Is the elusive first win any closer for Schalke?
As each matchday passes the depressing club record winless streak gets longer and longer at Schalke and attempts at optimism become harder to make believable. Promoted side VfB Stuttgart arrive at the Veltins Arena on Friday with Manuel Baum desperately trying to end the club’s miserable 21-game winless run.
On paper the Swabians are favourable opponents for the Königsblauen having won seven and drawn one of their last eight Bundesliga meetings. The stats this season however don’t lie, and the visitors probably go into the match as favourites.
Schalke rank bottom of the entire league in goals scored, chances created, distance covered per game, have conceded the most goals and have allowed the most chances thus far this season. They have just a single point and confidence is on the floor despite the best efforts of new coach Baum and co-trainer Naldo to lift the spirits.
Stuttgart have enjoyed a fine start to life in the Bundesliga and could very well add to the mood of gloom in Gelsenkirchen this weekend.
Will the crisis at Mainz deepen?
If things are bad at Schalke right now, the only consolation is that things are possibly just as bad, if not worse over at Mainz. The Nullfünfer remain the only club yet to gain a single point this season after five consecutive losses and they face a tricky trip to a vibrant Augsburg this weekend as they look to stop the rot.
They looked to have turned things around last weekend at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach when two goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta put them into a 2-1 lead against the Fohlen, but a Jonas Hofmann penalty and a late Matthias Ginter winner condemned them to yet another defeat.
“We have to keep at it. Defensively as well as offensively. In the last three games we have conceded set-piece goals and Augsburg is a team with large players and normally good set-pieces” trainer Jan Moritz Lichte said this week. “We will do this even more during the week to ensure we are sharp when it comes to these situations.”
Can Leipzig hold onto top spot after their European shock?
With four wins and draw RB Leipzig’s start to the Bundesliga season was near perfect and an opening Champions League win against Basaksehir saw the mood at the Red Bull Arena rising. Julian Nagelsmann’s side were top of the table with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund trying to keep pace with the impressive Roten Bullen.
Wednesday night’s 5-0 hammering at Old Trafford to Manchester United will have seriously dampened the mood and Leipzig will have to respond in the right fashion if they are still to sit at the top of the league come the end of this weekend.
They face a demanding trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach, who themselves very nearly caused a Champions League upset against Real Madrid in midweek. With Bayern away at Köln and Dortmund at Bielefeld, you’d think that three points would be needed from RB if they are not to cede the Bundesliga top spot.
Can Bruno Labbadia stop the rot at Hertha?
The Autumn blues are certainly well and truly in effect at Hertha Berlin having lost their last four matches and Bruno Labbadia will be desperate for the rot to stop before anyone mutters the word ‘crisis’ in his direction.
He faces former club VfL Wolfsburg this weekend, who he led into the Europa League before surprisingly leaving in the summer of 2019. Hertha showed some good moments last week against Leipzig but were let down by moments of madness from Deyovaisio Zeefuik (red card) and Jhon Cordoba (penalty) to emerge from the Red Bull Arena empty handed.
Mixing it at the bottom of the table with the likes of Mainz and Schalke was not the start not the season that was hoped for, so three points at home to Wolfsburg would be the ideal tonic.
Are Köln likes lambs goats to the slaughter?
Schalke were hit with an eight-goal hammering on the opening week of the season, Frankfurt were hit for five last weekend, while Bielefeld, Hertha and Atletico Madrid all conceded four. Robert Lewandowski is in red-hot form, so are Köln going to have any resistance to the Bayern machine when it rolls into the Domstadt this weekend?
To many, it is just a case of many goals the Bavarians put past Timo Horn this weekend. Bayern hit four goals in each of their two encounters last season and the omens aren’t good for the Geißböcke as they are currently on a 15 match winless streak in the Bundesliga (only Schalke are worse) and they have not won any of the last twelve league outings against Bayern and have picked up just one point.
“Now we have the greatest task in world football ahead of us” Köln coach Markus Gisdol admitted this week. “It is important for us that we concentrate on ourselves first and then pay attention to what Bayern Munich is doing. We’ve looked at the different approaches other teams have tried, but nevertheless Bayern has managed to maintain their average of four and a half goals per game. Bayern are a really good team with really good individual players. It is important to find our way. Anything is always possible in football.”