With the international break behind us, attention can turn once more to the new Bundesliga season with an intriguing matchday 4 in front of us. Here are five talking points ahead of the weekend action…
1- Can Leverkusen keep it going against Bayern?
The weekend opens with a real cracker as first take on second at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are the only sides still with a 100% record after three matches so something has to give on Friday.
Xabi Alonso’s Werkself have certainly lived up to their pre-season billing, but their real test comes against the Rekordmeister. Last season’s 4-0 mauling in Bavaria spelt the end of Gerardo Seoane’s tenure as Leverkusen coach, and revenge was exacted in the return fixture at the Bay Arena as Xabi Alonso got one over his former side. Can he do the same on his first return to his former stomping ground?
Bayern’s start has all been about the Harry Kane effect and he has started well with three goals. Leroy Sané also has three while Mathys Tel has scored twice from the bench already. Coming off the back of the international break means that there are a number of variables in play with the players returning to their clubs just days before such a big game. It should however prove to be an intriguing encounter to start the weekend.
2- Will Dortmund continue to stutter?
This was not the way it was supposed to be for the Schwarzgelben. After going agonisingly close to finally dethroning Bayern as champions last season, the hope was that a renewed bid would be launched this season. The first three games, while undefeated, have been very underwhelming and the draw last time out against Heidenheim kind of felt like a defeat for BVB.
They face a tricky trip this Saturday to face Freiburg. Christian Streich’s side opened with back-to-back wins over Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen, but were thrashed 5-0 by Stuttgart on matchday 3. The Breisgauer will want to bounce back from that shock result and what better way than by inflicting further woe on Edin Terzic’s stuttering side.
3- Are Darmstadt going to break their duck?
The promoted side are the only team not to have secured a point so far this season and the longer the drought goes on, the harder things become. After a narrow defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening weekend, the last two games have seen heavier defeats with a 4-1 loss to Union Berlin and a 5-1 thrashing at Leverkusen.
They have a second home game this week against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Foals have themselves not had the best of starts and will be looking to take advantage of any weakness Torsten Lieberknecht’s side shows. Once the first points are on the board, things can move forward. Should that not happen, then the game of catch-up begins in earnest.
4- Which version of VfB Stuttgart will we see?
Having narrowly avoided dropping into the 2.Bundesliga last season, the hope from VfB Stuttgart fans was for the team to show something different this season and they have certainly done that. Both home games thus far have witnessed 5-0 wins at the MHP Arena with both VfL Bochum and Freiburg blown away. Their one away game at Leipzig however ended in a 5-1 reverse despite a very valiant first half display.
What are the odds on another five-goal haul this weekend- for either the or hosts Mainz? Serhou Guirassy has started like a house on fire with five goals and all this has been achieved after losing key players Wataru Endo, Borna Sosa, and Konstantinos Mavropanos in the summer transfer window.
5- Are RB Leipzig back on track?
The Supercup win over Bayern seemed to confirm RB Leipzig’s place as one of the main contenders for Bayern’s Bundesliga crown this season after a very strong finish to last season. However, the opening day loss at Bayer Leverkusen put a stop to anyone getting too carried away with the hyperbole.
A 5-1 reaction against VfB Stuttgart at the Red Bull Arena was just the ticket and the 3-0 win away at Union Berlin seemed to confirm that things were back on track. Not many teams come away from the Alten Försterei with all three points making the win all the more special.
They face Augsburg at home this weekend in a match they will be fully confident of winning. They will however be without the services of key men Dani Olmo and Willi Orban. Olmo suffered an injury on international duty with Spain and looks set to be sidelined for at least a couple of matches, while captain Orban looks set to be out for even longer following a knee injury playing for Hungary.