After the summer break the first weekend of the new 2023/24 Bundesliga season didn’t disappoint with plenty of goals, top performances and talking points. Now it’s time to look forward to what matchday two has in store for us as we preview the forthcoming action…
RB Leipzig v VfB Stuttgart
The weekend action gets underway with the Friday clash between Leipzig and Stuttgart at the Red Bull Arena. Having stunned Bayern in the Supercup and emerged as many peoples favourite to challenge the Rekordmeister this season, Marco Rose’s side lost their opener last weekend at the Bay Arena to an impressive Leverkusen side.
Nothing less than a win will do for the Roten Bullen as they look to confirm their place as a genuine contender. The Swabians on the other hand put all the troubles of last season firmly behind them last week with a stunning 5-0 opening win at home to VfL Bochum. The opposition this week is of a much higher level and it will be the first time Stuttgart get to show whether they can improve on their awful away form of last season (and the season before).
Freiburg v Werder Bremen
Christian Streich will no doubt be publicly stating that avoiding relegation is the primary target for Freiburg, but we all know that nowadays the Breisgauer are setting their sights much higher. They began with a good win last weekend away at Hoffenheim and another three points on Saturday will give them every chance of mirroring last season’s great start to the season.
Weder were on a hiding to nothing last week at home to Bayern and were slightly better than the 4-0 scoreline suggests. That said, the Grün-Weißen can’t really afford a second defeat having been eliminated from the Pokal and then losing their opener. Starting the season with a negative trend of three losses is not what a club of Werder’s stature need in a highly competitive league. Last season’s survival was built on their good start, the flip side is not something they want to get involved with.
Köln v VfL Wolfsburg
The Billy Goats can consider themselves a little unlucky to have emerged from last week’s trip to the Signal Iduna Park empty handed as they matched Borussia Dortmund for large parts of the game and were denied a point by some excellent goalkeeping from Gregor Kobel. Their first home game will be an atmospheric affair and give them the chance to make amends.
They welcome a Wolfsburg side, who started with a win against Heidenheim, but a side trying to embed a number of new players (particularly in defence). Niko Kovac will want to send out a positive message at the start of the season after the huge disappointment suffered on the final day of the last campaign.
VfL Bochum v Borussia Dortmund
The mini-Ruhrderby sees Bochum looking to scrub last week’s horror show at the Mercedes Benz Arena from their consciousness. As a side tipped to struggle this season, opening with a 5-0 loss to a team who were in the bottom three last season is far from the ideal scenario. Meeting Borussia Dortmund at this stage may or may not be the ideal timing for Thomas Letsch’s side. They will however take heart from the dogged display they produced at the end of last season as BVB were seemingly on course for the title.
The Schwarzgelben flattered to deceive last weekend and looked flat and lacking in energy and dynamism. The absence of Jude Bellingham as the driving force will need to be dealt with asap. A good run of wins at the start of the campaign will go some way to injecting the confidence that another title challenge can be staged.
Heidenheim v Hoffenheim
Frank Schmidt’s side get the chance to make up for their opening day loss at Wolfsburg with their first-ever home fixture in the Bundesliga. The atmosphere at the Voith Arena is sure to be electric despite only holding 15,000 and Heidenheim will need to harness the support of their home fans this season and make the most of their matches on their own turf.
Hoffenheim arrive having lost their opener to Freiburg, but with Pellegrino Matarazzo looking to formulate a tactical plan that shored up TSG’s shaky defence, while making the most of the attacking talents of Wout Weghorst and Andrej Kramaric.
Darmstadt v Union Berlin
Darmstadt also started life back in the Bundesliga with an opening defeat and life doesn’t get any easier for the Lilien this weekend when they host Union Berlin. Torsten Lieberknecht’s side went down at Frankfurt to a Randal Kolo Muani goal (a farewell goal?), but face Urs Fischer’s Champions League qualifiers at the Böllenfalltor with it all to do to avoid a losing start to the season.
The Eisernen were certainly impressive against Mainz last weekend with Kevin Behrens hitting a headed hat trick- albeit assisted by some non-existent defending. The Union coach has a deeper squad this season, which could lead to some selection headaches. The last time the two sides met was back in Unions promotion campaign in 2019 and they lost 2-1. A sign of how far they have come since is shown by the fact that only Christopher Trimmel remains from that side.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen
Matchday two will see a couple of reunions at the Borussia Park as Mönchengladbach host Bayer Leverkusen in a Rheinderby. Foals coach Gerardo Seoane was sacked by the Werkself at the start of last season following an awful start and he now gets the chance to prove himself guiding his new club to a first win of the season after their topsy-turvy 4-4 draw last weekend.
Jonas Hofmann also comes up against his former side perhaps sooner than he had expected and it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets. On the one hand he gave Gladbach eight years of service and was a real favourite, on the other hand he’s jumped ship and joined a local rival. Leverkusen will be keen to show that last weeks win over Leipzig was no flash in the pan.
Mainz v Eintracht Frankfurt
Sunday’s early match sees Mainz host Eintracht Frankfurt with Bo Svensson surely demanding a lot more from his team than what he saw last week at the Alten Försterei. Defensively they were pretty terrible and Ludovic Ajorque didn’t help by missing not one, but two penalties that could have given the Nullfünfer an undeserved point.
New Adler trainer Dino Toppmöller secured a win in his first Bundesliga game in charge- even it wasn’t exactly convincing against promoted side Darmstadt. Randal Kolo Muani (who else?) bagged the only goal and it remains to be seen how much longer their goal source will with them with a move to PSG seemingly getting closer.
Bayern Munich v Augsburg
The weekend action is rounded off with an all-Bavarian clash as Bayern entertain Augsburg at the Allianz Arena. The Supercup loss to Leipzig was a shock for the home fans so they will want to see a reaction, and they will want to see Harry Kane score his first goals in his new home. It will be interesting to see to see whether Thomas Tuchel tinkers with his midfield duo of Kimmich/ Goretzka as Konrad Laimer had featured throughout the pre-season. Jamal Musiala will sit this one out with a hamstring injury.
The Fuggerstädter showed great resolve against Mönchengladbach last week in their entertaining 4-4 draw, but will have to tighten up defensively in a big way if they are not to get torn apart by Bayern.