Thursday, 6 February 2014

Bundesliga Matchday 20 Preview: Bayern keeps coasting along

As the Bundesliga moves towards its homestretch in May, one can expect the upcoming weekend to be full of goals, excitement.  The battle for gaining points becomes especially important for those clubs in contention for a European spot and those facing relegation. 

The Friday evening matchday opener features Borussia Monenchgladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.  Leverkusen holds on to second spot, with a four point lead over Borussia Dortmund, while Bayern with its 13 point lead is expected to keep coasting toward the league championship.

Gladbach with back to back losses against Bayern and Hannover, has slipped to the fifth spot.  The Foalen face Bayer Leverkusen, which continues to surprise this season.  While Gladbach will attempt to move up on the table, Leverkusen will want to solidify its second place spot.  The encounter in Gladbach could be challenging.  A Gladbach win would hand Leverkusen its third straight away defeat.  Definitely there is a lot to think about for both teams.  Be prepared for a thriller.

Frankfurt hosts Braunschweig on Saturday.  After the five goal trouncing against Bayern, Frankfurt wil have the motivation to resurface.  While they meet the basement of the league Braunschweig, the side is not to be taken for granted.  Braunschweig has spirit and can be a major heartache for its opponennts.  A lot of the losses have been close decisions.  Frankfurt has to put the Bayern game in its past and concentrate on Braunschweig. Eintracht is only one spot away from moving into relegation. The motivation is there for both sides.

Dortmund, which moved back into third spot last weekend, will be meeting a recently declining side Bremen.  Odds would tell you that Dortmund should win this, with most of its regular defence back on the pitch.  Playing in northern Germany is always a challenge this time of the year. Dortmund will want to reinforce last week's win to at least keep pace  with Leverkusen, hopeful to take up second spot later in the season. Bremen needs a win to stop its downward spiral.  Dortmund may be intimidating, but the side has to think positive.

1. FC Nuernberg hosts Bayern Muenchen in the local Bayern Darby.  A win by the record champions is not always a given when local rivals meet.  Nuernberg has recently made a comeback and seems to firing on all cylinders since the return from the winter break.  Bayern's side will have to keep its wits about them and not take Nuernberg as an easy challenge.  It certainly is not.

The remaining three matches on Saturday see Freiburg meeting Hoffenheim, which is a hard match to call, Wolfsburg hosts Mainz and Hamburger SV hosts Hertha BSC Berlin.

On Sunday VFB Stuttgart hosts FC Augsburg, a match that should be exciting for the fans.  Augsburg are practically neighbours and the match should be a challenge for both sided.

The last match on Sunday sees Schalke hosting Hannover. Shalke moved back into fourth spot last weekend, after a decent return from the winter break.  Hannover will certainly have its hands full. 

Friday 7 February Bor. Mönchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen  0-1

Saturday 8 February
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Eintr. Braunschweig        
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Dortmund        
1. FC Nürnberg vs Bayern München        
SC Freiburg vs 1899 Hoffenheim        
VfL Wolfsburg vs FSV Mainz 05        
Hamburger SV vs Hertha BSC    

Sunday 9 February
VfB Stuttgart vs FC Augsburg        
Schalke 04 vs Hannover 96   

Posn  Team             GP   W   D   L    GF/GA   Points
1      FC Bayern        19    17   2    0       47:9         53
2      Leverkusen       20   14   1    5       37:20       43
3      Dortmund         19    11   3    5       42:23       36
4      Schalke             19    10   4    5       37:27       34 
5      M'gladbach       20    10   3    7       36:25       33
6      Wolfsburg         19      9   3    7       30:24       30
7      Mainz                19     9   3    7       29:33        30 
8      Hertha BSC       19     8  4     7       28:24        28
9      Augsburg           19     8   4    7      26:28        28
10    Hannover           19     7    3    9     29:33        24
11     Hoffenheim       19     5    6   8     39:42        22
12    Bremen              19     5     5   9     23:40        20
13    Stuttgart             19    5    4    10    31:35        19
14    Freiburg             19     4     6   10   19:35        18
15    Frankfurt            19     3     6    9    21:34        18
17    Nürnberg            19     2    11   6    24:34        17
16    Hamburg            19      4    4  11    33:44        16 
18    B'schweig           19    3     3  13    11:34         12

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