Borussia Monchengladbach’s meeting with Borussia Dortmund is the pick of the fixtures on Bundesliga Matchday 25.
In the green-and-white corner, a 1970s giant of the German game and the dark horses for the 2019/20 Bundesliga title, Gladbach.
In the black-and-yellow corner,
the last team to dethrone record champions FC Bayern Munich, Dortmund.
Two points separate the two teams in fourth and third respectively – a win for either would do their table-topping ambitions a power of good.
Gladbach led the way until Matchday 15, but haven’t given up hope of landing a first top-flight crown since 1976/77. The Foals are unbeaten in five, with captain Lars Stindl back to his best with four goals in his last three. Nine-goal phenomenon Erling Haaland has been key to Dortmund’s own eye-catching run in 2020, though it was Jadon Sancho who took centre stage in the 1-0 win over SC Freiburg, taking his tally to 11 goals in his previous 13 matches and a career-best 14 for the campaign.
Meanwhile the Red Bulls continue to breathe down FC Bayern’s neck, just three points behind in second place. Julian Nagelsmann’s swashbuckling contenders were held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer 04 Leverkusen last time out, but can move level on points with the defending champions if they can beat VfL Wolfsburg. Chief marksman Timo Werner scored in the previous fixture which ended 1-1, a week after a draw by the same scoreline against Leverkusen. Omens.
FC Bayern take to the field at their Allianz Arena a day later, fresh off a 6-0 rout of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Top scorer Robert Lewandowski missed out through injury, but it made little difference as Philippe Coutinho scored twice and teenager Joshua Zirkzee got in on the act with his third Bundesliga goal on his full senior debut. FC
Bayern are now unbeaten in 13 competitive fixtures; upcoming opponents FC Augsburg have won only one of their last eight.
As one of only four teams to beat FC Bayern this season, Leverkusen will be confident of extending their fine run of form when they host Eintracht Frankfurt.
Fifth in the table and only two points outside the top four, Peter Bosz’s side have taken 19 points from a possible 21 so far this calendar year, with Kai Havertz duly pulling the strings, registering three goals and as many assists in that time.
At the other end of the form spectrum, FC Schalke 04’s top-four challenge has hit the skids in recent weeks. The Royal Blues were soundly beaten 3-0 by 1. FC Köln on Matchday 24 and have now gone six matches without a win. A third successive defeat would see visiting Hoffenheim leapfrog David Wagner’s side in the standings, ahead of next week’s Revierderby with Dortmund.
SC Freiburg host a Union Berlin team creeping ever closer to securing mathematical safety two thirds of the way into their maiden Bundesliga season. Die Eisernen are nine points clear of the drop zone with 10 rounds of fixtures remaining. 1. FC Köln are only a point behind the Bundesliga greenhorns in the relative comforts of mid-table, thanks in no small part to Jhon Cordoba, who put away his 10th goal of the season against Schalke.
It’s an ominous task for rock-bottom SC Paderborn 07. They’re already five points behind the relegation play-off spot and nine adrift of the safe house going into Friday’s clash with the Cathedral City club. Needless to say they’ll be hoping for a big favour from free-falling Hertha Berlin, who travel to second-bottom SV Werder
Bremen. The Old Lady fought back from 2-0 down to draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf last Friday, but are winless in five. Sixteenth meets fifteenth as Fortuna face 1. FSV Mainz 05 away in the weekend’s other relegation six-pointer. The time for heroes is now.
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