1. Do Freiburg start as favourites against Borussia Dortmund on Friday?
The fact that SC Freiburg finished just three points from a Champions league berth last season, and that they beat BVB on matchday 2 last season at home, goes some way to support the belief that they go into Friday’s matchday 2 opener as the favourites.
Christian Streich’s side began the season well with a 4-0 win over Augsburg and they won’t fear the arrival of Edin Terzic’s side, who themselves earned a 1-0 opening weekend win over Bayer Leverkusen. It will be an early return to Breisgau for central defender Nico Schlotterbeck, who BVB signed for €20 million and with Karim Adeyemi not travelling because of injury, we could see an instant debut for new signing Anthony Modeste.
Freiburg don’t have the finest memories of the ex-Köln striker, who has scored seven goals against them in his ten games in the Bundesliga.
2. Will we see the Bundesliga return of Timo Werner?
It is it not just the debut of Anthony Modeste that is eagerly awaited this weekend. Timo Werner could go straight into the RB Leipzig side to face 1FC Köln on Saturday at the Red Bull Arena.
His midweek transfer from Chelsea came as a slight surprise, but he will be keen to hit the ground running, which could be bad news for the Geißbock defenders. Speaking ahead of the weekend clash, coach Domenico Tedesco explained his early impressions of his new striker. “My first impressions are very good and positive. We were able to chat about one or two things, of course including football.
“I’m really pleased that he’s with us. He’s a great person and a brilliant footballer who will help us a lot. He is an option for Saturday’s game. I’m pleased that we’ve got guys like Timo in our squad.
Timo doesn’t need to feel any kind of pressure. We know about the kind of media talk that surrounds someone like Timo when he’s returning to the club. He’s been in Leipzig before and did well then but we’re not asking much more of him. He’s not here to carry us. He needs to have fun in what he’s doing and demonstrate his qualities. The rest will come bit by bit.”
3. Will Julian Nagelsmann tinker or stick with Bayern?
Last Friday’s 6-1 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt saw Bayern begin the season in ominously good fashion with a display that showed that Robert Lewandowski’s departure can be softened by the quality of the attacking players still at the club.
The first home game of the season against Wolfsburg could see trainer Julian Nagelsmann send out the same line-up for a third consecutive game following two impressive winning displays. That will mean new €67 million signing Matthijs de Ligt will need to settle for a place on the bench, as will fellow arrivals Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch. Leroy Sané too will have to start on the subs bench.
4. After Bayern and Real Madrid, can Frankfurt get their season going?
Facing Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and then Champions League winners Real Madrid in your first two fixtures of the new season was never going to be an easy task for Eintracht Frankfurt. Last Friday’s capitulation against Bayern was poor, but they went some way to make up for that with a spirited display in their European Super Cup defeat to the Spanish champions in midweek.
To even be facing Madrid in Helsinki shows just how far the club have progressed and a positive result on Saturday against Hertha will go some way to getting their season up and running. The Old Lady themselves however are under pressure to get a result after losing the derby with Union last weekend.
The Olympiastadion has been a happy hunting ground on the whole for Eintracht in recent years. In addition to winning the DFB Cup there four years ago, they have won each of their last three league visits to Hertha.
5. Can the promoted sides get their first wins of the season?
After a draw for Werder Bremen against Wolfsburg and defeat for Schalke at Köln, both the promoted sides have a home game this weekend as they seek their first three points since returning to the top flight. Werder face Stuttgart at the Wohninvest Weserstadion hoping that Niklas Füllkrug will recover from injury to link up with Marvin Ducksch in attack. The Swabians did the double over Werder in their relegation season, so revenge is on the cards.
Schalke face Borussia Mönchengladbach and will be hoping that VAR doesn’t play as much of a role this time around after they had a goal disallowed and a player sent off last week at Köln (both correct decisions however). They will face ex-defender Ko Itakura, who helped them to promotion last season with the Japanese now with the Foals.