Bundesliga Matchday 24: Determined Dortmund ready for Revierderby
Two derby clashes could have a significant say in the Bundesliga title race this Saturday.
Challengers Borussia Dortmund visit struggling Schalke, while Bayern Munich host Bavarian neighbours Augsburg.
Union Berlin's poor form has seen them fall away from the top two but they can get their season back on track by beating Wolfsburg.
Meanwhile, the battle for Champions League football is hotting up, as Freiburg face Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt take on Stuttgart.
Game of the weekend: Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Dortmund will be keen to get back to winning ways after suffering Champions League elimination by Chelsea in midweek.
The 100th Bundesliga Revierderby sees BVB travel to the Veltins-Arena having won each of their last four league meetings with their nearby foes.
Edin Terzic's side are in a fine run of domestic form, winning all eight of their Bundesliga games so far in 2023. Their opponents are also enjoying a positive period, however, with back-to-back league triumphs for the first time since November 2019.
Terzic will be keen to spoil Die Knappen's party — the 40-year-old tactician will become the second Dortmund coach after Heinz Murach in the 1960s to win his first three top-flight Revierderbies if he can preside over an away victory.
Bayern Munich vs Augsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Bayern will be keen to build on knocking Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League when they welcome Augsburg to the Allianz Arena this weekend.
But it will be a tricky test. The perennial champions have lost two of their three Bundesliga games against Augsburg under the stewardship of Julian Nagelsmann, which is as many as they suffered against them in their first 20 top-flight meetings.
The odds seem to be in the hosts' favour based on their opponents' shocking record on the road in 2023. Enrico Maassen's men have won all four of their home games but lost their four away clashes.
Thomas Muller will be keen to maintain his fine form after the German was directly involved in his 300th Bundesliga goal during FCB's 2-1 win over Stuttgart last Saturday.
The only other man to reach this milestone since detailed data collection began in the 2004-05 season is Robert Lewandowski.
Freiburg vs Hoffenheim (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Freiburg can continue their push for the top four against out-of-form Hoffenheim.
And the Breisgau Brazilians will be confident of doing just that, having only lost one of their last eight games against Die Kraichgauer (five wins, two draws).
The visitors are only the fifth side in Bundesliga history to lose each of their first six games in the second half of the season — the last outfit to suffer that fate were Stuttgart in 2013-14.
Despite losing 1-0 to Juventus in the Europa League on Thursday, Freiburg are flying. They have just equalled a club record by going unbeaten in 10 straight top-flight games at home (seven wins, three draws).
Christian Streich’s team have also only lost one league match on home soil all season — a 3-1 defeat to Dortmund.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Stuttgart (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Frankfurt welcome struggling Stuttgart to Deutsche Bank Park with good reason to be confident.
They have not lost any of their last seven games against Saturday's visitors (four wins, three defeats). That is their longest ongoing unbeaten run against any current top-flight side.
Die Schwaben have only managed to claim five points from the eight Bundesliga games they have played under Bruno Labbadia this season.
The electric form of Eintracht marksman Randal Kolo Muani will certainly strike fear into Stuttgart's hearts. He has had a hand in 21 goals in 22 top-flight matches this season (11 goals, 10 assists), with a league-high six strikes to his name in 2023.
Wolfsburg vs Union Berlin (Sunday, 6.30pm)
Union are intent on rediscovering their fine form from the first half of the campaign but will encounter a tough opponent on their travels.
Wolfsburg have won all three of their Bundesliga home games against Union.
And despite their excellent season, Die Eisernen have hit a rough patch. They have won only one of their last five games, having been victorious in all of their previous six outings.
However, their joker in the pack could well be Sheraldo Becker. The Surinamese international has scored more Bundesliga goals against Die Wolfe than any other side (three).
The weekend's other games
FC Cologne vs Bochum (Friday, 7.30pm)
RB Leipzig vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Hertha Berlin vs Mainz (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 4.30pm)
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