Bundesliga Matchday 5 Preview
“Wilkommen in der Englisch Woche.” There’s a full round of fixtures in midweek this week in the Bundesliga. And for some reason when that happens in Germany its called an “English week”.
Who knew? Maybe it’s because those sensible Germans only have 18 teams in a league and so the need to get so many fixtures piled into Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the football calendar is quite rare. Something the English are well accustomed to doing in a 46 game season. So here is a rather hastily put together preview of the midweek fixtures. If you do enjoy this article then be sure to drop us a follow on Twitter so that you never miss an article going live.
Werder Bremen vs Hertha Berlin
The Matchday’s early kick off takes place at the Wesser Stadion between 2 of the 4 unbeaten sides in the league. This clash is centred around a tale of two Strikers. The evergreen Claudio Pizarro made his first start for Bremen last Saturday. He is 39 years, so it’s not known whether he can manage two games in a week. Nevertheless, if he starts or comes off the bench on Tuesday it will be his 450th game in the Bundesliga. Which is a record for a non-German.
For the visitors, Ondrej Duda completed the scoring on Saturday in a 4-2 home win. His fourth of the campaign so far, a feat which sees him top the goal-scoring charts. Bremen, have shown a bit of form recently and are due to a home win after opening the season with 2 draws at home. I think Hertha’s unbeaten start to the campaign could finally come to an end here.
Prediction – Bremen 2-0 Hertha Berlin
Bayern München vs Augsburg
Bayern looks unstoppable at the moment and there’s probably no side in the land who can claim to have a good record against the all conquering Bavarian Giants. But in the case of Augsburg, it’s the worst of the lot. They have lost the last 7 games straight.
Then there is the added whammy that Bayern’s record during Oktoberfest Season is formidable.
The fixtures are coming thick and fast though. So I expect Kovac to rotate the squad a bit. Serge Gnabry, the ex Arsenal man may well get some game time on the Left wing, and if he sees fit to rest Lewandowski, then expect a rare start for ex Hoffenheim man Sandro Wagner. Then there is Renato Sanches, who put in a man of the match performance against Benfica 7 days ago.
For Augsburg, they remain without Icelander Alfred Finbolason, but Philip Max will play against his former side, he scored last week in defeat to Bremen and managed 12 assists last season from left back.
Prediction: Surely a foregone conclusion. Bayern 3-0 Augsburg
Freiburg vs Schalke 04
Q) Why are the Gelsenkirchen club called Schalke 04.
A) 0 for the amount of points they have this season. 4 for the number of games they have played.
Domineco Tedesco will be feeling the pressure ahead of this one, 4 straight defeats are by some way the worst run of his relatively short managerial career. It’s a far cry from last seasons 2nd position finish.
Freiburg is on the up, after getting off the mark in spectacular style in their last home game with 3 goals, they followed that up with another 3 away at previously unbeaten Wolfsburg. For Schalke, they will be without US International Weston Mckennie, who hobbled off after a clash with James Rodriguez and will be out for a few weeks. I fancy Schalke to finally get a point on the board in this one.
Prediction: Freiburg 1-1 Schalke
Hannover vs Hoffenheim
Julian Nagelsmann men face their 4th match in 10 days, so I fully expect some changes from Saturdays draw at home to Dortmund. Adam Szalai, TSG’s top goal scorer in 3 goals should return to the team having been rested last Saturday.
Hannover’s Bobby Woods will be hoping it’s a case of 2nd time lucky, as he searches for his first goal of the season. His debut didn’t last too long on Saturday, as he was the man to be substituted following the sending off of defender Miiko Albornoz.
If you are into omens, and bogey sides, then Hannover would probably describe TSG Hoffenheim as the team they never do well against. The Reds have lost 11 times against the Sinsheim side.
Prediction: Hannover 1-1 Hoffenheim
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayer Leverkusen
Leverkusen take the short trip north up the Rhine on the back of their first win of the campaign on Sunday.
The Current 2nd Bundesliga Champions Fortuna are unbeaten in the last 3 matches.
The games are coming thick and fast at the moment, particularly if you have a European competition to play in, like Leverkusen. So with the 3rd game in 8 days, expect some squad rotation. Kevin Volland could lead the line at the expense of Lucas Alario. Another option is to give the young Brazilian, Paulinho a start after coming off the bench 3 times this season.
