Bundesliga Preview: Match Day 9

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The most competitive Bundesliga in years sees just two points separate the top half of the table. Borussia Mönchengladbach lead the table with 16 points, level with unbeaten Wolfsburg, but taking top spot thanks to a better goal difference.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund complete the top four on 15 points, but every team in the top nine can feasibly move into first place this weekend as teams keep taking points from each other.

Bundesliga Match of the Weekend – Schalke vs Dortmund | Saturday 2:30pm

Much has been made of the recent rivalry between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the match even given the title “Der Klassiker”, but Germany’s biggest rivalry game is much older and features two historical giants.

The Revierderby (also known as the Ruhr Derby) is over 90 years old and has regularly featured some classic games, including 2017’s epic where Borussia Dortmund led 4-0 at half-time but Schalke scored four unanswered goals in the second half to snatch a point.

Last season’s editions of the match saw away wins in both ties, with Schalke’s 4-2 win at the Westfalenstadion in April helping to derail Dortmund’s title hopes, giving Royal Blues fans something to cheer about in an ultimately dismal campaign.

Of the 94 Bundesliga meetings between the sides, Dortmund have 33 wins to Schalke’s 32, but Saturday’s hosts will hope to go level as they face an under-pressure Lucien Favre who has doubts over key players like Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus.

Thorgan Hazard will be hoping to keep his good form going as he has provided an assist in each of his last four league games, taking him level with Jadon Sancho at the top of the Bundesliga assist chart on five assists.

Rest of the Weekend

Robert Lewandowski’s 12 goals in eight games equalled the best-ever start in the Bundesliga, and he could become the first player to score in the first nine games of the season this weekend as Bayern Munich host Union Berlin. The visitors have kept just one clean sheet in their first eight games and haven’t won an away tie since March.

Hertha Berlin record signing Dodi Lukebakio has contributed to a league-high three goals off the bench this season (1 goal, 2 assists) and could be in line to start as Hoffenheim travel to the German capital. Andrej Kramaric returned to the Hoffenheim starting XI last weekend following injury and is fond of the Olympiastadion, having scored in his last three trips there.

Europa League contenders Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt play in the last game of the weekend due to the quick turnaround after playing on Thursday evening, with Gladbach likely to have lost their spot at the top of the table by the time their game kicks off. Lars Stindl is back in contention to start, while Frankfurt have selection headaches up front with all their forwards scoring when fit (Goncalo Paciencia, Bas Dost, Andre Silva).

Bundesliga Player of the Weekend – Rouwen Hennings – Fortuna Düsseldorf – £0.44

Veteran striker Rouwen Hennings signed a new contract extension at Fortuna midweek to keep him at the club until at least 2021 with the option of an additional season, and it’s reward for his brilliant start to the season. He has five goals in eight games and looks on target to break his top-flight record of seven goals in a single season this year. He travels to basement side Paderborn this weekend, and will look to add to his tally against the league’s worst defence.

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About Author

Ronan Murphy is a social producer for Goal.com, where he looks after their Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as providing written features on the Bundesliga and FIFA. He also appears regularly on radio and television, including talkSport and LoveSport in the UK, talking German football while constantly sharing his strange obsession with super-striker Sandro Wagner.

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