A dramatic Matchday 20 in the Bundesliga saw multiple clubs in the top of half of the table suffer defeat, including Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin. This weekend the top clubs have a chance to get back on track. However, there are other potential upsets brewing.
We take a look ahead to Matchday 21 in the German top flight.
FC Augsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
After a tremendous display against Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, Leverkusen will have another opportunity to close the gap on the European places. Their opponents, on the other hand, are looking to get back into the top half of the table after a disappointing loss last Friday.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez recorded a brace against Frankfurt and has netted three goals in his last two appearances. He will be the key man to watch as his attacking production will be one of the keys to Leverkusen’s resurgence.
Augsburg have failed to defeat Leverkusen in their last 11 Bundesliga meetings, as the last four matches have all ended on level terms.
Mainz vs. Werder Bremen
Struggling Werder Bremen will travel south to face Mainz in hopes of earning their first points of 2017. Mainz recorded their first win in five matches on Matchday 20, and will look to complete the double against Bremen, having won 2-1 in September.
The introduction of new signing Bojan last week gave Mainz energy on the attack, as he found instant chemistry in the midfield. If the midfield can repeat last week’s performance, expect a dangerous Mainz attack and a similar result.
Hoffenheim vs. Darmstadt
Darmstadt’s shock result against Borussia Dortmund last weekend will have the last-place club in high spirits as they travel to Hoffenheim. They have yet to lose to their opponents in the Bundesliga and have the opportunity to earn their first away points of the season.
Hoffenheim joined five other clubs in the hunt for European places with a loss on Matchday 20. It was only their second defeat of the season, as they occupy fifth heading into the weekend fixtures. They have yet to lose at home and will set a new club-record for the longest unbeaten run at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena with a positive result on Saturday.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Ingolstadt
After a tough 3-0 loss to Leverkusen last week, Frankfurt have their sights set on another home win as they host Ingolstadt. The hosts have won six of their nine home fixtures this season, and have outscored their opponents 16-7.
Ingolstadt are 17th in the table and are in real danger of falling out of the first division, only taking three points from their last four matches. A loss on Saturday will give them 14 losses, which would equal their total losses from last season.
Hertha BSC vs. Bayern Munich
The Olympiastadion will be the venue for this high-profile encounter. Hertha Berlin come into the week in sixth, while Bayern remain in first with a seven-point lead at the top of the table over RB Leipzig. The league leaders are coming off of a massive 5-1 result against Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday.
In the reverse fixture, it was a 2-0 win for the league title-holders. They have dominated the series between the two sides, winning the last 11 and outscoring Hertha 33-6.
Hertha have played well at home this season, making it a golden opportunity to shock Bayern, as they have only lost once in Berlin. Additionally, Hertha have scored 16 and conceded only four at home this season, which should give Bayern a bit of concern heading into Saturday.
Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg
It hasn’t been the best week for Dortmund, as the club lost over the weekend to last place Darmstadt and then were met with a frustrating loss to Benfica in the Champions League.
The Signal Iduna Park will be a welcome sight for Dortmund, as they have not lost at home in 30 Bundesliga matches. Their opponents, Wolfsburg, have struggled defensively against them in recent times, as a total of 40 goals have been let in by Wolfsburg in the last 15 meetings. Marco Reus has scored nine of those goals.
It’s not all bad news for Wolfsburg, with a win on Matchday 20 boosting morale as the club are six points clear of the drop zone. A win on Saturday could signal the start of a push into the top half of the table.
Hamburg SV vs. SC Freiburg
A recent run of good form from Hamburg has the potential to change the outcome of their season drastically. They have upset Leverkusen and RB Leipzig in the last two matchdays and are up to 15th in the table. Freiburg are right in the thick of things near the top as they move closer to the European places.
Freiburg are unbeaten against Hamburg in their last four meetings, and have only lost once in the last seven. However, they are one of the worst clubs in the league when it comes to conceding away goals, allowing 21 goals and only scoring 12. Three points are critical if they want to keep hope alive for reaching a European place.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. RB Leipzig
Borussia Mönchengladbach are in prime form and have posted the best record in the league since returning from the winter break. Dieter Hecking has helped guide the club back into the top half of the table, as he has seen the club thrive since becoming manager.
RB Leipzig have struggled as of late, losing four of their last seven. A loss on Sunday could see them fall into real danger of being caught by the ever-present group of clubs in the top seven. Mönchengladbach have kept clean sheets in four of their last five matches, which will come as a concern, since Leipzig have not scored in their last three away fixtures.
FC Köln vs. Schalke 04
After claiming their first win of the season against a club in the top half of the table, Schalke have their sights set on yet another top club.
Köln are seventh heading into Matchday 21 as they fell last Sunday to Freiburg. Despite the loss, the West German club are still well positioned in the table, sitting only three points off third place.
The home side are unbeaten at home this season, outscoring their opponents 14-4. Schalke have only one away victory, and are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to goal-scoring in away matches. In September, Köln won 3-1 in the reverse fixture.