Five questions ahead of Bundesliga matchday 19

The next weekend of Bundesliga fixtures are upon us as the closing of the transfer window approaches. The title race remains intense following Bayern’s shock loss last weekend and Leverkusen’s late win. The scrap at the bottom is also hotting up and with nine intriguing fixtures this weekend (including three derbys), we take a look at five talking points ahead of matchday 19.

1. Will Borussia Dortmund’s happy New Year continue?

After going winless in their final four games of 2023 (three draws and a loss), Borussia Dortmund and Edin Terzic in particular were in need of a positive start to 2024, and that’s just what they have had with two wins from two, seven goals scored and none conceded. 

While Darmstadt and Köln aren’t exactly mixing it at the top of the table, they still had to be overcome and with new arrivals Jadon Sancho and Ian Maatsen instantly integrated into the first team, the two successive wins have been most welcome. The task now is to make it three out of three, but they face a mini-Ruhrderby at home to Bochum, who will no doubt up their game at the Signal Iduna Park.

2. Can Leverkusen maintain their run in the Rheinderby?

The question as to whether Bayer Leverkusen could maintain their excellent run at the start of the year with their African Nations Cup absentees has been answered thus far in the affirmative with successive wins over both Augsburg and RB Leipzig (albeit with both games needing late, late winners).

Xabi Alonso’s side have taken six points from six and have a four point lead over Bayern now that the Rekoedmeister have caught up their game in hand. The real test of their credentials will come on February 10 when Bayern arrive at the Bay Arena, but this weekend sees a Rheinderby at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on the cards as the Werkself look to maintain their unbeaten run. 

They enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win at the Borussia Park on matchday 2 and a similar result would be just the tonic before they face Stuttgart away next weekend. However, with Jonathan Tah suspended and Exequiel Palacios out injured, Alonso will be forced to re-jig his starting XI even more. 

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3. Can VfB Stuttgart stop the January blues?

Stuttgart were one of the revelations of the Hinrunde going from relegation fodder to top four contenders. Sebastian Hoeneß had his side playing some fabulous attacking football with the goals of Serhou Guirassy firing them to the upper echelons of the table. 

The New Year however has started with a bit of a blip (at least they’ll hope that’s what it is) with two consecutive losses away to Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfL Bochum. This weekend at least brings a home match, but the guests are fellow top four side RB Leipzig, who will no doubt provide a very stern test. Matchday 2 saw the Roten Bullen thrash the Swabians 5-1 at the Red Bull Arena so that may be playing on their minds along with the pressure to end their poor start to the year. 

4. Will it be third time lucky for Timo Schultz at Köln?

The customary ‘new trainer bounce’ has failed to materialise for new Köln coach Timo Schultz as he still awaits his first win following successive home defeats to Dortmund and Bochum to start his tenure at the Rhein Energie Stadion. 

Having taken over from Steffen Baumgart, the new man in the dugout has not seen the expected positive response with six goals conceded and none scored in the first two games of 2024. An away trip to VfL Wolfsburg is their task this weekend and with goal difference the only thing keeping the Billy Goats off the bottom of the table, a win is even more desperately required on Saturday.

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5. Is it too soon to talk about a Harry Kane goal drought? 

Yes, it’s tongue in cheek, but such are the astronomical standards set so far by Harry Kane at FC Bayern that the fact that he has started the New Year with two blanks has raised a few eyebrows.  

The good news is that he already has 22 goals to his credit, and the bad news for Augsburg this weekend is that the English striker is going to be itching to start hitting the back of the net again (or multiple times) having been kept scoreless by both Werder Bremen and Union Berlin. Finn Dahmen- you have been warned!

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball