Three things to watch out for in the Bundesliga this weekend

It’s matchday 20 in the Bundesliga and it’s set to be another intriguing weekend. The top four hasn’t been this close for years, partially down to an underperforming Bayern Munich as well as heroics from the likes of SC Freiburg and Union Berlin. What’s more, the race to avoid relegation is getting ever closer. Here are three things to watch out for this weekend in the Bundesliga. 

Pellegrino Matarazzo’s first game as TSG Hoffenheim coach 

Following a humiliating 5-2 loss to fellow relegation-rivals VfL Bochum last weekend, TSG Hoffenheim sacked André Breitenreiter. Several names were in the running for the role, including former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl. However, it was Pellegrino Matarazzo who got the green light. Matarazzo has previously coached in the top flight with VfB Stuttgart. 

During his time at Stuttgart, he guided the Swabians to Bundesliga promotion and a ninth-placed finish the following season. Matarazzo also kept VfB in the division during the 2021/22 season. The appointment makes sense in more ways than one. Matarazzo knows what it takes to stay in the league and is a local in the Hoffenheim area. 

Matarazzo’s first game in charge will be at home to Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen this Saturday. Since the Spaniard’s arrival in Leverkusen, his side have risen up the table following a shocking start to the season which saw them in the bottom three. 

It will be interesting to see how Matarazzo gets his side to lineup this weekend. At home, it could be the ideal chance for an immediate new manager lift. 

Top four clash: Union Berlin vs RB Leipzig 

There is a top-four clash this Saturday as Union Berlin (2nd) host RB Leipzig (4th) at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. 

The rise of Union Berlin since their promotion has been nothing short of fairytale stuff. It has caught the attention of world football and given hope to football romantics who dream of footballing success without having to spend massive transfer sums. The fact they’re going toe-to-toe with the likes of Leipzig proves that it’s not all about endless cash injections. 

Union work on a tight transfer budget and are clever in their recruiting. For example, last summer the club lost one of their star strikers, Taiwo Awoniyi, as he move to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League for around €20m. Union only needed €6m to find their replacement, Theoson Siebatcheu, from Young Boys in Switzerland. Siebatcheu hit the ground running scoring against rivals Hertha Berlin on the opening day of the season. 

In contrast, Leipzig spent €58m on three players alone. The sheer juxtaposition of the two teams makes this an interesting game on its own. However, the fact that both are fighting for Champions League football and a possible title is all the more thrilling. 

Can Werder Bremen do the double over Borussia Dortmund? 

Early in the campaign, Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen gave us one of the games of the season. BVB were cruising 2-0 with 89 minutes on the clock when Englishman Lee Buchanan score what many thought was just a consultation for the away side. Five minutes later, Bremen were celebrating the most famous of wins as they scored two goals in added time to win the tie 3-2. It was the first time in Bundesliga history that a team two goals down in the 89th minute had come back to win the game. 

Bremen have gone on to have a solid first season back in the top division. Currently in 8th, you’d fancy them to finish comfortably away from the relegation places in the middle of the table. For BVB, it’s another chance to keep the pressure on Bayern, Union, and Leipzig. With the two latter playing each other, it’s a great opportunity to either move up the table or distance themselves between 4th place Leipzig. 

Can Bremen do a famous double over Dortmund? We’ll find out this Saturday.  

GGFN | Jamie Allen

Get Football+

More European Football News