Bundesliga Preview: Der Klassiker and a 6 pointer at the bottom

“File:Allainz Arena (Bayern Munich).jpg” by MrT HK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund:

The biggest game of modern times in Germany is upon us. This game will have a large impact on both team’s seasons.

Bayern Munich, could possibly go into the game in second place if RB Leipzig win against SC Freiburg. Which means, they must avoid a loss to retain they position at the top. But with Bayern seeming weak defensively at points in the past few games, Dortmund will be looking to take advantage of this as they themselves are in good form and are coming of a convincing 1-0 over Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal. Using a win to push them back into contention for the Champions League position

The previous game was an exciting affair in the Signal Iduna Park with where Dortmund took a surprising lead through Marco Reus in the first half after a disallowed Robert Lewandowski goal. In the second half however, Bayern started quickest and scored twice in quick succession through Lewandowski and David Alaba. Until Leroy Sane scored late on to secure the win for Bayern. Only for Erling Braut Haland to set up a nervy ending with an ever later goal for Dortmund.

Bayern Munich go into this game with very little injury worries, as their most notable absentees Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry both mode their returns against FC Koln last weekend. Benjamin Pavard is out due to a lack of match fitness, but he has lost his place in recent weeks to marauding right back Niklas Sule. So it will be a full strength Bayern Munich team that Dortmund will have to face in the ‘Topspiel’ Saturday evening spot.

Dortmund however have an injury hit squad. Both Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro went off injured in midweek. With both likely to miss the game, it will require Nico Schulz to step up and fill in at left-back for Guerreiro who has been one of the better players when Dortmund have been underperforming. While we could possibly see Thorgan Hazard fill in for Sancho, who himself was having a great start to 2021. It will be interesting to see if Dortmund can break their poor form in Munich, where they haven’t won in their last six attempts. The odds are stacked against Dortmund, but this Bundesliga season has provided a lot of surprises so, expect this game to be filled with twists and turns.

Players to watch out for: Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham

Both have had a very exciting past few weeks. Jude Bellingham has formed a great partnership with Mo Dahoud and when Dortmund has been playing poor he was the shinning star.

While Jamal Musiala has went from being the stand out player against Lazio in the Champions League. To announcing his decision to play for Germany at international level. To then signing a new five year contract at Bayern.

Bellingham is the more likely of the two to start if Edin Terzick sticks with the 4-3-3 formation he used against Gladbach. While Musiala is likely to make an appearance off the bench due to the return of Muller, it is worth noting that Musiala has made an impact in big games before, with his goal against RB Leipzig earlier on in the season kick starting Bayern into a comeback.

So keep an eye out for which of the former youth international team mates stand out.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen:

These teams played out an enthralling 4-3 win for Bayer Leverkusen back in November but the game is best remembered for Valentino Lazaro’s late goal for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Both teams are looking to win and play out of their bad form. With Gladbach coming a gutting loss to RB Leipzig last weekend and then a midweek loss to Dortmund, which has seen calls for Marco Rose to be sacked due to the impact his announcement of his departure has had on the team and the poor form they have experienced since. But Gladbach’s poor form dates back to their 2-1 loss to FC Koln, which was way before Marco Rose announced he was going to leave.

Gladbach will be without Christoph Kramer who has a ligament injury, so this will allow Denis Zakaria to once again play in his preferred position next to Florian Neuhaus. Neuhaus will also be looking to pick up his form, as in the previous games he has been unable to influence the game as effectively as before. Gladbach will need Neuhaus firing as captain Lars Stindl is out suspended so that is a large creative influence being missed.

Bayer Leverkusen will have to field a heavily changed team, as they are without 10 players. Most notably, Leon Bailey who is suspended, first choice goalie Lukas Hradecky who has a knee injury, as well as most notably Florian Wirtz, who tested positive for COVID and has had to isolate. This is a shame as Wirtz has been one of the most exciting players in the league this season, and when Leverkusen are firing, Wirtz is normally at the heart of it and a delight to watch.

Mainz vs Schalke:

A big relegation six pointer at the very bottom of the league. Mainz will be looking to gain ground on 16th placed Arminia Bielefeld, with a win seeing Mainz possibly move into 15th position.

Schalke’s new coach Dimitrios Grammozis will be using his time in charge to see who he would like to stay in the team heading into the 2.Bundesliga. As he was announced as their new manager earlier on in the week and given a 1 year deal, which is interesting as it either means he will lose his job if he fails to win promotion, but he is wins promotion at the first time of asking then there is the possibility for an extension.

Mainz will be at full strength, so will be heavy favourites going into this game. While Schalke will still be without first choice goalie Ralf Fahrmann, who sustained a rib injury against Dortmund. They will look towards youngster Matthew Hoppe to try and rescue them in this game.

Finally,

The race for promotion is heating up in the 2.Bundesliga, as Bochum play G.Furth on Saturday afternoon in a first vs third battle, then on Monday Holstein Kiel play Hamburg in second versus fourth. Bochum and Kiel are both on 45 points, G.Furth are on 43 and Hamburg are on 42. Hamburg are in poor form and will want to make amends for their poor showing in the Hamburg derby against St Pauli. It leaves Hamburg once again at risk of messing up their promotion run once again, and we could possibly Schalke vs Hamburg next year in the 2.Bundesliga.

Published by Jack

I write about European football, while sometimes dipping into the English side of the game. Anything that needs to be written about European football, I will do it. Whether it's​ from the next rising star in Germany to an underdog team in the Champions League.

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