After two months away, this weekend marks the return of the Bundesliga, which I believe is the best league in the world without a shadow of a doubt. It’s now time to say goodbye to my beloved Belarusian Premier League which has keep me going through one of the toughest and strangest times of our life.
Where we left off
We will start from where we left off. Matchday 25 saw RB Leipzig drop points away at Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich took advantage with a 2-0 win against Augsburg, moving four points clear at the top.
This has definitely been one of the most competitive seasons in the Bundesliga for a couple of years now and Bayern Munich’s supremacy is under threat as four or five teams all have a chance of winning the title.
At the bottom of the table, things are looking bleak for Werder Bremen who are eight points from safety. This comes as a huge surprise and their 39 year stay in the topflight of German football could be coming to a sudden end. They are currently the joint lowest scorers as well as being the side who have conceded the most goals so far this season.
If there is one man who could pull Die Grün-Weiben out of trouble it has to be the talented Milot Rashica. The 23-year old is a sensational talent and wasn’t all that far off Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe for goals-per-minute in 2019. If Bremen were to be relegated this season, it would a shock if the Kosovan didn’t move on with interest from all over the world, including four Premier League clubs.
Is the end near for Werner and Sancho?
There is no doubt that both Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner have had outstanding seasons, but one of the main questions being asked at the moment is where they will be playing their football next season.
Sancho has linked interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Manchester United, Chelsea and other sides abroad. There was a rumoured fee of well over 100 million pounds being the price tag, and it will be certainly be interesting to see if any club can afford to pay the price tag after this current global pandemic blows over. His stats have been outstanding though to be fair, with the Englishman scoring 14 goals and proving 15 assists in 23 games. He averages a goal or an assist every 62 minutes.
Timo Werner, another player who’s had an excellent season has really excelled under one of the best managers in the world in Julian Nagelsman. His all-round games been impressive, not just his 21 goals in 25 games which has already matched his record goal tally. The 24-year-old has expressed on numerous occasions about his desire to join Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. I personally think that Werner would fit perfectly into the current European Champions side, but the question is are they going to part with any cash this summer as there have been rumours of a quiet transfer window at Anfield.
5 players to watch out for
Still just 21, McKennie is already an established USA international, with 19 caps to his name. The Schalke midfielder is often compared to Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal, thanks to his physical presence and all-round game. He has played both on the right side of midfield and at centre-back this season, but has pinned down the spot next to Suat Serdar in central midfield. The former is the Blue sides top goal scorer this season and the combination of the two will be key if the visitors are to get anything from Signal Iduna Park this weekend.
After a fairly underwhelming first half of the season by Bayern Munich’s high standards, they really clicked into top gear in 2020, dropping only two points in eight matches. 19-year old Alphonso Davies has been one of their surprise packages this season, emerging as a star performer for the club at left-back despite being a winger. He has played 21 games (17 starts for the reigning champions) and has provided four assists in the league this season, with two coming in his final six appearances before the break.
Kai Havertz exploded into form at the turn of the year to make up for a seriously poor first half of the campaign. The 20-year-old is now back on the radars of Europe’s elite clubs and Bayer Leverkusen should brace themselves for offers in the summer, particularly if the Germany international can pick up where he left off when the season resumes this weekend. Across Leverkusen’s last six league matches, Havertz has two goals and three assists. He registered an assist in three straight league matches up until the league was stopped.
Christopher Nkunku was in and out of the first-team picture at RB Leipzig at the beginning of the campaign but was a regular by the time football was suspended. The former Paris Saint-Germain starlet has remarkably racked up 15 assists for the Bundesliga season and five of those fell in his last six outings. Nkunku picked up four assists in a single game in that period, the only player to manage the feat in one of Europe’s top five leagues this season. As well as scoring in that run, Nkunku also averaged 4.7 key passes per game and 2.3 successful dribbles per game. The 22-year-old headed into the break as the most in form player in the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich have already got arguably the best striker in the world in Robert Lewandowki- with young prospects such as Jann-Fiete Arp for back-up.
But with Lewandowski set to quit this summer and the club four points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga standings, Zirkzee is a name you may see more of before the end of the season.
The 18-year-old Dutchman has scored three times in just five Bundesliga games this season – while also featuring twice in the German Cup and once in the Champions League, against Tottenham.
Zirkzee has worked his way through Bayern’s youth ranks since joining from Feyenoord in 2016 and has already featured 26 times for their B team.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke
It would be rude not to start with The Revierderby, which is undoubtedly the best game on show this weekend. However, it will unfortunately not have the electric atmosphere with the “Yellow Wall” not being present but it will still a feisty fixture, nonetheless.
