After an eventful Pokal week that saw Bremen and Köln win games and Leipzig taking Bayern all the way to a penalty shootout, it’s time for a weekend of league football that sees both Köln and Bremen face tough opposition.
Today at 8.30 everything kicks off with a Rhein-Main-Derby between Mainz and Frankfurt. For Frankfurt, this is a huge opportunity to show that last season’s success wasn’t just a fluke and that they are up in the top half of the table not just by good fortune but by merit. Mainz is playing at home but they had to play the full 120 minutes against Kiel on Tuesday whilst Frankfurt breezed through against Schweinfurt. Hard to call this game but a win for either team would be huge and not just in terms of prestige.
Saturday’s afternoon fixtures (kick-off 3.30) feature some very interesting matches. You could watch Köln try to do the impossible that would be getting their first win of the season in a derby at Leverkusen. You could go with the hipster’s choice and watch Schalke (against Wolfsburg) and Hoffenheim (against Gladbach) battle it out for that so important 4th spot. If you’re into pain there’s also a match between Hamburg and Hertha who are both struggling. Hamburg are already on the so familiar relegation Play-Off spot and if Bremen or Köln don’t change their head coach soon, Hamburg might be the next team to do so. And then there are league leaders Dortmund who travel to Hannover seeking to profit from Bayern and Leipzig playing each other at 6.30.
When Leipzig dropped out of the Pokal on Wednesday it was after a game of questionable refereeing, Naby Keita getting sent off and Sven Ulrich saving a bad Timo Werner penalty. We’re unlikely to have as much on Saturday but the game is going to be an important performance benchmark for both teams since both want to keep up with Dortmund. Bayern are favourites but the Pokal match has shown that Leipzig knows how to shut Bayern down for most of the game and they’ll likely do the same again making a 5-4 or a 3-0 like last season unlikely.
Sunday starts at 3.30 with Bremen getting another attempt at winning a league match after winning the midweek cup game. Augsburg are the visitors. Last season Augsburg met Bremen twice in times of deep crisis beating them twice. With how bad Bremen’s attack has been this season I would not expect a 3-2 or a 2-1 like last season but it could be a 1-0 for either team but if you like football I can’t recommend watching this match because it’s unlikely to be very entertaining.
A game between two teams in the bottom third of the table that table that promises good football kicks of at 6.00 and it’s Stuttgart vs Freiburg. Both teams are in a weird situation because neither team knows where they stand so main goal is just staying up.