With two defeats already in 2017, Roger Schmidt seems to be living on borrowed time at Bayer Leverkusen. Facing a home match against third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon, Schmidt has it all to do against Niko Kovac’s side, who themselves have had a change in fortunes after battling against relegation last season.
Perhaps the biggest news coming from the Leverkusen camp last week was that of Hakan Calhanoglu, who has been banned from footballing activities by FIFA for four-months, following a breach of contract back in 2011. The aim for Schmidt is still to qualify for next season’s Champions League but without their influential playmaker, it’s going to be a huge task for Leverkusen, especially with the misfiring Javier Hernandez.
Should Borussia Dortmund beat Darmstadt, come Saturday evening, Leverkusen could potentially find themselves 13 points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side in the race for fourth place.
One eye on the Champions League for Borussia Dortmund & Bayern Munich
The knockout stage of the Champions League returns in midweek; Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund could not have hoped for a better league fixture ahead of the European competition. Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern face 17th placed Ingolstadt, as they look to move clear of RB Leipzig, whilst Dortmund face bottom club Darmstadt on Saturday. Although both play clubs in the relegation zone, don’t expect it to be too easy for the giants, although they will be able to rest some key players ahead of games against Arsenal and Benfica respectively.
RB Leipzig look to kick-start their 2017
After being in the headlines for perhaps the wrong reasons after clashes with Dortmund fans on MD19, RB Leipzig will be hoping they can do the business against Hamburger SV. A defeat for Bayern and a win for RB means they’ll be just one point in it at the top. With plenty of games left to play, this title race could potentially go down to the wire.
For Hamburg, they’ll be looking to build on their league form after beating Bayer Leverkusen last matchday, whilst they put two past Köln in midweek to advance to the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal. 2017 is suddenly looking quite bright for HSV and Markus Gisdol if they can keep this form up.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Darmstadt vs Borussia Dortmund
Ingolstadt vs Bayern Munich
RB Leipzig vs Hamburger SV
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Schalke vs Hertha BSC (17:30)
Wolfsburg vs Hoffenheim (Saturday, 14:30)
Freiburg vs Cologne (Saturday, 16:30)