Following the Englisch Woche, the Bundesliga is back underway with some thrilling fixtures.
Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich
After a 1-1 draw against Bavaria rivals FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich will want to rectify their mistakes after dropping points for the first time this season. They welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena on Friday night with the capital club themselves enjoying their start to the Bundesliga campaign. Three years of steadying the ship, Pal Dardai’s Hertha are finally up in the top half of the table while challenging for European football could be a real possibility this campaign after beating the likes of Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach.
And although Bayern Munich are far superior, Niko Kovac will be wary of the threat that Hertha BSC pose. The visitors have the perfect mix between experience and young and hungry players while Bayern Munich are suffering somewhat of an injury crisis. Kinglsey Coman, Corentin Tolisso, Leon Goretzka and Rafinha all remain sidelined which could see Thiago deployed as the No. 6 alongside James Rodriguez, with Thomas Muller also taking up his role in midfield.
Although coming into the game on the back of a disappointing draw, Bayern Munich have won 11 of their last 12 away games in the Bundesliga while they remain undefeated in their last 14 against the capital club in all competitions. That said, Hertha Berlin have drawn their last three matches against Bayern Munich while this is arguably the best Hertha side fans have seen in the past decade. It could be a tough evening for Kovac and Bayern.
Schalke vs 1. FSV Mainz 05
Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco has picked up a record that his predecessor, Markus Weinzierl, did and it’s an unwanted one. The German-Italian head coach has lost his first five Bundesliga games of the season which sees Schalke rooted at the bottom of the table. Boasting the worst goal difference and scoring just two goals in five league games, Tedesco needs to guide the Royal Blues out of their rut quickly or risk been drawn into a relegation fight this early into the season. It’s a huge shame given he guided Schalke to a runners-up place to Bayern Munich last season in his first year in charge. This year promised to be special but unfortunately, they’ve yet to find their feet.
Schalke welcome Mainz to the Veltins Arena on Saturday afternoon and the visitors find themselves in relatively good form, despite losing key players such as Abdou Diallo and Yoshi Muto in the summer. Sandro Schwarz’ side have lost just one game this season while new signings Jean-Philippe Mateta, Pierre Kunde and Aaron Martin are settling in rather well with their new teammates.
The same can’t be said for Schalke’s Mark Uth, who has yet to score this season while Guido Burgstaller is yet to replicate last season’s form. Perhaps a stat that could prove to be an omen for Schalke is that Mainz have failed to win 23 of their last 25 Bundesliga fixtures while Schalke do have a head-to-head advantage over Saturday’s visitors.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund
The game of the weekend sees Bayer Leverkusen pit their wits against Borussia Dortmund. Both clubs come into the fixture on the back of a win while Dortmund’s is perhaps more impressive after putting seven past a hapless FC Nurnberg. That said, Heiko Herrlich did have a similar start to the Bundesliga campaign as Schalke’s Tedesco, losing their opening three fixtures but the German has managed to turn their fortunes around with wins against Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz.
Karim Bellarabi is still serving his suspension for Bayer Leverkusen which could result in Kai Havertz operating as the No. 10 once again for Leverkusen with Julian Brandt and Leon Bailey either side of the young German. For Borussia Dortmund, Lucien Favre can pick from almost a full squad with Omer Toprak the only certain absentee. Paco Alcacer may return for BVB while fans will be calling for Jadon Sancho after impressing in his sixteen-minute cameo against Nurnberg on Wednesday night, creating three chances, more than any other player.
As is always the case between these two teams, expect this to be an energetic match with chances created at both sides. Borussia Dortmund are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 away matches against Leverkusen in all competitions which probably puts them as favourites for this fixture.
Bundesliga fixtures in full
Hertha Berlin vs Bayern Munich
FC Nurnberg vs Fortuna Dusseldorf
Schalke 04 vs Mainz 05
VfB Stuttgart vs Werder Bremen
Wolfsburg vs Borussia Monchengladbach
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hannover 96
Augsburg vs Freiburg
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