In the case of Fortuna, I am expecting Friedhelm Funkel to name an unchanged lineup, although with 3 games in a week, the odd player may be rested. Even with last weekend’s Victory courtesy of a Kai Havertz header it remains Bayer Leverkusen’s worst start since 1982. That said, I am plumping for a 2nd win on the spin for Leverkusen.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Borussia Dortmund vs FC Nürnberg
Christian Pullisic will look to make it 3 goals in 3 games with the visit of newly promoted side FC Nürnberg. The American International scored the winner against Club Brugge Last week, and also scored the equalizer at the Rhein-Neckar Arena at the weekend.
Head Coach Lucien Favre will be forced into a change in central defence however due to the suspension of Abdou Diallo. Omer Toprak is still out due to a thigh problem, so moving Piszczek into the centre of defence is the most likely solution. Julien Weigl has filled in, in that position before, but hasn’t featured so far this season.
FC Nürnberg scored their maiden victory of the season last time out with a 2-0 Victory against 10-man Hannover 96. It was their first victory in the top flight since 2014. I’m not expecting Coach Michael Köllner to make too many changes in what is already a small squad. One change is to perhaps see last weeks goal hero Töres Knöll make the starting XI. But its unusual for Nürnberg to play 2 out and out strikers from the start in a game, particularly away from home.
Im going for Dortmund to sneak it against a good solid Nürnberg defence.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 FC Nürnberg
The eagles fly north (and west a bit), as Eintracht are the latest latest visitors to Borussia Park on Wednesday evening. As they aim to build on a point last weekend at home to RB Leipzig and that epic rear guard action at the spectatorless Velodrome six days ago in Marseille. Marco Fabian has sat out both games and will be seeking a recall, as will World Cup finalist Rebic who got his first minutes on the field for Eintracht last Sunday.
For Gladbach, the game looks set to come too soon for Brazilian frontman Raffael. So I expect the same front three as in the 4-2 loss to Hertha Berlin. At the back, Tony Jantschke is also a doubt.
Prediction: Borussia Park is a bit of a fortress so far this season for the foals.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
RB Leipzig vs VfB Stuttgart
This clash pre game seems to be all about Germanys Timo Werner versus his former club. VfB Stuttgart is the club where Timo Werner came through the academy ranks and went on to become the clubs youngest ever Bundesliga player, and subsequently youngest ever goalscorer, making over 100 appearances before joining RB Leipzig in 2016.
Coach Ralf Rangnick went on a rant after their loss to FC (Red Bull) Salzburg in midweek, where he criticised certain players for not giving 100% and viewing the Europe League as a chore, this despite having to play 6 matches just to get to the group stage. This would signify more than ever that the disciplinarian is likely to rotate his squad less so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him field the same team as he did in the Eintracht Frankfurt clash at the weekend.
I don’t expect Stuttgart to change much about the team either. Coach Korkut rarely makes personnel changes and appears to know his best team. Mario Gomez remains the greatest goal threat with 10 goals in his last 20 appearances since rejoining the Swabians. Eight of which have been away from the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Prediction : RB Leipzig 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
Mainz 05 vs VfL Wolfsburg
The final game of the matchday sees two clubs who lost their first game of the season last time out, and both teams will look to get back to winning ways.
The 05ers have an evergrowing injury list with 5 players on the treatment table, and that’s not including Niko Bungert and Karim Onisiwo who missed the defeat to Leverkusen on Sunday. Robin Quaison is expected to start however. The Attacking Swede having made an impact off the bench last weekend. Admir Mehmedi will look to be Wolfsburgs main threat scoring in each of the last 2 matches. If Coach Labbadia does seek to freshen up the attack. I am expecting Josip Brekalo to start.
Mainz haven’t lost to Wolfsburg in 7 matches. (The last 5 matches have all been draws) In other words, since the men in green were actually good! In fact, the last time the Wolves were victorious against the Hessen club was in 2014 when they had Bundesliga player of the year Kevin De Bruyne still playing for them!
Prediction: The misery to continue for Wolfsburg against Mainz. Mainz 2-0 Wolfsburg