Bundesliga Matchday 4 Preview
This week saw the start of European competition with the first round of Champions League and Europa League group games. So the question for most fans of Bundesliga clubs is: will there be a European Hangover? and does it mean a season ahead of those dread Sunday games for those fans of clubs in the Europa League? Let’s get started and preview this week’s fixtures. We hope you enjoy this article and if you did then be sure to follow us on Twitter.
VfB Stuttgart v Fortuna Düsseldorf
Stuttgart kick off the matchday still looking for their first win of the season, and against newly promoted Fortuna, they will fancy their chances at home. Talisman Mario Gomez got off the mark with a brace of goals against Freiburg last week.
Düsseldorf, on the other hand, has shown they are no pushovers and have surprised me so far this season. After losing their opening match of the season, they have since come away with positive results against sides who have qualified for Europe in an away draw at RB Leipzig, and last weekends win at home to Hoffenheim.
Prediction: A tough one with all 3 results quite possible. Im going to sit on the fence with this one and say it will be Stuttgart 1-1 Düsseldorf
Augsburg v Werder Bremen
Augsburg come into this clash sitting in mid-table after the opening 3 matches, with one win, one draw and one defeat. The manner of the loss last week, after taking a 1-0 lead with only 8 minutes to go will concern Manual Baum. Korean International, and last weeks goal scorer Dong-Wong Ji only lasted 10 minutes before damaging ankle ligaments and so will be out for a number of weeks.
Bremen’s super sub in the last two matchdays, Rashica, should be pushing for a starting position. Expect Nuri Sahin the 2 times Bundesliga Champion to get his first start following his transfer deadline day move from Dortmund. Bremen still seem insure on who should be partnering Kruse upfront. Could all time club record goalscorer Claudio Pizarro be the answer. This is his forth spell at the club and he’s 39 years old these days!
Prediction: Augsburg 0 – 2 Werder Bremen
Wolfsburg v SC Freiburg
Wolfsburg will be firm favourites at home as Freiburg make the long trip north to the Autostadt. Admir Mehmedi’s 92nd minute equalizer last week kept alive their unbeaten status in what has been a promising start to the season for the Wolves. The flirtation with relegation to the 2nd Bundersliga last term now feels like a distant memory.
Bruno Labbadia seems to have a settled side with the same starting XI being named in the last 2 weeks, and indeed 9 of that 11 have started all 3 games this season.
Freiburg on the other hand had to wait until last weekend to pick up their first point of the season at home to Stuttgart. Head Coach Streich the longest serving manager in the league must decide whether to include Luca Waldschmidt from the start. At the right back position Lukas Kübler will get his first start due to Pascal Stenzel’s suspension.
The recent head to head also favours Wolfsburg, having beaten Freiburg in 5 of their last 6 matchups.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 2-1 Freiburg
Hertha Berlin v Borussia Mönchengladbach
The Olympiastadion hosts two teams with identical records on Saturday. Both teams are unbeaten with 2 wins and a draw, and cannot be separated on goals scored or goals conceded going into the matchday.
Probably the biggest call pre-match for Hertha Coach Dardai, will be who starts in central defence to replace Jordan Torunarigha. The 21 year old had made a fine start to the season until he sustained an Achilles tendon injury at the Volkswagen Arena.
For the visitors Dieter Heckings selection headaches all seem to be in attack.
Will he stay with stay faithful to Allasane Plea in the number 9 position, or will 33yr old Brazilian Raffael get a recall. Likewise Patrick Herrmann could get the nod after scoring the winner last week at the expense of Fabian Johnson. On the other wing Thorgan Hazard scored home and away against Hertha last season.
The recent head to head sees Gladbach firmly on top, winning 8 of their last 9 matchups, despite this I think Hertha will shade this one. (Provided they don’t give away any more penalties)
Prediction : Hertha Berlin 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
FC Nürnberg v Hannover 96
Two closely matched teams will clash at the Max Morlock Stadion on Saturday.
With both sides still seeking their first win of the campaign.
Infact FC Nürnberg have still to take the lead in a league match this season, having twice come from behind to take a point. I expect Michael Köllner to stick with the 4-3-3 formation with Perreria, Misijdan and the fit again Edgar Salli vying for the wideman berth.
