Munich, October 26 – Here’s our look at the top matches of the weekend, starting with the second division of the Bundesliga.
FC Energie Cottbus and TSV 1860 Munich started the season unbeaten, combining for nine wins and six draws. But in the last weeks, Cottbus and 1860 have stumbled, no wins in the past five matches. Despite falling off the pace, behind leaders Eintracht Braunschweig by eight points, this weekend will allow them to stay with the other clubs hoping for promotion.
A win by either club may catapult them up the standings into the promotion zone. A loss not only means falling behind, but perhaps dropping down in the table, as three clubs are right behind. Two of those teams play each other when FC Ingolstadt host VfR Aalen.
These teams started slow, but are playing well over the past weeks to climb the standings, each with 16 points. Ingolstadt started with two draws and a loss, but since then, only one loss in 7 matches, winning four of them. Aalen had three losses in the first five matches, but also only losing one match in the last five.
Editor’s Note: Ingolstadt beat Aalen 2-0 and jumped over 1860 in the standings, who lost to Cottbus 1-0.
The top match of the entire Bundesliga is in the second division, where surprise team of the year so far Eintracht Braunschweig will face Hertha Berlin.
Braunschweig jumped out ahead of table, winning their five matches. After two draws in three matches, they remained unbeaten winning their last two by a combined 5-0.
Berlin are following a similar path. They do have one loss, back on Match Day 2, but since then, unbeaten in their eight matches, winning their last two also 5-0.
Braunschweig are led by German Dennis Kruppke (5 goals) and Swiss Orhan Ademi (3 goals). In ten matches, goalkeeper Daniel Davari has seven clean sheets, conceding only a league best three goals.
It’s no surprise Hertha are at the top, they’be been yo-yo-ing between the top flight the past seasons, they have the quality to get back again this year. A sputtering start, a draw and then the one loss, a 3-1 defeat to FSV Frankfurt when starting goalkeeper Sasha Burchert received a red card, they’ve tightened up. Jos Luhukay’s squad allowed only five goals in eight matches, including four clean sheets by the current starter between the posts, ex-Bayern keeper Thomas Kraft.
Kickoff from Eintracht Stadium is at 13:00 CET.
On Saturday, high-flying BVB Dortmund travel to the Black Forest to take on in-form SC Freiburg.
The defending Bundesliga champs are coming off a monumental win over Real Madrid in midweek in the Champions League, and now will focus their attention on the league, in which they are struggling. They have recorded only one win in their past five matches, and lost their big derby against Schalke 04 last weekend.
Jürgen Klopp’s men will not have an easy time against last year’s second half surprise. Freiburg are back on track, winning their past two matches 5-0. They now sit eighth in the standings, a single point behind 5th placed Dortmund. A win will catapult them up to fourth until Sunday’s matches, but the short-lived spot will prove to be a boost for the rest of the opening matches.
Another loss by Dortmund will officially call for crisis alert, wins in the Champions League or not. Kickoff from Mage Solar Stadium is at 15:30 CET.
Can anyone stop FC Bayern Munich? The giants of German football are currently enjoying a record start in the Bundesliga and there are no signs of slowing down. Normally a match between Bayern and rivals Bayer Leverkusen 04 would be a tough call, but the visitors to the Allianz Arena on Sunday come in after two lackluster 2-2 draws.
Leverkusen have the quality in the squad to give Bayern a match with many internationals, but the team lead by their former coach Jupp Heynckes is playing at another level.
The question now for every Bayern match – is there a surprise in store? A strong enough question to tune in on Sunday at 17:30 CET.
Editor’s Note: Tune into THE podcast covering the Bundesliga and the German national squad, Talking Fussball. Player interviews, analysis from journalists covering the league and teams, all in Germany. Follow Talking Fussball on Twitter and send your questions and comments to #TalkingFussball. A new edition is available on Tuesday after each Bundesliga Match Day.