After the international break the players return to their clubs as they prepare for matchday 8 of the Bundesliga season. There is an unusual constellation at the top of the table, while several clubs near the bottom will want to get their seasons going. Here we take a look at five questions ahead of the weekend.
1. Can Julian Nagelsmann or Gerardo Seoane afford to lose on Friday?
Matchday 8 gets underway at the Allianz Arena on Friday with a clash between two sides unusually in desperate need of a win. Both Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen have had a mixed start to the new campaign and both trainers are already coming under pressure.
Bayern’s shock loss to FC Augsburg last time out extended their winless streak to four matches and talk of a mini crisis has grown. The attack which looked so awesome in the opening three matches scoring fifteen goals has broken down and Julian Nagelsmann has come under increasing scrutiny. He has been backed by the Bavarian’s bosses, but any extension of the winless run will simply add to the pressure he and his players are coming under.
Bayern however face a Leverkusen side also needing a positive result to ease the pressure on their under-fire coach. The Werkself have also had to take the step of publicly backing their trainer after taking just five points from the opening seven matches.
Gerardo Seoane, who garnered so much praise last season is coming under pressure with his side struggling to string together any decent run of consistent form. They impressively beat Atletico Madrid but have laboured against Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin in recent weeks. A loss to Bayern is going to add more woe on an already under-pressure coach.
2. Will Edin Terzic drop Anthony Modeste against Köln?
Borussia Dortmund’s swoop for Anthony Modeste at the start of the season to compensate for the loss of Sebastien Haller didn’t go down too well at the Rhein Energie Stadion with the Frenchman leaving the club for the second time to chase the money. His time at BVB has so far been a damp squib with just one goal and he’s struggled to make any sort of impact.
An impact is exactly what 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko made last week in the Revierderby as he came on as a second half substitute to score the winning goal. The clamour now is for the youngster to finally be given a start to prove what he can do and offer an alternative to the ineffective Modeste.
Being dropped for the trip to face his old club would be quite a blow to Modeste, but Moukoko is chomping at the bit and showing the hunger and desire that could sway Edin Terzic, who knows the player’s mindset very well indeed. Moukoko did however leave the German U-21 squad before the friendly with England with a neck injury and will need to be fully checked out before being selected.
3. Can Augsburg continue their rehabilitation?
The win last time out against Bayern had everyone at the WWK Arena smiling and coming on the back of the previous week’s win at Werder Bremen made it doubly pleasing. Two wins on the bounce for Enrico Maaßen’s team was much needed after their poor start to the season (four losses out of five) and the challenge now is to keep the upturn going.
A switch in formation to a back four and a more attacking front four started the improvement and a trip to Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke beckons this weekend for the Fuggerstädter.
4. Will new Bochum coach Thomas Letsch get the ‘new trainer bounce’?
Bochum picked up their very first point on matchday 7 under interim trainer Heiko Butscher and will be looking for their first three points as new coach Thomas Letsch takes control for the first time this weekend after being appointed to succeed Thomas Reis.
There is often a ‘new trainer’ bounce when a new man comes in at the helm, but Bochum will have their work cut out as they travel to face RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday. Marco Rose experienced just such a bounce in his first match in charge against Dortmund before coming crashing back to the ground last time out against Mönchengladbach.
Die Roten Bullen will be in no mood to help ease Letsch in smoothly and the new Bochum boss could be in for a hard debut.
5. Are Union Berlin going to continue to lead the way?
The international break has given us all the chance to pause and look back on the opening weeks of the Bundesliga season and to reflect on the fact that Union leads the table after seven matches. Their performances have fully warranted the pole position they find themselves in and coach Urs Fischer has just signed a contract extension with the club.
The question now is how long can die Eisernen keep this up. Their tactical blueprint has worked so far and as long as their key players stay fit, there appears little reason to doubt they can keep mixing it at the top of the table. This weekend however sees a tricky away trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.