It’s January the 19th 2018 and this doesn’t only mark the start of the second Bundesliga matchday of 2018, it’ll also most likely mark the first Dortmund game in a Post-Aubameyang era who seems to be on his way to Arsenal.
When Dortmund travels to Berlin on Friday night (8.30 CET) they are going to get another sniff of how it is to cope without their best striker who was suspended due to poor discipline last week. His place will most likely be taken by 18-year-old Alexander Isak who is a huge talent but who might not be ready yet judging from his so-so performance in the 0-0 draw against Wolfsburg. Hertha isn’t in great shape right now and it seems to be a good time to play them but that kind of thing hasn’t meant much for Dortmund this season. It’s worth to keep an eye on this game and on Dortmund’s transfer activities in the upcoming weeks because losing Aubameyang is a rather huge blow.
In my preview for last week I complained about the fact that there was no 3.30 Saturday game that seemed particularly captivating. This isn’t the case this week because Hoffenheim and Leverkusen are meeting in what is a clash of 7th and 5th. Games between these two in recent history teams have always been good to watch. Both stand for lively attacking football and you get a chance to see a lot of young talent on both sides including Julian Brandt and Benjamin Henrichs. If for some reason you are not interested in that game there are a few other interesting ones to watch including on-the-rise Freiburg playing against Leipzig and Gladbach meeting Augsburg. The other two games are Mainz against Stuttgart and Mainz v Stuttgart.
The 6.30 game on Saturday usually marks the highlight of the Bundesliga weekend. This weekend it marks the lowlight because it is Hamburg v Köln. Both teams are bad and are on relegation places for a very good reasons. Bremen is playing against Bayern on Sunday so they won’t pick up any points meaning that Hamburg has a chance to surpass them in the table. However Köln has won two games in a row after 16 games without a single win and everyone who still believes in the miracle of staying up is going to pray for a third one. This game won’t be pleasing to the eyes but it has the potential to be suspenseful.
As mentioned earlier, Sunday 3.30 marks the most one sided game of this matchday when Bremen travels to Munich to receive their annual slaughtering (Bayern has scored five or more goals in all of the last five home encounters against Bremen). Everything but that mentioned slaughtering would be a huge surprise and whilst the Bundesliga is prone to surprises they usually don’t involve Bayern and probably won’t this time.
Bundesliga action is concluded at 6.00 later that day when Hannover make the trip down to Gelsenkirchen to meet Schalke. In the Hinrunde this game ended with a 1-0 win for Hannover and it was the start of a wonderful first half of Hinrunde for them. Schalke’s long unbeaten streak broke last week and they’ll be looking to get back on track against an opponent whose farm has been topsy-turvy in recent months.They only lost one place last week but with how tight the Bundesliga they should really avoid their second home loss of the season.