Borussia Dortmund head to Munich for Der Klassiker in second position in the German Bundesliga table – two places and a single point better off than Bayern – seeking to end a run of five consecutive defeats at the Allianz Arena, and succeed in doing what no other team has done this season: muzzle Robert Lewandowski.
The outrageously prolific Pole has netted 14 goals in 10 league appearances, scoring in a record 10 successive matches. But if anyone can halt Lewandowski in this Der Klassiker, it’s Mats Hummels, who has played with or against the Bayern man over the last seven seasons. Now back at Dortmund after a silverware-stacked three years at Bayern, the 70-time Germany international missed his club’s 2-0 DFL Supercup win in August that gives Lucien Favre’s men a psychological edge.
It’s Favre’s former club, the other Borussia – Mönchengladbach – who lead the Bundesliga table, three points clear after a sizzling start under Marco Rose. Their comfortable cushion came courtesy of a Rhine derby success at Bayer 04 Leverkusen last time out inspired by summer arrival Marcus Thuram, whose five
goals and four assists over the last six matchdays have made him the division’s most dangerous opponent.
SV Werder Bremen have the unenviable task of trying to shackle the France U21 international this weekend. Florian Kohfeldt’s side have equalled an unwanted club record by drawing their last five outings, most recently a 2-2 stalemate with SC Freiburg. Christian Streich’s fifth-placed team face a stiff test when they welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to the Black Forest in Sunday’s Matchday 11 finale.
Frankfurt head into the weekend in seventh place, but only two points off second.
If Adi Hütter’s men can bounce happily on the momentum built by their 5-1 thumping of Bayern last weekend – a defeat that cost Niko Kovac his job – they will be challenging third-placed RB Leipzig for a place on the podium.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were even bigger scorers on Matchday 10, dishing out an 8-0 schooling to FSV Mainz 05 to record their biggest ever Bundesliga
triumph. In-form Timo Werner netted a hat-trick and assited another three goals in a virtuoso display central to his club snapping a four-game losing streak. Leipzig’s hosts this week,
Hertha Berlin, have been warned!
With the league still so tight with nearly a third gone, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim could find themselves catapulted from ninth to second if they can win at FC Koln in Friday’s curtain-raiser. FC Schalke 04 will look to in-form Amine Harit – their late match winner against FC Augsburg last weekend – to inspire them to a win over Fortuna Dusseldorf that would lift them to within a point of Mönchengladbach
come Saturday evening.
VfL Wolfsburg dropped to eighth after their unbeaten start to the season was ended by a Thorgan Hazard-orchestrated Dortmund on Matchday 10 but will be
back in the hunt for a top-four place if they can pick up maximum points when Leverkusen visit the Volkswagen Arena on Sunday.
Rooted to the foot of the table, SC Paderborn 07 have what looks like an early relegation six-pointer against Augsburg, who are 16th, while 1. FC Union Berlin and Mainz – 14th and 15th respectively – will be equally desperate to pick up all
three points when they meet.