After the excitement of the Klassiker and the Rheinderby there is no slowing down of the Bundesliga action as matchday 10 is already upon us. Here we take a look at five questions ahead of the weekend.
1. Is Frank Kramer in the last-chance saloon?
Following a week which has seen both Gerardo Seoane and Pellegrino Matarazzo replaced at Bayer Leverkusen and VfB Stuttgart the attention and pressure turns to Frank Kramer at Schalke with the question as to how long he can survive being raised.
A defeat last week to Bayer Leverkusen brought shouts of ‘Kramer out’ from sections of the away fans and a recognition after the match from sporting director Rouwen Schröder that a lot hinged on this weekend’s match with Hoffenheim.
There is talk that a number of players have complained about the style of play and approach to games with support for the coach dwindling in the dressing room. A loss (or even a draw) with Hoffenheim on Friday could see Kramer follow Seoane, Matarazzo, Domenico Tedesco and Thomas Reis as the fifth coaching casualty of the current season.
2. Will Frankfurt’s Englische Woche hoodoo continue?
From beating leaders Union Berlin one week to losing to bottom side VfL Bochum the next would seem absurd to most clubs, but in the case of Eintracht Frankfurt, you almost come to expect it.
Raising their game and impressing is often followed by a fall against a struggling side and the cycle of Bundesliga and midweek Champions League action is certainly fuelling this.
Die Adler face a Bayer Leverkusen side looking to build upon Xabi Alonso’s impressive debut win over Schalke last weekend, but they too had midweek Champions League action on Wednesday, albeit a 3-0 home defeat to Porto. Eintracht Frankfurt lost 3-2 in London to Tottenham in their match so both sides are looking for a pick me up. History says: Leverkusen win.
3. Does the top four beckon for Werder Bremen?
With promoted side Schalke struggling and trying to keep their head above the bottom two, the form of fellow promoted side Werder Bremen stands in stark contrast. The Grün-Weißen’s win last Friday at Hoffenheim saw them finish the weekend in fifth meaning the heady heights of the top four beckons for Ole Werner’s side.
Nobody from Bremen will be thinking that is where they will end up come the end of the season, but their brand of attacking football (sometimes a little cavalier) led by Bundesliga top scorer Niclas Füllkrug is winning a lot of admirers and gaining them valuable points.
You would think based on their current approach they will find safety this season- something you wouldn’t be as confident saying about Schalke at the moment.
4. Who will win the Battle in the East?
RB Leipzig and Hertha go head-to-head in the Battle of the East on Saturday, but strangely neither can claim to be the top dog in the region with Union Berlin riding high at the top of the Bundesliga table.
Leipzig go into the clash at the Red Bull Arena on the back of a 1-1 draw with Mainz last weekend and a 2-0 away win at Celtic in midweek. 11th place in the league is still far from where the club expect to be so picking up three points at home to Hertha is seen as necessary given where they want to be.
Hertha on the other hand continue to promise but fail to deliver. Die Alte Dame have now drawn their last four Bundesliga matches and at some point are going to have to start converting these solitary points in to full three points.
Will that happen in a victory over Eastern rivals Leipzig? The jury is out on that one.
5. Can Union pass their next big test?
Urs Fischer’s side bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Stuttgart last weekend, which came days after another hard-fought victory over Malmö in Europe. A steely side is emerging from Union as they show they are not just a side reliant on the shock factor of their counter-attacking duo of Becker and Pefok.
Their next big test as they look to hold onto their top spot in the Bundesliga comes on Sunday with the visit of Borussia Dortmund to Köpenick. Union have got results against both Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig this season at home, so can die Eisernen make it three out of three with a victory over BVB?