Bayern Munich’s toe to toe, tit for tat, blow for blow contest for the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund enters round 31 with zero room for error from the perennial rivals. The Allianz Arena based ten time defending champions have been uncharacteristically wayward since the World Cup break, swapping leadership with Edin Terzic’s Black and Yellows on an almost weekly basis.
A change in management that saw Julian Nagelsmann replaced by Thomas Tuchel has not prompted the anticipated upturn in fortunes, with the Bavarian juggernauts knocked out of the DFB Pokal (German Cup) and Champions League by Freiburg and Manchester City in a dismal spell that yielded only two victories in seven outings.
To Tuchel’s enormous relief, Borussia Dortmund, who have been runners up to Bayern Munich in six out of the last ten seasons, are routinely choking. A 3-3 draw with struggling Stuttgart and last weekend’s one-all draw at Bochum has handed back the initiative to the Bavarians, who travel to Werder Bremen on Saturday with a one point lead to protect. Dortmund host Nico Kovac’s unpredictable Wolfsburg 24 hours later.
The division’s form team, Bayer Leverkusen, open weekend proceedings on Friday night at home to Koln aiming to extend a 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions that has won manager Xabi Alonso the plaudits. A three time Bundesliga champion as a player under Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard has been linked with the vacant Tottenham Hotspur manager’s job after guiding the side to the Europe League semifinal.
Friday night’s late kick off pits relegation threatened Schalke against a Mainz outfit that has lost just once in their last eleven Bundesliga outings. On Saturday afternoon, Christian Steich’s high flying Freiburg, who currently lie fourth will be itching to get even when they welcome Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig, the visitors having wiped the floor 5-1 with their hosts in Tuesday’s German Cup semifinal showdown. A repeat performance will witness Leipzig dislodge Freiburg from the coveted Champions League slots.
Bayer Leverkusen v Koln,
Mainz v Schalke
Gladbach v Bochum,
Augsburg v Union Berlin,
Hertha Berlin v Stuttgart,
Freiburg v RB Leipzig,
Hoffenheim v Frankfurt
Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg