The Bundesliga has reached MD11 and there are some truly outstanding matches to look forward to this weekend. It would have been unlikely that many people would have predicted that RB Leipzig v Hannover 96 would be a match between the Bundesliga’s third and fourth placed teams so far into the season.
This is however the prospect in store at the Red Bull Arena this Saturday. The most eagerly-anticipated clash takes place elsewhere as the first der Klassiker takes place at Signal Iduna Park between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern. Second vs first, the stage is set for Germany’s biggest game.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Werder Bremen
Eintracht Frankfurt have dropped three places to 10th in the Bundesliga after MD10. The Eagles will have been disappointed to drop points in the Rhein-Main derby last weekend at 1. FSV Mainz 05, having lead 1-0. The 1-1 draw ensured that they have continued on their recent good run of late. After a home defeat at the hands of Augsburg on MD4, they have only lost once away to RB Leipzig. They have beaten 1. FC Köln, VfB Stuttgart and Hannover over recent weeks as well as qualifying for the next round of the DFB Pokal, courtesy of an away win over Schweinfurt from the Regionalliga Bayern.
Bremen remain stuck in 17th position of the Bundesliga table, just one place off the bottom and in the relegation places. A DFB Pokal victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim would have been a welcome result heading into MD10 against Augsburg. However, they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 and the club’s hierarchy have acted by firing head coach Alexander Nouri following this defeat. It has been a sorry start to the campaign for die Werderaner who are winless in the Bundesliga so far.
A change of manager can revitalise a team and this will be the hope for Werder Bremen. The away side have not won at the Commerzbank-Arena since 2009 and Frankfurt will be confident that they can take all 3 points.
Augsburg v Bayer Leverkusen
Augsburg will take on Bayer Leverkusen in buoyant mood after dismantling winless Werder Bremen 3-0 last Sunday. It was a win that they would have been relieved to have gained, as it was their first since MD5 when they triumphed at home to RB Leipzig 1-0. Manuel Baum’s side have played twice at home in the Bundesliga since that game and suffered 2-1 defeats on both occasions to Borussia Dortmund and Hannover respectively. They take on another side from the top half of the table on Saturday.
Bayer Leverkusen are up to eighth place in the Bundesliga and make the trip to Bavaria in good heart. This has been achieved with the form they currently find themselves in. They have won four of their last six fixtures in all competitions since defeat away to Hertha on MD5 and have emerged victorious on the last three occasions. They have secured qualification to the next round of the DFB Pokal by beating Union Berlin 4-1. An emphatic win at Borussia Mönchengladbach on MD9 was followed by a 2-1 success over Köln in the Rhein-Derby, despite trailing at half-time in both games.
This fixture has produced a few goals in recent years with Leverkusen running out 3-1 winners last season. Augsburg have failed to win this fixture since 2012 and in a game that is difficult to call, this one could end up all-square.
SC Freiburg v Schalke 04
Freiburg hover just above the relegation play-off place in 15th spot ahead of their home clash with Schalke. An early dismissal in their MD10 clash away at Stuttgart put paid to any realistic hopes of getting anything from the game, going down to a 3-0 defeat. It was MD7 before they achieved their first league win of the season with a 3-2 victory over Hoffenheim. They have picked up a solitary point subsequently in a home draw with Hertha BSC, a week after a 5-0 thumping against Bayern in the Allianz Arena.
Schalke remain in the automatic Europa league qualifying spot, sitting fifth in the Bundesliga table. An injury-time Divock Origi equaliser for Wolfsburg prevented Schalke from securing a win on MD10, although it could have been worse had Mario Gomez converted his penalty just after the hour mark. The Veltins-Arena outfit have been unbeaten since MD6 and had won the last two Bundesliga fixtures, both 2-0 against Hertha and Mainz, prior to last Saturday’s match.
The home side have won the last two corresponding fixtures by a 2-0 score line, however given the run of form of the respective sides, it is unlikely that this run will continue and Domenico Tedesco’s side will be confident of an away victory.
Hamburger SV v VfB Stuttgart
Hamburg stay in the relegation play-off spot ahead of MD11. Die Rothosen fell to a 2-1 defeat in the Olympiastadion against Hertha BSC in their last fixture. Since a 3-1 away victory at struggling Köln on MD2, they have lost seven out of their next eight games. In that run, they have had to face RB Leipzig, Dortmund, Leverkusen as well as champions Bayern Munich. Nevertheless, they will need results to improve quickly if they are to pull themselves up into mid-table.
Stuttgart are in 12th place ahead of MD 11. Since their narrow 1-0 defeat away to RB Leipzig on MD9, Hannes Wolf’s side have won their last two games with victory away to Kaiserslautern in the DFB Pokal followed up with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Freiburg. Daniel Ginczek and Simon Terodde have both found the back of the net in their last two matches and will no doubt be looking to add to their tally when they make the trip north to lowly Hamburg.
