For the first time in this season, midweek fixtures are on the horizon. In England, clubs are fighting for a place in the 4th round of a second class domestic trophy and every top flight team will play their second string. If you want some real blockbuster games, the Bundesliga is just what you are looking for.
The matchday starts at 6:30pm today with a match between Gladbach and Leipzig. Both teams go into that one on the back of positive results on the weekend and with both sitting comfortable in midtable, 3 points for either team could be a sign of better things to come and would be crucial for Gladbach if they are to make a charge on european places.
The match that you should not miss this weekend is being kicked off at 8pm in Gelsenkirchen when 4th placed Schalke host injury-ridden 3rd place Bayern. Even though Bayern smashed Mainz 4-0 last weekend, there has been a sense of vulnerability about them this season and without their current best player in Arjen Robben, Schalke might be able to at least get a point from what promises to be the first hotly contested fixture between these two teams in the last few years. In case you are looking for something else, Augsburg – Leipzig and Wolfsburg – Bremen (featuring Martin Schmitt’s debut as Wolfsburg’s head coach) kick off at the same time.
Wednesday starts at 6:30pm with a fixture between Köln and Frankfurt. Frankfurt are sitting at 13th place which is where most people put them in their pre-season predictions. Köln on the other hand, are the definition of a hot mess right now. In the first four games they have only scored once (late against Hamburg) and conceded a staggering 12 goals leaving them at 18th with zero points. The Geißböcke desperately need a win or at least a draw to not let things get completely out of hand.
The hipster in me is going to recommend watching Mainz – Hoffenheim when it comes to the remaining four fixtures that kick off Wednesday 8pm. Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim are always good to watch and when both teams met for the same fixture last season, Hoffenheim came back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 in a stunning match. Another fixture that usually comes with a bucketload of goals is Hamburg – Dortmund. Last year, Dortmund won 5-2 in a match that led most people to conclude that there is no way Hamburg is staying up but they still managed to do it. The start was better this year but it’s Hamburg so a relegation battle is still very much possible.Elsewhere Leverkusen are trying to to build on their 4-0 win against Freiburg when they travel to Berlin with Freiburg trying to recover from that loss when they host Hannover.