German teams are making headlines in the Champions League for all the right reasons, but turn their attention back to domestic matters this weekend as the hunt for the league title continues.
Bayern Munich remain at the top of the table, but the gap still remains close with just four points separating the top four and six points between the top five.
Match of the Weekend – Schalke vs RB Leipzig
Expect set-piece goals this weekend when Schalke host Leipzig as the Red Bulls have scored more goals from set-pieces than any other team in the Bundesliga this season, while Schalke are the worst at defending them, according to the statistics. Leipzig’s mid-week winner against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League came from a set-piece, with Timo Werner converting a penalty in a 1-0 away win.
Werner is Leipzig’s top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with 20 goals, but strike partner Patrik Schick is enjoying a renaissance with six goals already this season – as many as he scored in the previous two seasons combined for Roma.
The kick-off time also favours Leipzig, as Schalke have won none of their last eight games on a Saturday night. They have also failed to win any of their last four games in the Bundesliga, while Leipzig recorded a 3-0 win last weekend to keep the pressure on Bayern Munich.
Rest of the Weekend
Bayern Munich kick off this weekend’s action on Friday evening in order to give the team plenty of time to rest ahead of their Champions League clash with Chelsea on Tuesday. The fixture gods have also handed them an appealing tie to ease them into their European game with a home clash against bottom side Paderborn. Benjamin Pavard is suspended so Alvaro Odriozola is expected to get the nod at right-back after joining on loan from Real Madrid. Serge Gnabry is set to play in his 100th Bundesliga game and has been involved in 10 goals in his last 11 league matches for Bayern.
Werder Bremen knocked Borussia Dortmund out of the DFB-Pokal two weeks ago, so Lucien Favre’s men will be looking for revenge in the Bundesliga. That game finished 3-2 and this one promises to be another high-scoring game as the last 14 meetings between the two sides have produced an average of 4.3 goals per game. Erling Haaland scored twice against PSG in mid-week but is even more potent in the Bundesliga, averaging a goal every 38 minutes.
Bayer Leverkusen have never lost to Augsburg in the Bundesliga, and that doesn’t look likely to change as Sunday’s visitors boast the worst defensive record since the winter break (14 goals conceded in five games). On the opposite side of the scale, Kai Havertz has been much improved since the break, scoring three goals and assisting another – already a better return than his entire first half of the season.
Bundesliga Player to Watch: Alassane Plea – Borussia Mönchengladbach – £1.51
Alassane Plea returns from his suspension this weekend as Gladbach host Hoffenheim. He has been involved in 13 goals this season, the joint-most for the team alongside fellow French frontman Marcus Thuram.
Plea’s suspension should have helped him get some rest and he will be eager to prove a point against a team Gladbach have not lost to in eight years.