Matchday 13 of the 2017/18 Bundesliga campaign is upon us and it all starts on Friday night when Stuttgart make the trip to Hannover 96. Champions and leaders Bayern Munich make the trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, while the game of the day and indeed the weekend is the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 at the Westfalenstadion.
With European competitions in midweek, Germany’s Europa league participants are all in action on Sunday when TSG 1899 Hoffenheim visit Hamburger SV while 1. FC Köln host Hertha BSC.
Here is all you need to know ahead of all of the action.
Hannover 96 v VfB Stuttgart
The Niedersachsenstadion plays host to the first match of the weekend as André Breitenreiter’s 8th place team look to return to winning ways. At this stage of the season this position represents a good start for last year’s 2. Bundesliga runners-up. However, they have dropped down the table recently after losing their last two matches. While defeat at RB Leipzig on MD11 would not have come as a major surprise, the hammering they suffered at the hands of lowly Werder Bremen in the previous match would have done.
Stuttgart who pipped their opponents to the 2. Bundesliga title last season have also made a decent return to life in the top flight, currently sitting in 11th place. Their mid-table position is purely down to their impressive home form. This is just as well as die Roten have contrived to lose every one of their Bundesliga games away from the Mercedes-Benz Arena, with their most recent defeat on the road away at Hamburg on MD11. Dzenis Burnic was sent-off after just 13 minutes after a second yellow card, falling to a 3-1 defeat.
Augsburg v VfL Wolfsburg
Augsburg will be hoping that they can put defeat against fellow Bavarian’s Bayern Munich behind them when they take on Wolfsburg this Saturday. They will be aiming to regain the home form they enjoyed at the start of the season where they were unbeaten in their first three outings at the WWK Arena. They have since then failed to win after falling to consecutive home defeats at the hands of Borussia Dortmund and Hannover, both by a 2-1 margin. Manuel Baum’s outfit did get a point in their last home game against Leverkusen, courtesy of a 1-1 draw and they will look to take all 3 points this time out.
Wolfsburg make the trip down to Bavaria in 13th spot. They will do so in good heart after they recorded just their second victory of their Bundesliga campaign. Their 3-1 win lifted them up a place in the table. Yannick Gerhardt gave die Wolfe a welcome early lead and a brace from Turkish international Yunus Malli sealed all three points for the men from Lower-Saxony. Martin Schmidt’s side have only suffered defeat once on the road which came back on MD4 at the hands of Stuttgart.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04
The game of the day takes place in the Revierderby when die Schwarzgelben will be looking to get their season back on track. Sitting 5th in the table, the home side are on a wretched run of form following a blistering start. This poor recent run extends to both domestic and continental competition – they have failed to win in the Bundesliga since a victory at Augsburg on MD7. This is not acceptable for a squad as talented as Dortmund’s. They look bereft of confidence and were off the pace again in their 2-1 defeat at Stuttgart on MD12 following the latest international break.
Conversely the visitors are on a fine run of form, sitting three points ahead of their local rivals, just behind Bayerb Munich in second. Die Königsblauen are unbeaten in their last six Bundesliga matches and have won four of those, including the last two. A narrow 1-0 win at Freiburg on MD11 was followed up by a 2-0 win at home to Hamburg last time out. Goals from strikers Franco Di Santo (penalty) and Guido Burgstaller secured another three points at the Veltins Arena.
A trip to Dortmund will hold no fear for Domenico Tedesco’s outfit as they look to win at Signal Iduna Park for the first-time since 2012.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen
Eintracht sit just outside the European qualification places in 7th place ahead of the clash at the Commerzbank-Arena. Croatian, Niko Kovac’s troops have not tasted defeat since a 2-1 result at RB Leipzig on MD6. Die Adler have won two of their last three matches on their own patch after beating Stuttgart and Bremen, both by a 2-1 margin. Striker Sebastien Haller will be looking to get on the score sheet for the fourth consecutive home match and his side will be out to secure the three points they gathered against Saturday’s opponents last season.
Bayer Leverkusen are occupying 9th place ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures. They are another Bundesliga side who are long-term unbeaten after they lost 2-1 away to Hertha way back on MD5. In their most recent road trips they hammered Mönchengladbach in between 1-1 draws away at Schalke and last time out at Augsburg. Benjamin Henrichs will sit out this game through suspension after his red card in the 2-2 draw at home to Leipzig in their latest outing.
SC Freiburg v 1.FSV Mainz 05
Freiburg now find themselves in the penultimate relegation spot in 17th place and are in the midst of a horrible run of form, following three consecutive defeats. The home side will look to take full advantage of the fact that this game takes place at their own Schwarz-Wald Stadion in order to stop this run. Despite their lowly position, Christian Streich’s outfit have only lost once at home so far this campaign. The 1-0 win they gained in last season’s corresponding fixture will be welcome in their battle to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone.
