Before the first international break of the new season, we have matchday 3 from the Bundesliga to look forward to this weekend with nine mouth-watering clashes to get our teeth into. Five teams have a 100% record to defend, while the newly promoted sides are both still looking for their first points. Here’s what the weekend has in store for us….
Borussia Dortmund v Heidenheim
Dortmund may have started the season unbeaten, but in neither of their opening two matches have they emerged with a whole lot of credit or positivity. The fact that Gregor Kobel was arguably their best player and Köln the better team in their opening day win says a lot. So too does the fact that there wasn’t much to praise about their draw away at Bochum on matchday two other than they managed to emerge with a point.
It is time for BVB to bring more urgency, more creativity, more energy, and more dominance to their game. Newly promoted Heidenheim are up on Friday at the Signal Iduna Park, which in theory at least will give the Schwarzgelben the opportunity to buck up their ideas. That said, remember what happened on matchday 3 last season when a newly promoted side arrived in Dortmund (Werder’s smash and grab 3-2 win). Frank Schmidt’s side have opened with two defeats and a third would well and truly burst the promotion positivity bubble.
Bayer Leverkusen v Darmstadt
They weren’t exactly handed the easiest of starts by the fixture computer, but Leverkusen seem to be living up to all the pre-season optimism having started with back-to-back wins over RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Xabi Alonso’s side have scored three goals in both games so far with striker Victor Boniface settling in straight away and Florian Wirtz already looking like he’s back to his best.
Promoted Darmstadt have opened with consecutive losses and a third would put them on the back foot. They were well beaten by ten-man Union Berlin last weekend showing that the gulf in quality between the 2.Bundesliga and the top tier is something the Lilien are going to have to get used to pretty damn quickly if they are to avoid a season of struggle.
Hoffenheim v VfL Wolfsburg
Having lost their opener at home to Freiburg, Hoffenheim have a second bite of the cherry to get their first home win of the season as they look to build on last weekend’s comeback win at Heidenheim. Seemingly on course for a second loss with 30 minutes left to play, the Sinsheim club hit three goals including a late penalty to snatch a dramatic win.
Wolfsburg are the visitors to the PreZero Arena on Saturday with six points already in the bag and the league’s in-form striker leading their forward line. Jonas Wind has scored twice in both of the Wölfe’s opening fixtures and it will be up to a far-from miserly TSG defence to keep the Dane at bay this weekend.
Last season’s start to the season was Wolfsburg’s worst in 21 years with just two points from their first four matches. A win at Hoffenheim would see them potentially as table toppers come the end of the weekend.
Werder Bremen v Mainz
After the Rückrunde that Werder Bremen fans endured, they could be forgiven for hoping for a new start and a clean slate at the start of the new season, but sadly it has been a case of same old, same old for the Grün-Weißen. A first round Pokal exit and two losses to start the season has put added pressure on them to get a result this weekend when they host Mainz.
The Nullfünfer also find themselves under a bit of pressure after their own collapse in the final weeks of last season and a heavy loss to Union on the opening weekend. A late equaliser saw them denied a first win against Frankfurt on matchday two so they travel north with their focus fully on rectifying that.
Augsburg v VfL Bochum
After their thrilling 4-4 draw with Mönchengladbach on the opening day, Augsburg’s loss to Bayern last Sunday was at least respectable and Dion Beljo got them onto the scoresheet at least. Enrico Maaßen will be hopeful of their first win of the season and would have targeted games like this one as must-wins in their overall plan for Bundesliga survival.
Bochum showed last week just how strong they can be at home as they held Borussia Dortmund to a point, and based on the overall level of commitment and competitiveness, the Ruhr side perhaps should have taken all three points. Transferring that level of performance to their away games must be the aim going forward.
VfB Stuttgart v Freiburg
Stuttgart hit five goals on the opening day, but then they themselves were on the end of a five-goal mauling last Friday at Leipzig. The first half looked good for the Swabians, only for a second half surge from Marco Rose’s side to bring them down to earth with a bump. They host Freiburg this weekend looking to show that the win over Bochum was no flash in the pan and that they are going to have a much better season this time around.
Christian Streich’s side made an excellent start last season and maintained their form throughout and with two wins from two this season, the early signs are that it could well be a repeat performance for the Breisgauer. The two sides actually also met at the Mercedes Benz Arena on matchday 3 last season with Freiburg winning 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Vincenzo Grifo.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayern Munich
To the older generation this is still THE Klassiker of German football with the two rivals from the halcyon days of the 1970’s stirring the emotions as the Foals host the Rekordmeister. Gone are the days when Gladbach were the team to push/ usurp Bayern for the Meisterschale, but the game still attracts plenty of attention.
Gladbach have a decent home record against the Bavarians in recent years with two wins and two draws in the last four league meetings at the Borussia Park. Last season’s 3-2 win will inspire them, but as last weekend’s loss to Bayer Leverkusen showed, Gerardo Seoane still has a lot to do to get his much-changed side functioning smoothly. Will this be the spark to ignite the fire or will Bayern pour cold water on their hopes?
Eintracht Frankfurt v Köln
Frankfurt host Köln on Sunday and much of the mood going into the match will depend on the outcome of the Adler’s European tie with Levski Sofia on Thursday and on the outcome of the Randal Kolo Muani transfer saga. With the forward on strike trying to force his move to PSG, there will sure to be changes to the attacking line and perhaps some uncertainty in the squad.
The Billy Goats have played well in both their matches so far (Bayern and Wolfsburg) but yet still remain without any points. A trip to Frankfurt isn’t the easiest task, but they will be hoping some of the worries mentioned above give them an advantage at the Deutsche Bank Park. Again, these two teams met at the same stage last season and shared a 1-1 draw in Frankfurt.
Union Berlin v RB Leipzig
The late game on Sunday sees Union Berlin looking to maintain their 100% start to the season and also bag the bragging rights as the best team from the East. RB Leipzig are the visitors to the Alten Försterei. After winning their opening two games with four goals scored in each, the Eisernen have come out of the blocks in fine style and having now learnt their Champions League fate this season, will want to carry their form forward against their Sachsen rivals.
Leipzig suffered a slight blip following their Supercup triumph over Bayern, but got things back on track with a 5-1 thumping of VfB Stuttgart last week. Leipzig have lost 2-1 on their last three Bundesliga visits to the Alten Försterei so will be keen to put an end to that particular stat. The last was curiously also on matchday 3 of last season.
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