This fixture has not ended in a draw since March 2001. Hamburg will be desperate for a win and after their brave display against Bayern they will see this as a chance to take victory this time out.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v 1. FSV Mainz 05
Borussia Mönchengladbach have climbed to sixth place as they enter MD11, fresh off the back of consecutive wins. Both of these were achieved away from their Borussia Park. They negotiated a potentially tricky trip to Düsseldorf in the DFB Pokal with a 1-0 win. It was then followed by an impressive 3-1 win at Hoffenheim, a side who were previously unbeaten on their own patch domestically. They have generally been on a good run and after their draw away to RB Leipzig on MD4, have won four of their last six games.
Mainz find themselves in 13th place in the standings ahead of their next outing. They rescued a point in the Rhein-Main derby against Eintracht Frankfurt in the opening match of MD10 after trailing at half-time. After a 3-2 home defeat to Hoffenheim on MD5, they have lost only one game since, which was a 2-0 reverse away to Schalke 04 in week 9. They have also picked up two wins in that time, beating both Hertha and Hamburg in their Opel Arena.
Mainz have won two of the last three matches between the two sides at Borussia Park. However, Mönchengladbach are on a good run and would expect to take all three points this time out.
RB Leipzig v Hannover 96
RB Leipzig will have been hugely disappointed to have lost out on both recent encounters with Bayern Munich. After going down to 10 men in last weekend’s league fixture after just 13 minutes following Willi Orban’s dismissal, they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena. Leipzig remain in third place and prior to their double-header with Bayern they had won their last three Bundesliga games, including victory away to Dortmund. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side faced a tricky trip to Porto before they return to domestic matters.
Surprise package Hannover 96, back in the Bundesliga after a one year absence are riding high in fourth place. They were two places lower going into MD10 before securing a morale-boosting 4-2 victory over Dortmund in an entertaining encounter at the Niedersachsenstadion. After two successive defeats to Mönchengladbach and Frankfurt on MD7 and MD8 respectively, it was Hannover’s second successive Bundesliga win after defeating Augsburg away from home on MD9.
It will be the first time that these teams have met when they face each other on Saturday. Although Hannover have been in great form, a trip to Leipzig will be a tough prospect and the home side will be confident of victory.
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund are now in second place ahead of der Klassiker. After leading the table by five points after MD7, Peter Bosz’s team now trail champions Bayern by three. Since MD7 they failed to win any of their next three Bundesliga matches, including defeats at home to RB Leipzig and a defeat on MD10 away to Hannover 96. They also drew away to APOEL in the Champions League, in a match that they really ought to have won and will be looking to rack up a convincing win in the reverse fixture. It is certainly not the form they would like to find themselves in ahead of their biggest domestic game of the season.
Leaders Bayern are back in the groove since Jupp Heynckes’ return to the club and negotiated a tricky trip to Celtic in the Champions League despite Robert Lewandowski’s absence. The Bavarians beat title rivals RB Leipzig on MD10 and will be looking to deal a blow to another of their foes. They have won the last six outings and will head to Signal Iduna park full of confidence. Already they have clashed in the German Super Cup and claimed their first silverware of the season after a penalty shoot-out victory back in early August.
This is sure to be tight affair at Signal Iduna Park and it would come as little surprise if the points were shared.
1. FC Köln v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Köln continue to struggle at the very foot of the table after a hugely disappointing start to their Bundesliga campaign. On the domestic front, there have been signs of some sort of recovery. A goalless draw at home to fellow strugglers Bremen preceded a DFB Pokal win away at Hertha Berlin. The Billy Goats took the lead in the Rhein-Derby last weekend at Bayer Leverkusen but could not hold on to their advantage, suffering their eighth Bundesliga defeat in the opening 10 matches.
After a Europa League trip to Turkey on Thursday, Hoffenheim travel to bottom of the table Köln on Sunday, looking to arrest a poor run of form on the domestic front. The team from Baden-Wurttemberg are without victory in the Bundesliga since a 2-0 home victory against Schalke on MD6. Julian Nagelsmann’s side have since only managed to pick up points at home to Augsburg and away to Wolfsburg. They have dropped three places in the table to seventh, outside of the European spots.
Köln are unbeaten against Hoffenheim in recent years although given their dreadful run, this will be a tough proposition. With both teams out of form this could be a game in which the points are shared.
VfL Wolfsburg v Hertha BSC
Wolfsburg are in 14th place ahead of the weekend and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven Bundesliga games when they host Hertha BSC at the Volkswagen Arena. Die Wolfe left it late to secure their sixth successive draw when sharing the points at Schalke on MD10. They have only tasted victory once at home in 2017/18, which was gained in the DFB Pokal against high-flying Hannover. Martin Schmidt’s team will be looking to pick up their first Bundesliga win in over two months when they defeated Frankfurt on MD2.
Hertha BSC go into this match three points ahead of their opponents, sitting 11th in the table. Pal Dardai’s outfit beat struggling Hamburg 2-1 at the Olympiastadion on MD10 last weekend. Prior to this game, Hertha had been on a poor run of form both domestically and in Europe, including a DFB Pokal defeat to Köln. Following last season’s sixth place finish, Hertha have found it difficult to replicate this form and have won only three times in the league this season, all of which have been home wins.
The corresponding fixture has not ended in a draw since 2008, with Hertha securing a 3-2 triumph last season. With Hertha facing Europa League action ahead of this game, Wolfsburg will look to take advantage and take all three points.
By Jonathan Shelley.