As we emerge from another week of European action and a Bundesliga table that has taken on quite an unusual appearance, we have matchday 7 to look forward to with all the action, goals and talking points in will generate. Here we take a look at five questions ahead of the weekend.
1. Who will emerge victorious from the Revierderby?
Hot on the heels of the Ruhrderby versus Bochum comes the much bigger Revierderby for Schalke against fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund this weekend. The fact that that we have gone a season without the derby between the two Ruhrpott rivals adds extra spice as does the fact that Schalke notched up their first win last week whereas BVB were mauled by RB Leipzig and had an arduous (yet fruitless) trip to Manchester in midweek
Home advantage will count in Dortmund’s favour with a sold-out Signal Iduna Park, and coach Edin Terzic will want to see a continuation of the effort he witnessed as BVB gave a very good defensive account of themselves at the Etihad. Against Schalke however more in the way of attacking impetus will be needed.
Schalke’s 3-1 win over Bochum will have given Frank Kramer’s side confidence going into Saturday’s derby, but the challenge of the Schwarzgelben will of a totally different magnitude. The Königsblauen’s coach is fully aware of the hostile atmosphere that will greet his side and is looking to harness that to his advantage.
“What matters is that we are totally focused on the game” he said at his press conference. “We want to absorb this emotion and convert it into positive energy on the pitch. We will also need this positive energy to play well against a strong opponent.”
‘Herne-West’ versus ‘Lüdenscheid-Nord’ is sure to be one to watch this weekend.
2. Can Leverkusen and Frankfurt bring their Champions League form to the Bundesliga?
With both Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt enjoying impressive wins in Europe in midweek, the question is raised as to whether they can replicate those performances in the Bundesliga this weekend with both sides having struggled domestically in recent weeks.
Bayer Leverkusen stunned Atletico Madrid with two late goals at the Bay Arena to take their first three points of the group stage and surprise more than a few onlookers. Jeremie Frimpong turned provider for both Robert Andrich and Moussa Diaby in the 84th and 87th minute to down Diego Simeone’s side.
Hosting Werder Bremen this weekend will require them to carry that display forward and not lose further ground domestically. The Werkself currently occupy 17th spot in the table and that is far from many people’s predictions that they would be genuine title contenders this season.
Frankfurt have also been on a bit of a downer in recent weeks with a loss to VfL Wolfsburg in the league following on from a 3-0 loss at home to Sporting Lisbon. They however pulled a great performance out of the bag on Tuesday to beat Marseille 1-0 in the Stade Velodrome. Crowd disturbances marred the occasion, but the result was a real boost for Oliver Glasner’s side.
The Adler face a trip to VfB Stuttgart this weekend, who produced a fine display on matchday 6 to draw 2-2 with Bayern at the Allianz Arena. The phrase that does the rounds this time of year in Germany is ‘having to dance at three weddings’ referring to the burden of Bundesliga. Pokal and Europe. Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht fans are going to be demanding that their teams keep dancing as well as they did at the European wedding.
3. Will sacking Thomas Reis produce the desired reaction at Bochum?
So often it is the case that firing a coach of a struggling side instantly brings about a win in the next game that makes you wonder why the struggles that brought about the sacking were ever there. RB Leipzig last week are the most recent case in point.
Mauled by Frankfurt, embarrassed in the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk, all seemed lost. Domenico Tedesco gets fired, Marco Rose comes in, and they beat Borussia Dortmund with ease with the players looking born again.
The hierarchy at VfL Bochum will be hoping for a similar bounce as they face Köln on Sunday in the first match since coach Thomas Reis was dismissed. Heiko Butscher has taken temporary charge and he will be hoping that the crowd can play their part as the Geißböcke have been in good form this season (although they suffered their first loss to Union Berlin last week).
Bochum still have zero points this season from their six games and will want to avoid the unwanted record of the worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season set last season by Greuther Fürth- one point from their opening 11 games.
4. Can Union Berlin maintain top spot in the table?
The Union Berlin ascent continued last weekend as they took sole occupancy at the top of the Bundesliga table following their win over Köln. Everyone is waiting for the bubble to burst, but things look good at the moment for the good times to continue.
Much will depend on their ability to deal with the extra ardours of midweek European action and this week saw them travel to Portugal to face Braga before returning to Berlin to take on VfL Wolfsburg, who have had a full week off to work on the improvements that saw them win their first match against Frankfurt last week. Die Eisernen suffered a second group stage defeat however at the Municipal stadium, which stands in stark contrast to their Bundesliga form.
5. Could Augsburg deny Bayern for the fourth game in a row?
Saturday marks the start of Oktoberfest 2022 in Munich, but Bayern will be hoping they don’t end the weekend with the hangover of a fourth consecutive Bundesliga game without a win. The Bavarians have drawn their last three outings against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Union Berlin and VfB Stuttgart so need a ‘three pointer’ against Augsburg to kick off the Wiesnzeit in style.
They beat Barcelona in midweek and kept Robert Lewandowski goalless, so in theory the Fuggerstädter should prove a lesser challenge, but to underestimate them would be foolish. The season began with Bayern handing out thrashings to Eintracht Frankfurt and Bochum before the ‘blip. Someone soon is going to be on the end of a proper Bayern hammering- Augsburg will just hope it’s not them.