Borussia Mönchengladbach is out to consolidate their four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table on Matchday 12, while FC Bayern München looks to continue their renaissance under Hanshi Flick and the other big guns try to close the gap on the Foals.
Marco Rose’s Mönchengladbach saw off Werder Bremen before the international break and will attempt to make it nine wins from 12 outings as they head to 1. FC Union Berlin on Saturday. Confidence is high at the promoted side, though, after victories over city rivals Hertha Berlin and 1. FSV Mainz 05, so Borussia will need star man Marcus Thuram firing on all cylinders in the capital. Patrick Herrmann is also one to watch after his brace against Bremen.
As Bayern celebrated outgoing president Uli Hoeneß’s retirement last Friday, they also announced that interim coach Flick will remain in charge until at least the winter break, after he guided the record champions to a UEFA Champions League win over Olympiacos and a sensational 4-0 Klassiker victory against Borussia Dortmund. Robert Lewandowski will try to score for the 12th straight game this season and take his league-leading haul beyond 16 as Bayern travel to Fortuna Düsseldorf, who played out a barnstorming 3-3 draw with FC Schalke 04 last time out. It also finished 3-3 when Bayern and Düsseldorf met at the Allianz Arena last November.
Dortmund kicks off the weekend’s action at home to bottom side SC Paderborn on Friday. It could be just what the doctor ordered for Lucien Favre’s men, who need a positive result to help put the recent Klassiker defeat behind them. Paco Alcacer could make his first start in two months, with Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho also expected to feature in Favre’s line-up. BVB are currently sixth, but a win would see them climb to second overnight.
RB Leipzig begins the weekend ahead of Bayern on goal difference, with the two sides sharing the division’s best attack (29 goals scored). Finding the back of the net certainly hasn’t been a problem for Leipzig in recent weeks, as they put eight past Mainz and four past Hertha. Timo Werner and Co. will surely have too much for 1. FC Köln, who have dropped to 17th after losing three on the bounce.
Following on the heels of Leipzig and Bayern are surprise package Freiburg, who climbed to fourth after a narrow win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 11. On Saturday, Christian Streich’s side visits European hopefuls Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who have just snapped a four-game winless run with victory away to VfL Wolfsburg.
Having gone their first nine games unbeaten, the Wolves have now lost two in a row, with a return of two points in four outings seeing them slip to 10th. They will be determined to bounce back, but it won’t be easy at the Commerzbank-Arena, where Frankfurt boasts the Bundesliga’s best home record this season (W4, D2).
The best record full stop over the last month belongs to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who have surged to fifth place courtesy of five consecutive wins. Coach Alfred Schreuder will be quietly confident of keeping that run going at home to Mainz, who are 16th after losing three of their last four.
Elsewhere, Schalke will try to boost their European hopes against an out-of-sorts Bremen, who haven’t won since Matchday 4, while FC Augsburg, who finally ended a six-game winless streak in Paderborn a fortnight ago, entertain a Hertha side who have suffered three consecutive defeats.