Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern Munich must cope with a trip to one of their oldest rivals and current bogey team on Matchday 21.
Bayern against Borussia Mönchengladbach is a classic rivalry in German football, playedout between two clubs that shared the league title over nine successive seasons between
1968 and 1977.
While Gladbach have not won the Bundesliga since then, they do have a remarkable recent record against the defending champions. They are unbeaten in four games in all competitions against Bayern – drawing 1-1 in Munich earlier this season – and since the 2011-12 campaign have won nine of their 23 matches against Saturday’s visitors.
At home the Foals have not lost in four matches against Bayern, recording three victories during that time, including a stunning 5-0 success in the DFB Cup when Julian Nagelsmann’s team last visited in October 2021.
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US defender Joe Scally and recent World Cup finalist Marcus Thuram will be all the more motivated on Saturday afternoon after a 4-1 defeat at Hertha Berlin which has left them 10th in the table. Over the winter break, however, Bayern signed Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer – the man who made a league-record 19 saves for Gladbach the last time the sides met.
Bayern’s nearest challengers are not in action until Sunday. Second-placed 1. FC Union Berlin are only one point off the pace and are currently on a club-record run of five consecutive Bundesliga wins. They took their winning streak in all competitions in 2023 to six games by beating RB Leipzig in their last outing, and they have yet to lose at home this
A daunting task awaits FC Schalke 04, then, although the league’s bottom club have improved of late with three successive scoreless draws.
Schalke’s local rivals Borussia Dortmund are going well in third, and – like Union – Jude Bellingham and his teammates will target a sixth Bundesliga success in a row. Buoyed by last week’s morale-boosting and much-needed home win over Gladbach, though, thirdbottom Hertha will hope to pick up another positive result in Dortmund.
FC Augsburg and TSG Hoffenheim are not too far ahead of Hertha in the standings, so the pressure will be on both sides when they get Matchday 21 underway on Friday night.
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Currently seventh and fifth meanwhile, VfL Wolfsburg and Leipzig will seek to get back on track when they meet on Saturday afternoon. Held at Schalke last time out, the Wolves have only one point from their last three league matches.
Hovering just above the relegation places, VfL Bochum 1848 need to make home
advantage pay this weekend, although that will be easier said than done against SC Freiburg. Led by 11 goals from Italy attacking midfielder Vincenzo Grifo, Saturday’s visitors are fourth in the Bundesliga standings and only six points behind Bayern.
Elsewhere VfB Stuttgart face a mid table 1. FC Cologne side that have yet to lose in 2023, while sixth meets ninth when Eintracht Frankfurt host SV Werder Bremen. That sees the division’s top provider Randal Kolo Muani take on the Bundesliga’s leading scorer Niclas
Füllkrug on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, meanwhile, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer 04 Leverkusen plan to stay in the top half of the table by beating 1. FSV Mainz 05.
This weekend will also mark Bundesliga Matchday 21 of 34 in this season’s Bundesliga 2. Second-tier pacesetters SV Darmstadt 98 will be out to at the very least preserve their four-point advantage over Hamburger SV when they travel to face midtable FC Hansa Rostock on Saturday evening.
Hamburg – who currently occupy the second of two automatic promotion spots – are at home to relegation-threatened DSC Arminia Bielefeld in a Sunday lunchtime kick-off.
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