Here’s your open Bundesliga thread: whether you’re a regular here at Bavarian Football Works, Fear the Wall, or just a Bundesliga fanatic, this is the place to talk BL (or EPL, or La Liga, or whatever!) when your favorite team isn’t playing. Keep the banter friendly, and welcome to all!
Dortmund vs Ingolstadt (FS2)
Friday, 3:30 pm EST
The matchday kicks off with a daunting trip to the Signal Iduna Park for Bayern's plucky neighbors Ingolstadt. Precisely how daunting is perhaps best summarized by the series that Dortmund hope to extend: 32 Bundesliga home games without a loss. Ingolstadt's coach, Maik Walpurgis would like to his side emerge a victorious David from Goliath's den, but even he concedes his men need to have an “ideal day.”
Dortmund duly knocked out Lotte 3-0 in the Pokal earlier in the week, but the victory casts some uncertainty over the starting lineup: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Julian Weigl are doubtful with adductor issues, while Shinji Kagawa might also sit after taking a hard knock on the knee. Dortmund have no lack of offensive strength to compensate, of course. American Christian Pulisic is in outstanding form.
For a detailed preview, see our friends at Fear The Wall.
Hoffenheim vs Leverkusen (FS1)
Saturday, 10:30 am EST
Of all the Saturday morning matches, this has potentially the most at stake. Hoffenheim remain in striking distance of Dortmund, trailing by a single point after drawing against Freiburg last week. With key central defender Kevin Vogt serving a suspension for collecting his fifth yellow, Julian Nagelsmann will have to reconfigure Hoffenheim's defense, potentially moving future Bayern player Niklas Süle into the center.
Leverkusen may have risen out of the Bundesliga cellar, but little has been going their way. Their resurrection stalled with a draw last week against Werder Bremen, and then they were knocked out of the Champions League this week by Atletico Madrid. No rest for the weary, though: a solid win could see them rise to 8th place behind Köln. Whether this inconsistent squad can find the stability to do so under new coach Tayfun Korkut remains to be seen.
Mainz vs Schalke (FS1)
Sunday, 10:30 am EST
The Sunday morning match pits unlikely table-mates against one another (Schalke 11th, Mainz 12th). After losing 2-1 to last-place Darmstadt last week, Mainz sit a mere three points removed from the relegation zone - and one point behind Schalke. Mainz play a bold game, though, and could make life difficult for Schalke. The Royal Blues may well be weary after dramatically battling back against Gladbach to advance to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Much will hinge on how much Markus Weinzierl is willing to rotate his squad: perhaps Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will relieve the sensational newcomer Guido Burgstaller, or Holger Badstuber might return to the starting lineup.
Around the Bundesliga
Saturday, 10:30 am EST
Wolfsburg vs Darmstadt: After shocking Leipzig, Wolfsburg hope to maintain their upward momentum and leave the relegation zone behind them. Darmstadt’s latest round of injury woes may play into their hands.
Köln vs Hertha: On the face of it, Anthony Modeste versus Vedad Ibisevic has the makings of an exciting game. The reality, though, is that Köln have been devastated by injury and are desperate for a victory, while Hertha have nearly returned to full strength.
Augsburg vs Freiburg: Freiburg are the clear favorites in this battle of the ‘burgs, but Augsburg are no pushovers at home. Injuries sustained last week, however, may prevent Augburg’s Raul Bobadilla and Ja-Cheol Koo from playing, tilting the odds even more greatly in Freiburg’s favor.
Bremen vs Leipzig: Stunned by Wolfsburg last week, Leipzig face a number of questions. Midfield dynamo Naby Keita is suspended - and potentially not fit anyway, having suddenly collapsed after last week’s game. For Bremen, Serge Gnabry returns, but Max Kruse is doubtful, potentially opening the door for Claudio Pizarro.
Saturday, 1:30 pm EST
Frankfurt vs Hamburg: Frankfurt have won just one game in their last seven - beating Bielefeld in the DFB Pokal. Despite this horrific run, they miraculously have yet to slip out of their sixth-place Europa League spot in the table. That could all change if they can’t stop the bleeding against a resurgent Hamburg.