The Bundesliga made its long-awaited return two weeks ago, but seems like it was never gone, such has been the drama since the end of the winter break.
Now just one point separates the top two sides in the league – RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich – making it the most exciting of Europe’s title races this season, unless of course you count Barcelona vs Real Madrid…
Match of the Weekend – RB Leipzig vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig slipped up last weekend against Schalke, so will be looking to return to winning days when they host Gladbach. They have faced each other seven times in the past with Leipzig winning five and drawing twice. Leipzig also have a great record in the ‘Topspiel’, with wins in each of their last four appearances on Saturday evenings.
Timo Werner was kept quiet against Schalke, but has eight goals in his previous seven games with Gladbach, including a hat-trick earlier this season. That was the first hat-trick of his career, and promises to be the first of many. New Leipzig signing Dani Olmo should make the squad this weekend, having joined from Dinamo Zagreb amid interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Alassane Plea scored twice in the 3-1 comeback win over Mainz and should keep his spot as the central attacker in Gladbach’s attack. The French forward now has seven Bundesliga goals in 2019-20 and looks set to surpass his personal best of 12 goals from last season.
Rest of the Weekend
Hertha Berlin and Schalke kick off the weekend on Friday evening, but don’t expect a high-scoring game. The two sides are currently last and third-last in shots attempted per game this season, so would need to get their shooting boots on to make this game a spectacle for the neutral.
New signing Krzysztof Piatek arrived too late to feature, so Hertha are likely to start Davie Selke in attack. He missed a host of good chances last weekend against Bayern Munich and looks to have lost confidence. A goal could come from the penalty spot, as both teams have given away a league-high six penalties each this season.
Erling Haaland has five goals in two games for Borussia Dortmund, but still has yet to start. Saturday’s home tie with Union Berlin could see him finally take a spot in the starting XI. Dortmund have lost just one of their last eight games in the Bundesliga, while Union have won only one of their last nine games on the road. The game looks like the perfect match for Haaland to add to his goal tally.
After recording the best-ever group stage performance in the Champions League earlier this season, Bayern Munich have also set the record for the best start to a Bundesliga Rückrunde. They have two wins and a goal difference of +9 since the winter break and should have no problem picking up a third win this weekend at Mainz.
The Zero-fivers have the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga this season and have kept just one clean sheet in 19 games. Expect Robert Lewandowski to thrive in that environment, but keep an eye out for a booking for the Polish striker as a fifth yellow card this season would mean he misses the top-of-the-table clash with Leipzig next weekend.
Bundesliga Player to Watch: Philipp Max – Augsburg – £1.36
Philipp Max is listed as a defender on Football Index, but has been playing as a left winger for Augsburg. As a result, he has added goals to his game and has six goals and five assists so far this season.
The 26-year-old takes all of Augsburg’s set-pieces and will be one of their main threats this weekend as they face injury-depleted Werder Bremen.