BUNDESLIGA WEEKEND PREVIEW: Der Klassiker set to shake up title race as Bayern Munich host rivals Borussia Dortmund… and relegation candidates Augsburg and Paderborn do battle
- Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meet for the first Klassiker of the season
- Only one point separates the German giants after 10 matches played so far
- Relegation candidates Augsburg and Paderborn face off in a bottom-three clash
- Surprise leaders Borussia Monchengladbach meet the in-form Werder Bremen
Things are getting tight in the Bundesliga, very tight indeed.
Just four points separate the top six teams, while several sides at the bottom could very easily switch positions and trade places in the relegation zone.
So, as we reach an early boiling point, is there a better time to introduce the first ‘Klassiker’ derby of the season? Sportsmail examines the Bundesliga weekend ahead.
7.30pm UK time; Live on BT Sport 3
The weekend’s action gets underway inside the RheinEnergieSTADION, with the BT cameras trained on the action.
It could, however, be a rather embarrassing one for the hosts. Cologne are in desperate need of a pick-me-up after three straight defeats, including elimination from the German Cup.
Achim Beierlorzer’s side have dropped into the relegation zone as a result, with pressure steadily mounting.
It is, therefore, not an opportune time to come up against a Hoffenheim side who have taken four wins from their last five matches.
A 3-0 win in their most recent match, against strugglers Paderborn, saw the game wrapped up within the first five minutes in the most clinical of fashion.
The pressure is now mounting on Cologne’s head coach Achim Beierlorzer
Hertha vs RB Leipzig
2.30pm UK time
Hertha head into the game fresh off the back of a painful Berlin derby defeat by rivals Union, a fiery encounter with pitch invasions, fireworks and a last-minute penalty decider. Ouch.
They will be looking to respond in the capital, but Leipzig will have other ideas.
A stunning performance from striker Timo Werner helped Leipzig claim the biggest win in their history last week, crushing Mainz 8-0 in the ultimate humiliation.
The ruthless Timo Werner bagged a hat-trick as Leipzig ripped apart Mainz 8-0 recently
Schalke vs Fortuna
2.30pm UK time
After three games without a win, David Wagner’s men finally returned to winning ways on Matchday 10 with a last-gasp victory over Augsburg.
Fortuna, though, have reason to be confident. Preparation has been provided in the form of a recent victory over Rhine rivals Cologne in the club’s first Bundesliga meeting since 1996-97.
Rouwen Hennings has six goals to his name this season, and will again lead the line on Saturday.
Rouwen Hennings has six goals to his name this season, and will again lead the line
Mainz vs Union Berlin
2.30pm UK time
Mainz must respond, it’s the bottom line. The drubbing by Leipzig has left so many questioned unanswered.
Union are flying high after taking late bragging rights against Hertha, and can add insult to injury by leapfrogging them in the table this weekend by putting Mainz to the sword.
The first Berlin derby for 42 years fell in the favour of Union, injecting confidence into the side
Paderborn vs Augsburg
2.30pm UK time
It’s 18th versus 16th, and a game both teams will feel they can win. If you can’t take points off fellow relegation candidates, the signs for the remainder of the season are bleak.
Newly promoted Paderborn came out 2-0 victors in their last home game against Fortuna Dusseldorf and maintaining form at the Benteler-Arena will be the ultimate test.
Augsburg were unlucky to come away from their game against Schalke without a point having led twice. Iceland international Alfred Finbogasson found the net from the penalty spot, and will be looking to add to his two-goal tally for the season.
Paderborn find themselves rock bottom of the table and need to turn their fortunes around
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund
6.30pm UK time; Live on BT Sport 1
The big one, and the one everybody has been waiting for. Bayern enter this showdown managerless, after the recent departure of Niko Kovac.
Dortmund, of course, currently sit one point ahead of them in the standings, though must battle the noise and passion to emerge unscathed.
Hansi Flick has taken to the dugout, after Kovac was given his marching orders following a 5-1 humiliation by Frankfurt. It was a dark hour for Bayern, who have show flashes of promise this season.
Robert Lewandowski is enjoying one of the most prolific goalscoring spells of his career
Robert Lewandowski however remains on fire, and will be a huge threat to the defence of his former employers. The Poland captain has become the first player in Bundesliga history to score a goal on each of the first 10 matchdays of a season, slotting home 14 in total.
Dortmund will arrive in Munich buoyed by two impressive results. The first, a 3-0 win over previously unbeaten Wolfsburg on Matchday 10 before BVB came from 2-0 down to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Extra reliance looks set to be placed upon Thorgan Hazard, with England starlet Jadon Sancho a doubt for the crunch clash with a thigh strain.
As far as history goes, Dortmund haven’t won in Munich in the league since April 2014 under Jurgen Klopp. Is time ripe for change?
Thorgan Hazard is emerging as a important player for Borussia Dortmund as the weeks go on
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Werder Bremen
1.30pm UK time; Live on BT Sport 3
All eyes will be on Marcus Thuram, the son of World Cup winner and football legend Lillian.
‘Gladbach are the surprise league leaders at this opening stage of the season, and Thuram is a big reason behind that. His fifth Bundesliga goal clinched a 2-1 triumph over local rivals Bayer Leverkusen a week ago as Gladbach cemented their position at the head of the standings.
Werder however have a threat of their own, in the form of American forward Josh Sargent. He is the youngest Bremen player to score four Bundesliga goals.
Though they may have been unremarkable recently, Werder have been consistent. Each of their last five league matches have ended in a draw.
All eyes will be on Marcus Thuram, the son of World Cup winner and football legend Lillian
Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen
3.30pm UK time; Live on BT Sport 3
Not an ideal set-up for the hosts ahead of this one. Wolfsburg haven’t won in six matches in all competitions, and have lost their last two in the league by an aggregate score of 9-1 before a 3-1 home defeat by Belgians Gent on Europa League duty on Thursday night.
Leverkusen bounced back from last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to league leaders Monchengladbach by beating Spanish giants Atletico Madrid 2-1 to keep their hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League round of 16 alive.
In terms of home record though, the signs are good for Wolfsburg. They remain unbeaten in their last 12 Bundesliga home games (seven wins, five draws), which is currently the longest streak in the division.
Their last loss at the Volkswagen Arena, however, happened to come against Leverkusen.
Leverkusen took a huge morale booster in midweek after beating Atletico Madrid in Europe
Freiburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt
4.00pm UK time; Live on BT Sport 3
Freiburg find themselves in a healthy position, only four points shy of the summit of the Bundesliga. Frankfurt however are only a point behind, and recently pulled off a huge shock victory over Bayern Munich.
It also meant Frankfurt continued a rather nice habit they have going on, in being able to score in every league game of the season so far.
Freiburg have lost just one of their last seven league matches and are displaying a confident consistency in their play.
Should they concede early, the home fans are perhaps unlikely to be fazed. Freiburg have come from behind in a league-best four matches this season and rescued a league-high eight points.
Frankfurt’s recent huge shock win over Bayern Munich resulted in Niko Kovac getting sacked
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