

Ljungberg on Wolfsburg bench

Ex-Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg starts his senior coaching career as Andries Jonker’s assistant for Wolfsburg at Mainz on Saturday.

Head coach Jonker replaced Valerien Ismael who was sacked on Sunday after five defeats in six league games left Wolfsburg two points from relegation.

Jonker, previously the head of Arsenal’s youth academy, has brought over Ljungberg who was coaching the Gunners’ junior teams.  

“He is interested in the individual development of players. At Arsenal I got to see how good Freddie is at that,” explained Jonker.

Ljungberg scored 71 times in 318 games for the Gunners, but has his work cut out coaxing goals from Wolfsburg’s attack which has netted four goals in their last six games. 

Toprak faces future club

Bayer Leverkusen’s Turkey defender Omer Toprak faces future employers Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Dortmund announced last month they met the release clause in the 27-year-old’s contract and he will sign a four-year deal at the end of the season.

Leverkusen lost their last two games, a 4-2 home defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League followed by a lacklustre 2-0 at home to Mainz.

Dortmund posted 3-0 wins against both at home to Wolfsburg and at Freiburg, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice.

The striker is back in form after a dip following Gabon’s early Africa Cup of Nations exit.

“It’s best for us all when ‘Auba’ doesn’t worry too much, looks forward to his next task and has that ease back in his game,” said coach Thomas Tuchel.

Frings’ Bremen return

Ex-Germany star Torsten Frings, coach of bottom side Darmstadt, returns to Werder Bremen on Saturday for the first time since they sacked him.

Frings, 40, was shown the door as Bremen’s assistant coach when Viktor Skrypnyk was also dismissed in September

Frings made 447 appearances for Werder, but three points is his priority in Bremen to close the 10-point gap to safety.

Darmstadt are unbeaten in their last six games against Bremen.

“This is something special. I played for the club for 20 years and enjoyed a lot of success, also as a member of the coaching staff,” said Frings.

“I’m happy to come back, but it is important for us to take something.”

‘100 percent’ Kalou

Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai says he is ‘100 percent’ sure Salomon Kalou will face strugglers Hamburg on Sunday as his team look to climb into the top three.

The 31-year-old Ivory Coast striker missed training on Wednesday with a foot knock, but is set to partner Vedad Ibisevic.

The pair have scored 15 goals between them, while Hamburg are back in the bottom three after last weekend’s 8-0 pounding by Bayern.

Kalou has scored five goals this season produced his fourth assist in last weekend’s 2-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)


Augsburg v Leipzig (1930)


Borussia Dortmund v Bayer  Leverkusen, Mainz v Wolfsburg, Cologne v Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen v Darmstadt,      Hoffenheim v Ingolstadt, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Schalke 04 (1730)


Eintracht Frankfurt v Freiburg, Hamburg v Hertha Berlin (1630)

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