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Five things to look for in the Bundesliga this weekend


Berlin (AFP) – Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich can expect a goal bonanza as they look to build on their 13-point lead at home to Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Bremen, who are third from bottom, have leaked 32 goals on their last six visits to the Allianz Arena.

Here are five things to look for in this weekend’s fixtures:

Ton up for Martinez

Javi Martinez is set to play his 100th Bundesliga match against Bremen.

The 29-year-old was used as a centre-back under Jupp Heynckes’s predecessors Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti.

The Spanish international has been a force to be reckoned with since Heynckes moved him back into his prefered position in midfield in October.

Martinez scored his first league goal in the 3-1 win at Leverkusen last Friday night in what his coach described as a “flawless display”.

Injury-free and bossing Bayern’s midfield, the tough-tackling Spaniard has been a big reason the Bavarians have won 17 matches since Heynckes replaced Ancelotti in October.

Aubameyang out

Borussia Dortmund have again dropped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Friday’s clash at Hertha Berlin after a week overshadowed by speculation of a move to Arsenal.

Having been disciplined by Dortmund for the third time last weekend after failing to attend a team meeting, the Gabon forward has again been left out.

“Aubameyang will train in Dortmund. We have the impression at the moment that his head is busy with other things and isn’t fully focused,” said sports director Michael Zorc.

In Aubameyang’s absence, England Under-19 star Jadon Sancho, 17, and Swedish teenager Alexander Isak will have the chance to impress.

Max assistance

Keep an eye on Augsburg left-back Philipp Max against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday. 

He could one day be mentioned in the same breath as Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne or Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

The 24-year-old has provided nine assists this season, the same as Pogba and De Bruyne in the Premier League.

Max is a nightmare for defences with his pin-point crosses and the son of former Bundesliga top-scorer Martin Max could well force his way into the Germany squad for March’s friendlies against Spain and Brazil.

“I think you could take a look at Philipp and see how he fits into the overall idea of the Germany team, whose game is largely based on controlled possession,” said Augsburg coach Manuel Baum.

Naldo milestone

Schalke’s goalscoring centre-back Naldo can equal the amount of Bundesliga appearances for a Brazilian at Hanover on Sunday.

With 335 appearances in Germany’s top flight, Naldo is just one short of Bayern Munich’s now-retired midfielder Ze Roberto.

And the 35-year-old will likely streak past that mark as he has just signed a deal which will keep him in Gelsenkirchen until just before his 37th birthday.

Leipzig missing Keita

RB Leipzig will be without Liverpool-bound Naby Keita for Saturday’s tough away clash at Freiburg.

Midfield dynamo Keita, who joins Liverpool next season, is suspended while playmaker Emil Forsberg is out with a stomach muscle injury.

Freiburg are just above the relegation places, but on the rise and unbeaten in their last six league games.

“We have broken a run or two in the last few years, we know it will be hard there, but perhaps that is the motivation we need,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.

Fixtures (all times 1430 GMT unless stated)

Playing Friday 

Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund (1930)

Saturday 

Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen, Freiburg v RB Leipzig, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Augsburg, Mainz v VfB Stuttgart, Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburg v Cologne (1730)

Sunday

Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen, Schalke v Hanover 96 (1700)

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