Thursday, 30 January 2014
Bundesliga Matchday 19 Preview: Can anyone come near Bayern Muenchen?
Matchday 19 kicks off in Braunschweig, when the taillight of the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund. Last season's Champions League finalist, trails Bayern by 17 points and with ten wins, three draws and five losses, Juergen Klopp's side has been burdened with injuries and is in dire need of a victory. Braunschweig has a lot of work to do to remove itself from the relegation zone in the next 16 matches. Despite the fact that the club plays well, it has been an uphill battle to record the three victories so far.
Second place Leverkusen hosts VFB Stuttgart on Saturday. If the Schwaben can come out with another performance like on Wednesday against Bayern, they have a very good chance to defeat Leverkusen at home. They certainly don't want to lose two matches in a row. Leverkusen with a four point lead over Dortmund will remain in second place either way, but would lose more ground over FC Bayern.
Schalke 04, with the return of Klaas van Huntelaar has some additional firepower and will certainly look for another victory at home against Wolfsburg. A win by the Royal Blues could move them as far up as second place, depending on the results of Gladbach's and Dortmund matches. A Wolfsburg win would move the factory team ahead of Schalke. This should be a match to watch.
Hoffenheim and Hamburg are separated by three points, with Hamburg in 16th place and Hoffenheim in 12th. This is how little separates the bottom half of the league from relegation. The Hanseaten are desperate for a win and Hoffenheim hopes to get back to its high scoring games and a continued climb up the Bundesliga ladder.
A fiesty Augsburg side hosts a beleaguered Werder Bremen. Augsburg has had some success this season and with 25 points are out of immediate danger of being relegated. They could become a formidable obstacle to Werder Bremen, another side only separated from a relegation spot by three points. The nod has to go to Augsburg for a win at home.
The remaining two matches on Saturday sees Mainz hosting SC Freiburg and Hannover hosts Gladbach. Gladbach, currently in fourth spot will make Hannover's life difficult. Hannover is currently in tenth spot. This match could easily end in a draw or a win for the hosts. All bets are off on the Mainz vs Freiburg match. Both sides have the ability of walking away with three points. Freiburg needs the win to move up he Bundesliga ladder and make some space between remaining in the top flight or ending up in a relegation spot. Mainz needs a home win to remain in touch with the top half of the league. This will be a another match worth watching.
On Sunday Eintracht Frankfurt will be guest in the Allianz Arena. The Eagles have finally broke the jinx and won a home match, but require another victory to maintain the momentum. An upset is possible for the Bayern side, but unlikely at home. The question is who will Pep have in the starting lineup?
Berlin hosts Nuernberg in the other match on Sunday. Both sides have the ability to win. Berlin, which moved up into the league after only a one year absence look like they are here to stay. Nuernberg finally recorded a victory, but remains in 17th spot. Despite Nuernberg's revival, Berlin should win this one at home.
What is guaranteed this weekend are plenty of goals, some surprises and some forgone conclusions, but in the end the fans will be thrilled again, as one of the best leagues in Europe takes to the pitch.
Friday January 31
Eintr. Braunschweig vs Borussia Dortmund 1-2
Saturday February 1
1899 Hoffenheim vs Hamburger SV
Bayer Leverkusen vs VfB Stuttgart
Schalke 04 vs VfL Wolfsburg
FC Augsburg vs Werder Bremen
FSV Mainz 05 vs SC Freiburg
Hannover 96 vs Bor. Mönchengladbach
Sunday February 2
Hertha BSC vs 1. FC Nürnberg
Bayern München vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Posn Team GP W D L GF/GA Points
1 FC Bayern 18 16 2 0 42:9 50
2 Leverkusen 18 12 1 5 34:19 37
3 Dortmund 19 11 3 5 42:23 36
4 M'gladbach 18 10 3 5 35:21 33
5 Schalke 18 9 4 5 35:26 31
6 Wolfsburg 18 9 3 6 29:22 30
7 Hertha BSC 18 8 4 6 27:21 28
8 Mainz 18 8 3 7 27:33 27
9 Augsburg 18 7 4 7 23:27 25
10 Hannover 18 6 3 9 26:32 21
11 Bremen 18 5 5 8 22:37 20
12 Stuttgart 18 5 4 9 30:33 19
13 Hoffenheim 18 4 6 8 36:42 19
14 Frankfurt 18 3 6 8 21:29 18
15 Freiburg 18 4 6 9 19:33 18
16 Hamburg 18 4 4 10 33:41 16
17 Nürnberg 18 1 11 6 21:33 14
18 B'schweig 19 3 3 13 11:34 12