With the Bundesliga early-season pacesetters all continuing their impressive form, there will be a four-way wrestle for the league lead in Matchday 9.
Leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen know a win at home to SC Freiburg on Sunday will ensure they keep top spot. Xabi Alonso’s side continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg, although Freiburg also took a 2-1 victory after coming from behind at home to VfL Bochum 1848 ahead of UEFA Europa League action for both Die Werkself and Black Forest club.
Leverkusen could be down to fourth by the time they kick off, however. FC Bayern München could go top if they beat newly promoted SV Darmstadt 98 at home on Saturday. The champions also remain unbeaten after a 3-1 win at 1. FSV Mainz 05, with Darmstadt losing by the same scoreline at home to RB Leipzig. The tie may also allow Harry Kane – who has nine goals in his first eight Bundesliga appearances – to close the gap on the league’s leading scorer Serhou Guirassy, who is injured.
Guirassy’s VfB Stuttgart can block Bayern’s bid to go top if they take their seventh successive win at home to TSG Hoffenheim at the same time. The surprise package of the season so far will have to manage without their chief strike threat, however. Guirassy sustained a hamstring injury in the 3-0 win at 1. FC Union Berlin after scoring his 14th goal of the season in the encounter.
Hoffenheim were beaten 3-1 at home by Eintracht Frankfurt on the last matchday. Frankfurt have conceded fewer goals than any other side so far this season with six. The defensive solidity developed by new coach Dino Toppmöller means Eintracht are set to offer a stern test for Borussia Dortmund, despite the 2022/23 runners-up remaining unbeaten following their 1-0 win over SV Werder Bremen last Friday.
Leipzig are hot on the heels of the top four – three points behind Bayern and Dortmund in fifth. A home tie to 1. FC Köln on Saturday evening provides a decent chance for them to keep pace with the leading pack, despite the visitors celebrating their first win of the campaign in a 3-1 derby victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Summer signing Loïs Openda netted his first brace for Leipzig in their win over Darmstadt and will be eager to grab more goals at home.
There are now only two teams yet to register a win this season. VfL Bochum 1848 and Mainz have a chance to put that right in a battle of the bottom two on Friday night. Should Bochum win that, they would move ahead of Union, who are looking over their shoulders in 15th spot after a run of six successive Bundesliga defeats. A trip to Bremen on Saturday – who are level with Union on six points – provides an opportunity to correct that slump in form.
In contrast, things look much rosier all of a sudden at FC Augsburg. New coach Jess Thorup inspired the club to their first away victory in over a year with a huge 5-2 success at 1. FC Heidenheim 1846. Thorup will be looking forward to the chance to make an impression in front of his own fans this Saturday as Augsburg host Wolfsburg.
Mönchengladbach have the chance to recover from the loss of some local pride in their derby defeat when they host Heidenheim, who are still searching for their first away win since earning promotion to the Bundesliga. The Foals have registered just one win so far this season and will need to win to overtake their opponents in the table.