Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach were pushed all the way in their respective DFB Pokal matches midweek as both required penalties to determine their places in the next round of the competition. Unfortunately for Gladbach, they were knocked out by lower league opposition. Both clubs are back in Bundesliga action this week and feature in our featured games for this weekend.
Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt: As always Munich are heavy favourites to add to their impressive 67 point haul from 27 games with a straight forward home victory against Frankfurt who’ve been one of the standout teams in the Bundesliga. Going forward Frankfurt are the 3rd top goal scorers in the league with 54 goals but unfortunately defensively they’re less formidable, considering the most in the league (51) despite sitting in 8th place. That includes some poor performances away from home with high scoring defeats to VFB Stuttgart, Koln, Mainz and Freiburg in recent away fixtures.
Bayern have kept consecutive clean sheets in their last 5 matches against Frankfurt, winning all 5 fixtures to go with it. Pep Guardiola has his fair share of injury problems with the likes of David Alaba, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Javi Martinez all ruled out. Guardiola has been dealt some positive news with the return of Thiago recently and he scored the winning penalty in their 5-3 shootout win against Bayer Leverkusen midweek. For Frankfurt their only major absentee is Marco Russ otherwise manager, Thomas Schaaf has a full side to choose from. In Alexander Meier Frankfurt have a forward who out scores any of Munich’s players and the 32 year old is enjoying a fine season with 19 Bundesliga goals.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund: The home side have enjoyed a fine season to date and they would’ve been on cloud 9 after defeating Munich on their own turf at the end of March but a shock loss midweek to 2nd division side, Arminia Bielefeld could give them a severe wake up call. Their defeat on penalties won’t have done their confidence any wonders but they can take pride on their 7 game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga which has them as high as 3rd. It looks like it will be a battle between them and Bayer Leverkusen for 3rd with the clubs either side of them a considerable margin away. Much has been documented about Jurgen Klopp’s difficulties this season and no one would’ve expected the dramatic slide in results this season.
Dortmund will still feel their capable enough of achieving 5th place which is only 7 points away but with 7 games left they have a huge task on their hands and Champions League football definitely looks to be out of their grasp this season. Klopp has kept faith with the 4-2-3-1 formation and will be looking for the likes of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa to provide the creativity to unlock a Gladbach defence that has kept 4 consecutive home clean sheets in the league. Martin Stranzl is out injured for Gladbach in the heart of defence and will likely be replaced by Roel Brouwers whilst German international, Christoph Kramer is suspended.
Hamburg v Wolfsburg: Hamburg’s season doesn’t look to be getting any better this weekend, facing a Wolfsburg side that thoroughly enjoy playing Hamburg. Wolfsburg are unbeaten in their last 9 against Hamburg and are undefeated in 14 of their last 15 Bundesliga fixtures. Hamburg’s troubles are going forward and they’ve found the net a measly 16 times in the league with Rafael Van der vaart their leading scorer on 4 goals. That’s also the same number for Nicolai Muller and the amount of assists he has for Hamburg this season and compare that with Kevin De Bruyne who has a staggering 17 assists to his name this year.
The odds are hugely stacked against Hamburg but games are running out for them and they’re in a serious relegation battle this year. Their chances aren’t helped with a number of injuries, most notably to Nicolai Muller, Cleber and Marcel Jansen. Maximilian Arnold and Aaron Hunt are Wolfsburg’s injury concerns but their strength in depth is likely going to see them overcome Hamburg on Saturday.