Starting with the hosts, although a 2-0 defeat away at PSG back in March may have brought an end to Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League exploits, Lucien Farve’s men still sit firmly in the Bundesliga title picture. Opening the German return sat four points adrift of Bayern Munich and top spot.
It’s fair to say that Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho might be stealing most of the headlines but Farve will undoubtedly be most impressed by his side’s most recent performances at the other end of the pitch. Including what was a stunning 4-0 win away at Europa League outfit Eintracht Frankfurt back in February, Dortmund have now conceded just a single Bundesliga goal in almost 400 minutes of action, their best defensive tally since opening 2020. Boasting one of the most exciting young squads across Europe, Dortmund should be looking to make a statement on their return this weekend.
Schalke are a side desperately hoping to end what was a woeful run of form back in March. Despite entering the break with a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim, the Blues have failed to win any of their last 10 matchups within 90 minutes and have not record a Bundesliga victory since the 17th of January.
They are now in a real battle to try and secure another European finish this year, and Head Coach David Wagner has also seen his side continue to struggle while away from the VELTINS-Arena. Including a 3-0 hammering away at Koln in their last away fixture, the Blues have failed to win any of their last six Bundesliga matches on their travels, their worst run since May 2015. Ahead of their cross-town trip this weekend, there is no doubt that the former Huddersfield boss will be calling for his side to make some rather drastic improvements in the final third. Managing to record just a single goal in their last five matchups across all competitions, Schalke have also failed to find the net in their last four Bundesliga matchups on the road.
Team News & probable line-ups
Borussia Dortmund -1 Asian Handicap (9/10 BetVictor)
Borussia Dortmund to win to nil (15/8 SkyBet)
Erling Haaland to score anytime (5/6 Ladbrokes)
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
Can anyone stop Bayern Munich from rolling to a record-setting eighth consecutive Bundesliga title this season? Hans-Dieter Flick’s side were flying when the season was put on hold – a 2-0 success against Augsburg had made it six wins on the bounce for them in all competitions and had taken their unbeaten run in competitive fixtures to 15 games. Flick had been placed in interim charge of the club following Niko Kovac’s sacking, but the club have seen it fit to reward him for his work with a full-time deal. He’s guided Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga table, losing just twice in his 21 matches in charge of the club. Having initially impressed while in temporary charge, back in December the club confirmed that Flick would remain at the helm until the end of the season, but they’ve now gone one further.
They can’t afford any slip ups following their slow start but in saying that were looking unstoppable on the domestic front before COVID-19 struck, so when the 2019/20 campaign resumes this weekend will it be a case of ‘business as usual’ for the league leaders, who are five points clear at the summit? This weekend they take a trip to Berlin to take on a Union side who have had a fantastic first season in the Bundesliga and have been a thorn to some of the top sides in the division. It will be surreal for the home side though who are used to the packed-out Stadion An der Alten Forsterei cheering them on as this is where their inspiration tends to come from.
Team news & probably line ups
Bayern Munich to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 (9/5 PP)
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Straight after the Revierderby I will be tuning into the evening kick off which should be an entertaining goal flowing fixture. Frankfurt are a hard side to beat at the Commerzbank Arena but that advantage could be nullified with no supporters in the stadium
Eintracht Frankfurt had been battling on three fronts prior to the break, reaching the German Cup semifinals and the UEFA Europa League Round of 16. Adi Hütter’s side beat Werder Bremen 2-0 at home in the DFB-Pokal before a 4-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s last match was a 3-0 home defeat to Basel in the Europa League.
The visitors are “ The Foals” Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Mönchengladbach haven’t won the title since their 1970s but they head into the restart with a reasonable chance of title success as they are just six points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Between 1970 and 1978, the Foals won the championship an incredible five times, as well as finishing runners-up twice, to underline their status as Germany’s dominant force.
There has been little for the fans to cheer since then, with the club even dropping down into the second tier in 2007 but responded well by bouncing straight back up. New boss Marco Rose had them flying high this season before the campaign was halted due to the coronavirus.
Rose was a serial winner during his time at Red Bull Salzburg, winning back-to-back titles in Austria before his jump to the Bundesliga, and that has rubbed off on his squad.
The Foals have one stand out injury concern and that is the impact that Denis Zakaria’s injury could have on Monchengladbach. Zakaria makes a contribution to Monchengladbach both in attack and defence, and his all-round abilities haven’t gone unnoticed, being linked with a move away to clubs such as Arsenal. His absence will be huge missed and certainly improves the home sides chances of securing three points.
Team news and probable line ups
Over 2.5 Goals- (8/11 Bet 365)