There are no new injury worries for Hannover 96. Niclas Füllkrug will lead the line for the visitors. The former Nürnberg man will be looking to carry on where he left off last week when he got off the mark for the season. His striker partner is the position most likely to be up for grabs with Hendrik Weydandt and the on-loan American Bobby Wood fighting it out for their first start of the season.
Prediction: I can’t choose between them. FC Nürnberg 1-1 Hannover 96
Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund
Both teams were in Champions League action in the week. Hoffenheim picked up a useful point in the Ukraine. Dortmund won thanks to a late Pulisic goal in Bruges. Julian Nagelsmann must decide whether to utilise the squad having named a full strength team in midweek.
One option may be to start young Arsenal loanee winger Reiss Nelson, who came off the bench midweek, and scored a late equaliser from off the bench in the last Bundesliga matchday. Only to be denied by a Fortuna Düsseldorf goal.
I expect Dortmund to roate their squad a little more after their European exploits.
Expect Alcacer to get his first start since his loan move from Barcelona. Sancho the 18yr old English winger is pushing for his first start of the campaign after his 2 assists from the bench in the last match day. Likewise Pulisic who missed the last game or 2 and came on as a sub in Belgium should return to the squad.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munich
In what is a battle of the top 2 sides in Germany last season, both teams made decent starts to their respective Champions league campaigns against Portugese opposition. Bayern winning away at Benfica. Schalke took a point against FC Porto.
However in this year’s domestic competition the two sides couldn’t be further apart. Schalke have faltered, they currently sit in a relegation position and are yet to pick up a single point. Bayern on the other hand are flying with 9 points from 9.
So true to form will be it be an easy 3 points for Bayern? Or will home field advantage and Bayerns early season injury worries derail them? The Baverian Giants have already lost Coman, Rafinha and Tolisso to long term injuries in the first couple of weeks of the season. In addition, there are short term doubts over Thiago and Javi Martinez. So some rotation in Midfield is likely. Could Goretzka make an early return to the Veltins Arena, and will the forgotten man (at least until last Tuesday) Renato Sanches make a rare Bundesliga appearance?
Prediction: Schalke to give the champions a scare. Schalke 2 – Bayern München 3
Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz 05
Its perhaps an understatement to suggest Leverkusen are still trying to find their feet this season. Zero points on the board and rooted to the foot of the table. Its at times like these a thursday night trip to Bulgaria would be viewed as a chore. But coming from behind to win 3-2 might just be the kickstart they need. If Leverkusen are underachieving in the opening weeks of the campaign then Mainz 05 are possibly the most surprising of the teams in the league. Having managed a tally of 7 points. Can they carry on their unbeaten start to the season?
Leon Bailey, Kevin Volland and front man Lucas Alario should come back into the team having missed Thursdays trip to Razgrad. But Boss Heiko Herrlich will look to skipper Lars Bender to help protect a defence which at the moment just seems to ship goals. For Mainz the only likely change to the last matchday will be the teenager Ahmet Gürleyen in central defence if club captain Niko Bungert doesn’t recover in time.
Prediction: I fancy the home team to finally get off the mark in this one. But perhaps I’m mad to suggest they will get a clean sheet when they conceded 10 goals in the last 4 matches.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Mainz 05
Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig
The battle of the Thursday night boys.
Eintracht Frankfurt got off to a great start to the Europa League group phase by coming from behind to beat Olympic Marseille. Who themselves made it all the way to the final in the last season’s competition. By contrast RB Leipzig went down 3-2 at home to FC Salzburg, the other ‘Rote Bullen’ in the first ever match between the energy drink company sponsored franchises.
Eintracht Coach Adi Hütter seems to have built a solid unit utilizing the same back four and Goalkeeper in all competitions. But I expect a bit of rotation in the midfield and forward positions. Gelson Fernandes and Nicolai Müller could well be recalled.
For Leipzig, Its unknown whether Jean-Kevin Augustin will be back available to play for Leipzig, or whether he will continue to sit in the stands following last weeks dispute with the French FA. (Augustin did after all tell the French U21 coach, he was injured when he was called up). Yussuf Poulsen did well in his place, and may well be retained in the starting XI. Last weeks 2 goal hero Timo Werner should be fit to lead the line again having missed the Europa League fixture.
Prediction: RB Leipzig looked really dangerous on the counter attack against Hannover last week and Im expecting them to bounce back from the midweek loss. Frankfurt on the other hand are bound to be hungover from their trip to the south of France.
Eintracht Franfurt 1-2 RB Leipzig
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