Bundesliga Matchday 13: Wolfsburg and Dortmund look to put Euro woes behind them
Wolfsburg meet Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga looking to end a difficult few days on a high after Champions League misery for both.
Elsewhere, improving RB Leipzig host Bayer Leverkusen with both sides bidding for continental football next season and champions Bayern Munich entertain struggling Arminia Bielefeld.
For rock-bottom Greuther Furth, unwanted history awaits if they fail to avoid defeat against Hoffenheim.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of another weekend of Bundesliga action.
Game of the week: Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 2.30pm)
A 3-1 loss at Sporting saw Dortmund dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday night but they could go top of the pile in the Bundesliga — at least temporarily — with victory at Wolfsburg, who lost 2-0 to Sevilla.
The hosts are in decent form, winning two and drawing one of their three Bundesliga games since the sacking of Mark van Bommel.
The Wolves have a thoroughly miserable recent record against Dortmund though, losing 11 and drawing one of their last 12 meetings.
Despite that, there is perhaps optimism to be taken from the fact that only nine of BVB’s 30 league goals this season have come on the road.
Equally, Wolfsburg have only failed to score in one of their last 10 home matches in all competitions.
They can rely on solid defensive foundations too, with no side in the division having kept more clean sheets this campaign than their five. By contrast, Dortmund’s leaky backline has managed just one shutout.
Here are the other big games to watch this weekend…
RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 4.30pm)
RB Leipzig will try to bounce back from their first defeat in eight games last time out when they face a Bayer Leverkusen side coming off a first win in five.
Victory for Jesse Marsch’s men will see them leapfrog Leverkusen into fourth if Union Berlin and Wolfsburg drop points.
The omens are good — Leverkusen have won only one of the 10 Bundesliga clashes between the teams.
The visitors have the division’s last remaining unbeaten away record but the Red Bull Arena is a seriously tough place to go. Since October 2019, only Bayern and Dortmund have won there in the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich vs Arminia Bielefeld (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Bayern dropped points for only the third time this season in a surprise defeat to Augsburg on Matchday 12 — but the reigning champions will be expecting to get back on track against a side who have won only once so far.
For Arminia to pick up win number two, the Bavarian giants would have to lose consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time in almost two years.
They might fancy their chances of leaving the Allianz Arena with at least a point though, given they have conceded only six away goals this term — only Freiburg (five) have conceded fewer.
After going two Bundesliga games without scoring — a drought by his otherworldly standards — Robert Lewandowski has now found the net in his last five league appearances.
Three of the seven goals Arminia conceded against Bayern last season came from the prolific Pole.
Greuther Furth vs Hoffenheim (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Greuther Furth must beat Hoffenheim to avoid becoming the first team in Bundesliga history to lose 11 games in a row during a single season.
The visitors are in a rut, but they will be confident of recording just a third away win since January.
Stefan Leitl’s hosts are already eight points adrift at the foot of the table, having collected a solitary point since promotion back to the top flight.
Hoffenheim, on the other hand, could move into a European spot with victory and favourable results elsewhere.
Corners could be a big factor in this contest. Furth have conceded a league-high six goals from such situations this term, while no side has scored more from them than Sebastian Hoeness’ men (four).
Bochum vs Freiburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Freiburg were the last unbeaten team standing in the Bundesliga but have since suffered back-to-back defeats.
They take on a Bochum side who have come into some form of late, winning three of their last five games to climb towards mid-table.
This could be a low-scoring encounter, with the two teams defensively strong in different ways.
Bochum have kept five clean sheets so far — the joint-most in the division — but Freiburg have conceded a league-low five goals on their travels.
These two have not faced each other since meeting in the second tier in the 2015-16 season — Bochum won both encounters by a combined score of 5-1.
The weekend’s other games:
Stuttgart vs Mainz (Friday, 7.30pm)
Koln vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Hertha Berlin vs Augsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Union Berlin (Sunday, 2.30pm)