This week has been a terrible one for German clubs on the European stage. Every single of the six Bundesliga teams in Champions and Europa League lost their matches and the Champions League teams did so in very convincing fashion in Bayern’s case leading to Ancelotti losing his job.
The matchday starts with a match between two teams who are usually in Europe and who tend to do well there: Schalke and Leverkusen. After losing the last two games, Schalke want to get back on the right track and a win against Leverkusen would see them shoot right up the table into European regions again. Leverkusen won their last two games at home but haven’t been very convincing away from home. Schalke is not an easy ground to win at but Leverkusen tend to play very well against Schalke so we should be in for an exciting opener.
Thanks to European football, Saturday afternoon only contains four games. Gladbach host Hannover, Stuttgart travel to Frankfurt, the league leaders Dortmund are Augsburg’s guests and lost but not least, new Wolfsburg head coach Martin Schmidt gets to see his old team, Mainz, when they visit Wolfsburg. Like so often, the best game to watch is the one that includes Borussia Dortmund. They might have lost to Real Madrid this week but their 6-1 against Gladbach was the best any Bundesliga team has played this season. Under normal circumstances, Augsburg does not stand a chance but they have surprised everyone so far and being the second team to take points of Dortmund would fit right into that narrative and Dortmund are playing high-risk, high-reward football so it’s not impossible.
Saturday is concluded with a Nordderby between Hamburg and Bremen. Just like in recent history, both teams are in relegation trouble. Hamburg have lost their last four games and Bremen are still without a win. Recent Bremen performances have been promising so this might be the game where they finally collect their first win and a game against the big local rival is probably the best stage to do so.
Another team that is yet to win a match is Freiburg. They have drawn four matches so far and host last year’s draw specialists Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim was the team that got closest to not losing in Europe but they conceded two wonder goals making them join the other German teams on a list that you don’t want to be on. This away game (kicking off at 1:30pm on Sunday) is a good chance to firmly but their name in the Champions League hat and with two losses in two Europa League games they might be able to focus on just that later in the season.
Sunday’s second match (3:30pm) features the club everyone has been talking about since Wednesday night: Bayern München. Their 3-0 loss at Paris and alleged differences between players and the head coach have led to Ancelotti’s sacking. For the game against Berlin, old faithful Willy Sagnol will replace him in the dugout. With most of their important players fit and well rested, Bayern should be able to do what they do best: Smashing other teams that have worse players.
Despite sacking their manager and getting dominated by Paris, Bayern are not the main laughingstock of the league, all thanks to Köln. Out of 24 available points in Bundesliga and Europa League they managed to win just one and Leipzig isn’t really the easiest team to face if you want to change that trend. However, Naby Keita is still suspended so the 6pm Sunday kick-off might hold some surprises.