Berlin (dpa) – After another week of the European Cup, the Bundesliga club has no time to breathe.
FC Bayern Munich must defend its narrow lead over the brutal 1. FC Union Berlin on the eleventh matchday, with Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig lurking. The clubs in places 14 to 17 compete against each other in two direct duels.
DANGER OF TRUMPING? Bayern coach Hansi Flick expects a “100 percent fit” Robert Lewandowski back into the team. After the Champions League star striker was spared 2-0 against Lokomotiv Moscow, he should return in the battle for the Bundesliga top. “We look forward to the three games. We can end a great year for us as FC Bayern,” Flick said before the three stages against Union Berlin, Wolfsburg and Leverkusen.
IRON WITHOUT KRUSE: It’s game one without top scorer Max Kruse – and that against the seemingly overwhelming Bayern. “We have to do everything right,” said Union head coach Urs Fischer in view of the really clearly assigned roles in the Bundesliga’s upcoming Saturday night game. Fischer knows: “Even when Bayern isn’t having their best day, they really win their games.” But despite the injured Kruse and further failures, the Swiss already sees a small opportunity: “It will be a difficult task. But if you are not convinced that you can solve it, you better let it go.”
THE BAVARIAN PURSUERS: RB Leipzig can jump to first place on Saturday (3.30 pm / Sky) with a home win against Werder Bremen at least until the evening and refine strong performances in the Champions League and in Munich. Bayer Leverkusen – runner-up for the matchday – does not expect Hoffenheim to join the Europa League participants until Sunday evening (6 p.m. / Sky). Borussia Dortmund needs a home win on Saturday (3.30 p.m. / Sky) against the strongly promoted VfB Stuttgart to maintain contact with the top.
TORJÄGER-DUEL: Dutchman Wout Weghorst and André Silva from Portugal have each scored seven goals this Bundesliga season. Next Friday (8.30 p.m. / DAZN), the start of the 11th Bundesliga match day is now the direct game between their clubs Wolfsburg and Frankfurt on the program. “The fact is that he has a great track record when you see his playing time and goals,” Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter said of his protégé Silva, who is questionable due to a muscle injury. The Austrian also praised Weghorst: “He is one of the most dangerous forwards in the league. That’s why it’s a great challenge for us.”
KELLER DUELLE: SC Freiburg (14th) could at least keep the newly promoted team at a distance with a home win against Arminia Bielefeld (16th). “Since we were promoted again in 2016, we are in such difficult stages as now. There is a risk of relegation, also because the clubs around us are not the typical relegation teams”, sports director Jochen Saier said in “Kicker”. Mainz 05 (17th) would overtake 1. FC Köln (15th) with a home win, but after the coup in Dortmund they also recently scored against Wolfsburg.
EX-SCHALKER: Daniel Caligiuri played for Schalke for three and a half years before moving to Augsburg in the summer. He also had the final high of the Royal Blues with the 2017-18 runner-up championship. Schalke’s demise “hurts”, admitted the enthusiastic all-rounder. Someone like him would certainly do well to his previous team in the current situation. After four games without a win, Caligiuri himself wants to hit the curve with the FCA against the bottom of the table 26 times in a row without winning.