Bundesliga Preview: Battles Continue In The Top Six
The 4-2 victory in the Champions League this week for Borussia Dortmund over Zenit was just what the team needed after losing 3-0 in Bundesliga play last weekend. With two goals in the match, Robert Lewandowski became Dortmund’s leading scorer in European competitions and marked a return to form for the player as well. Dortmund need the momentum and with positions two through nine in the table separated by only nine points, no team can afford a skid.
BVB will try to bring their return of form back to the Bundesliga as they face a surging Nurnberg squad. Over the last eight games, Nurnberg have amassed 15 points while Dortmund have only secured 11. Nurnberg come off a victory in a match that featured three unconverted penalties. Although they won with only 10 men, it was not a convincing performance.
Stakes are high in this match as Dortmund sit in third, only one point ahead of Schalke and three points ahead of Wolfsburg for the final guaranteed Champions League spot. Nurnberg are four points ahead of the relegation playoff spot.
Hoffenheim vs. Wolfsburg
Last week Fabian Johnson helped his current team Hoffenheim tie his future team. Now he can help his future team Monchengladbach catch up to Wolfsburg. This fixture features teams separated by 16 points in the standings. Wolfsburg are 4-2-2 in their last eight away matches and are firmly in the hunt for a top-three finish. Given recent trends, this match should have goals.
Hertha Berlin vs. Freiburg
Berlin have been a consistent side this year in the Bundesliga while Freiburg are in danger of relegation. This looks like a lopsided match on paper. Freiburg have given up at least one goal in each of their last nine matches while being unable to score in any of their last four away matches.
However, Freiburg is 2-2-1 in the last five against Hertha, and these teams played to a 1-1 draw in September. John Brooks returned from injury last weekend playing five minutes for Berlin. It is unclear if he has worked his way back into the first team, and he remains a long shot for the USMNT in Brazil.
Bayern Munich vs. Schalke
Schalke were on a tear in the Bundesliga until their draw with Mainz last week. Then they were trounced by Real Madrid in Champions League action this week. Now they face another European giant in Bayern Munich, who have not conceded a goal in their last four matches. Bayern have also shut out Schalke for five straight fixtures. Still, Schalke is undefeated over their last seven matches and have scored a goal in over 80 percent of their away matches this year.
The match will also feature brothers Kevin Prince Boateng and Jerome Boateng. Kevin Prince Boateng was injured in the Champions League match so his availability is in question. This comes after he was captured drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette in a photograph taken by Schalke’s doctor’s assistant.
The photo appeared in the German Bild newspaper and was supposedly captured as Boateng was getting drug-tested two weeks ago. Needless to say, Schalke could use something good to talk about right now.
Check back next Thursday as I preview matchday 24 in the Bundesliga.