There’s a huge clash at the top of the ladder on Matchday 19 as second-placed RB Leipzig host Bayer 04 Leverkusen in third, while FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund are out for revenge.
The weekend’s standout fixture comes on Saturday at the Red Bull Arena between two sides looking to bounce back from a recent lapse in form. Leipzig suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to 1. FSV Mainz 05 last Saturday, despite a maiden Bundesliga goal for Tyler Adams, and now find themselves seven points off the lead knowing they can’t afford any more slips. The same can be said for Leverkusen a further three points behind. Win and they move second, but Die Werkself have only one victory from their last six since their 12-match unbeaten start was ended.
It’s the reigning champions who lead the way with the largest cushion so far this campaign after a perfect Matchday 18. Not only did other results go their way, but Robert Lewandowski re-wrote more goalscoring history, Manuel Neuer set a Bundesliga record for clean sheets and Joshua Kimmich bagged a hat-trick of assists against FC Schalke 04. FC Bayern München now host one of only two teams to beat them in the Bundesliga in the last year. TSG Hoffenheim were top after their 4-1 win on Matchday 2 and have rediscovered form with back-to-back 3-0 victories in which the league’s now all-time top-scoring Croatian, Andrej Kramaric, has netted four times.
Borussia Dortmund also lost their reverse fixture with FC Augsburg but are in far more desperate need of revenge as they now sit seventh after no wins in three, despite a combined six goals from Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho in 2021. Their Bavarian visitors followed up a spirited display against FC Bayern München with a relieving 2-1 win over 1. FC Union Berlin in which their top scorer last season, Florian Niederlechner, finally opened his account for 2020/21 with a brace.
The league’s form side, though, is Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles have soared into the top six with five wins from their last six outings, boosted by the red-hot form of Andre Silva and the returning Luka Jovic. It’s in stark contrast to opponents Hertha Berlin, who have dismissed head coach Bruno Labbadia after three defeats in four with the capital club only two points above the play-off spot.
Borussia Mönchengladbach are the division’s other unbeaten team in 2021, having claimed the big scalps of FC Bayern and Dortmund at Borussia-Park by scoring seven goals. The Foals now head to the capital to take on a Union side they leapfrogged last weekend, with Die Eisernen suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
Down at the bottom, there’s a classic relegation six-pointer between 1. FC Köln and DSC Arminia Bielefeld. Only two points separate the sides, meaning the Billy Goats can move out of the play-off spot with a win. Should last season’s Bundesliga 2 champions repeat their victory from the reverse fixture, they would put five points between themselves and relegation danger.
There will be plenty of eyes on the Weserstadion when young American striker sensations Josh Sargent and Matthew Hoppe go head-to-head with SV Werder Bremen and FC Schalke 04. The former got his second goal of the campaign last weekend, while the latter is second only to Lewandowski for goals in 2021 with five, despite the Royal Blues’ continued struggles at the bottom.
The weekend’s action kicks off at the Mercedes-Benz Arena as VfB Stuttgart continue their search for a first home win of the season against aMainz side buoyed by their confidence-boosting victory over Leipzig. It was only their second three points of the campaign and first under Bo Svensson as they moved to within five points of safety.
VfL Wolfsburg are into the top four on the back of a 1-0 win in Leverkusen, but they host an SC Freiburg side on an incredible run of form, with their sole defeat since the end of November coming in Munich. The Black Forest club have only won more away games at 1. FC Nürnberg and FC Schalke 04 than at the Volkswagen Arena and could find themselves on the cusp of the European places if they continue that strong record.
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