Mainz are five places clear of Saturday’s opponents in 12th position. They climbed from 13th position following their 1-0 over rock bottom Köln courtesy of a highly controversial penalty, converted by Daniel Brosinski. It put the subject of VAR firmly back in the spotlight. Nevertheless they would have been grateful to take all three points having failed to register a league win since MD9 when die Nullfünfer’s fell to a 2-0 defeat to Schalke 04.
RB Leipzig v Werder Bremen
Third placed RB Leipzig will be after maximum points in Saturday’s clash after dropping points, and the 2nd spot they held following a 2-2 draw away at Bayer Leverkusen. Whilst this result looks good on paper, the reality was that they twice lost the lead after penalties from Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg put them in front. Further still they were against 10 men for most of the second-half and allowed their hosts to take the game to them. The hosts have enjoyed four wins out of their five home games so far, only dropping points in a 2-2 draw against Mönchengladbach back on MD4.
Bremen climbed into the relegation play-off spot following a 4-0 thumping of high flying Hannover, which would have done much to improve Florian Kohfeldt’s chances of securing the coach’s job on a long-term basis. Fin Bartels gave die Werderarner a first-half lead before Max Kruse netted a well-deserved hat-trick. Bremen have yet to win on the road in 2017/18 and will look to use last week’s momentum to rectify this.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayern Munich
Die Fohlen take on champions Bayern in Saturday’s evening fixture buoyed by their rise to 4th place in the Bundesliga table. Dieter Hecking’s team are unbeaten since being thumped 5-1 at home to Leverkusen on MD9. In their last outing they secured a 4-2 win away at Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion with goals from Raffael (2), Thorgan Hazard and Lars Stindl. They have had no problem scoring goals this season and have not failed to score in the league since a 1-0 home defeat to Frankfurt on MD3.
Bayern make the long trip to North Rhine-Westphalia looking down on all the other teams at the top of the table and hold an ominous six point lead after 12 rounds of matches. The champions have won their last five Bundesliga matches, scoring 14 goals in the process and conceding just one. Robert Lewandowski has scored in four of those matches and leads the Bundesliga scoring charts with 13 goals in 12 matches and will look to add to his tally this Saturday.
Hamburger SV v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Hamburger SV go into MD13 in 15th spot in the Bundesliga table. Marcus Gidsol’s team had lost seven out of eight league fixtures ahead of their last home fixture at the Volksparkstadion and confidence would have been low. However, they took full advantage of opponents Stuttgart going down to 10 mean early in the game and went on to win 3-1. Not only were the points welcome but the club and their supporters have been buoyed by the recent emergence of 17-year-old wonderkid Jann-Fiete Arp who now has two goals to his name. In finding the net in a defeat to Hertha on MD10, Arp made history by becoming the first millennial to score in the Bundesliga.
Hoffenheim are in the Europa League qualifying spot in 6th place in the league table. Julian Nagelsmann’s team have done well on the road this season and have only been beaten once, which came with a 3-2 defeat at Freiburg on MD7. Since then they were denied victory by an injury time equaliser from Felix Uduokhai away at Wolfsburg on MD9. This was followed up with a crushing 3-0 win at Köln, courtesy of goals from teenager Dennis Geiger and a brace from seemingly Bayern Munich bound Sandro Wagner. Die Kraichgauer sit just three points off 2nd spot in the Bundesliga table.
1. FC Köln v Hertha BSC
The Billy Goats remain bottom of the Bundesliga having accumulated a pitiful two points after 12 rounds of matches. Having been in Europa League action against Arsenal in midweek they will be desperate to gain their first league victory of the season, after an outstanding 1-0 over the Premier League club. The team who finished in 5th place last season have picked up a solitary point at the RheinEnergieStadion following a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Werder Bremen on MD9. They have struggled at both ends of the pitch and have scored just four league goals all season. Even at this relatively early stage of the season they have reached the point where they have to pick up all three points in order to give them hope of salvaging their season.
The men from the capital lie in 14th spot in the table and have had a poor start to the campaign after ending 2016/17 in 6th spot. They have only contrived to lose twice in their away fixtures this season, away at Dortmund and Mainz. The last two Bundesliga fixtures involving the Old Lady have both seen six goals scored in entertaining encounters. Davie Selke’s 83rd minute goal earned a 3-3 draw away at Wolfsburg in a 3-3 draw on MD11. Last time out, Hertha found themselves 3-0 down to Mönchengladbach inside the first 20 minutes in a nightmare start. Despite pulling it back to 3-2 through goals from veteran Vedad Ibisevic and Mitchell Weiser, the visitors came away with a 4-2 victory.
By Jonathan Shelley.