Big weekend in the Bundesliga – Leipzig v Bayern, Dortmund v BayerPublished on: September 9, 2019Author: Sam F
This year’s Bundesliga is already shaping up to be a cracking contest with Bayern Munich looking for their eighth successive league title. On Saturday there will be two matches that could have a decisive impact on how the season progresses.
RB Leipzig entertain Bayern Munich at 1730 on Saturday 14 September. Leipzig are currently the league leaders with three wins out of three, but Bayern will be looking to build on their 6-1 thrashing of Mainz last weekend.
Bayer Leverkusen travel to Borussia Dortmund for a match that kicks off at 1430 on Saturday. Both teams finished in the top four last season, and this game will be pivotal if either side have realistic hopes of taking the title from Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich back to winning ways after opening game stutter
Bayern started off their campaign being held 2-2 at home by Hertha Berlin. Although Bayern were the better team, the fact that Hertha Berlin scored twice in two minutes was shocking, and it could have been much worse had Robert Lewandowski not scored the VAR-awarded penalty to equalise.
From here, Bayern Munich have settled back into familiar ways with two successive wins. Their 0-3 win against Schalke saw Lewandowski picking up an excellent hat-track, while their 6-1 victory over Mainz saw six different Bayern players on the scoresheet.
Bayern will have Champions League preparations to consider, but they will be keen to improve on last season’s performance that saw them stumbling their way to yet another league title.
Despite trailing behind Borussia Dortmund for much of their campaign, Niko Kovac’s team managed to scrape together the points when it mattered and sealed their dominance of German football once more.
While another Bundesliga title shouldn’t be sniffed at, the fact that Bayern Munich left it so late to claim the title clearly unsettled the loyal fanbase who spent much of the first half of the season calling for Kovac’s sacking.
In addition to this, the post-season saw many of Bayern Munich’s old guard leaving the club. Not only did we see the emotional farewells of legends like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, but Bayern had to suffer the sight of Mats Hummels leaving to rejoin his former club Borussia Dortmund.
Thankfully Bayern Munich have been busy with the chequebook over summer. The £72 million signing of Lucas Hernandez will add a lot of stability to the defence, and he will be joined by the star French centre back Benjamin Pavard.
But it’s the arrival of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona and Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan that could really add firepower to Bayern Munich this season.
RB Leipzig aiming to prove the critics wrong
It will take RB Leipzig many years to shake off the ownership controversies that saw them reach the Bundesliga. Not that such issues will be troubling Julian Nagelsmann’s team as RB Leipzig have managed to get the perfect start to their 2019 Bundesliga campaign.
They gave Bundesliga newcomers Union Berlin a sobering experience with a comfortable 0-4 away win thanks to goals from Marcel Halstenberg, Marcel Sabitzer, Christopher Nkunku and their star striker Timo Warner.
This came despite protests from Union Berlin fans who railed against Leipzig’s ownership by Red Bull and the fact that RB Leipzig are one of the few Bundesliga teams to not be at least 51% owned by the fans.
Timo Werner was on goalscoring form alongside Yussuf Poulsen to help RB Leipzig enjoy a 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. That day also saw Werner signing a new contract with Leipzig despite rumours that the 23-year could sign with Bayern Munich.
The end of August saw RB Leipzig continuing their perfect start with an impressive 1-3 away win at Borussia Monchengladbach. This saw Werner picking up a hat-trick and showed how well Julian Nagelsmann has settled into his new role as the club’s head coach.
German football legends like Lothar Matthaus have stated that RB Leipzig have what it takes to claim their first ever Bundesliga title.
But they will have to start by beating Bayern Munich on Saturday. RB Leipzig have only beaten Bayern Munich once in seven previous encounters when they won 2-1 at home in March last year.
Although the last two times these two teams met produced a drab goalless affair, there are hopes that Saturday’s match could reproduce the nine-goal thriller of May 2017 when RB Leipzig narrowly lost 4-5 to Bayern.
With Bayern Munich scoring eleven goals in their past three games, and Leipzig getting nine, it seems that the upcoming match could be another goalscoring extravaganza.
Borussia Dortmund hoping to shake off Union Berlin nightmare
You never know what you are going to get with Borussia Dortmund, and their performances this year have always been interesting. Lucien Favre’s team kicked off their campaign in fine style with a 5-1 home thrashing of Augsburg.
It was a dominant display from Dortmund, who came from behind and controlled the game with two goals from Paco Alcacer and further strikes from Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Julian Brandt.
Sancho has proven to be an indispensable part of the Dortmund team, and it is little surprise to find that the 19-year has been linked with big money moves to Real Madrid and Manchester United.
But Favre will get all he can out of the youngster who scored again to help Dortmund come back from behind to beat FC Koln 1-3.
Consistency plagued Dortmund’s efforts last season, and the issue came to the fore when they travelled to Union Berlin.
This saw Union Berlin shocking the visitors 3-1 with their first ever Bundesliga win. Although Dortmund dominated possession and Alcacer got his name on the scoresheet, Dortmund only managed to get two shots on target.
Borussia Dortmund repeatedly dropped points against smaller teams last season, and they should have claimed their first Bundesliga title since 2012.
Lucien Favre’s team have a counter-attacking style that could work well against big teams like Bayer Leverkusen, but they will need to be more ruthless against the smaller clubs.
This is especially so as Dortmund have looked very shaky on set-pieces recently. The fact that two of Union Berlin’s three goals came from corners shows how Dortmund must fix this problem if they wish to have any hope of claiming the Bundesliga title.
Thankfully, smart summer signings like Mats Hummels, Thorgan Hazard, Nico Shulz, Julian Brandt and Paco Alcacer seem to be settling in well into the Dortmund team. Plus with Jadon Sancho looking to be one of the best youngsters in Europe, this could yet be Borussia Dortmund’s season.
Bayer Leverkusen – Why Kai Havertz is Germany’s most promising player
With two wins and one draw from their first three games, Bayer Leverkusen are fourth place in the Bundesliga table. The team finished well to claim a Champions League spot last season, but hopes are high that they could do even better this time around.
Much of this can be put down to the fact that Bayer Leverkusen have Kai Havertz among their ranks. The youngster has already claimed 25 goals in just 91 Bundesliga appearances which is a pretty good record for somebody who has only turned 20 years old.
Havertz has shown exceptional form as a midfielder and a goalscorer, and he always seems to find spaces amongst the opposition’s defence. The Bayer star got on the scoresheet in their 3-2 opening game triumph against Paderborn, and he is now a pivotal force in Peter Bosz’s team.
Bayer followed this result up with a commendable 1-3 away win at Fortuna Dusseldorf which featured goals for Bayer stars like Charles Aranguiz and Karim Bellarabi. Following this, Bayer controlled the match against Hoffenheim but failed to strike the back of the net in the 0-0 draw.
However, goals shouldn’t be a problem in the Saturday’s match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.
The last five games between these two teams have produced no less than 25 goals, and the last time that Dortmund hosted Bayer the home time won 3-2 thanks to goals from Dan-Axel Zagadou, Jadon Sancho and Mario Gotze.
Bayer Leverkusen haven’t ever won the Bundesliga title, although they came a respectable second place in 2012. Much of their hopes will rest upon whether they can keep a quality player like Kai Havertz in their ranks.
The youngster has already been linked with big money clubs like Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Although Havertz has stated that he is happy to stay at Leverkusen for another year, it’s easy to imagine him making his name at one of Europe’s super-clubs.
Bayer have already put a whopping £91 million asking price on Havertz, and he will also be a key part of Germany’s national team in the future.