Bundesliga Matchday 26: League leaders Bayern head to Hoffenheim
The Bundesliga season has entered the home straight — and Bayern Munich are edging closer to another title triumph.
Saturday afternoon sees Julian Nagelsmann’s men head to Hoffenheim, where victory will take them 12 points clear of Borussia Dortmund albeit having played two games more.
The Black and Yellows are in action on Sunday when they host relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld at Signal Iduna Park.
Elsewhere, Rhine rivals Bayer Leverkusen and Koln lock horns, Borussia Monchengladbach take on Hertha Berlin and RB Leipzig visit strugglers Greuther Furth.
Game of the week: Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Bayern are eyeing a 10th away league win of the campaign at the PreZero Arena, while in-form Hoffenheim will be looking to make it five victories on the spin.
This will be the Bavarians’ 1,934th Bundesliga game, drawing them level with Werder Bremen for the most matches played in the history of the competition.
Having only been in the top flight since 2008, the hosts do not come remotely close to equalling that record. But they have won three of their last five home encounters with Bayern.
Despite looking set to cruise to the title once again, the visitors are enduring their worst second half of a campaign in a decade — taking only 16 points from a possible 24 so far.
Hoffenheim are not dropping points at the moment but they do continue to pick up bookings. Their total of 55 yellow cards is the joint-highest in the division this term.
These teams last met in October, with Bayern romping to a 4-0 triumph at the Allianz Arena.
Here are the other big games to watch this weekend…
Borussia Dortmund vs Arminia Bielefeld (Sunday, 4.30pm)
Dortmund can make it 11 home league wins from 13 this season by beating Arminia Bielefeld, who need points in the battle against relegation.
BVB’s games this season have averaged a Bundesliga-high 4.21 goals — and Marco Rose’s outfit thrashed Borussia Monchengladbach 6-0 in their last home fixture.
By contrast, the visitors’ matches have averaged a league-low 2.2 goals. Frank Kramer’s team are also the lowest scorers in the division, having only found the net 22 times.
The Black and Yellows have scored more home goals than any other side so far (39), notching three or more on no fewer than seven occasions.
But that may not overly perturb Arminia, who have conceded fewer times on their travels (16) than all bar three teams.
Dortmund won the reverse fixture 3-1, stretching their unbeaten run against Arminia to seven matches.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Koln (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Leverkusen have not lost at home since October and will be confident of keeping it that way against a Koln team with just two away league wins all season.
Die Werkself have scored at least three goals in each of their last three home games, with Wolfsburg (twice) the only visiting Bundesliga team to keep a clean sheet at the BayArena since November 2020.
The venue has not been a happy hunting ground for Koln, who have lost there 10 times this century. That is more than at any other away stadium.
The hosts have enjoyed a fair amount of success counter-attacking this term, scoring five goals via their league-high 41 fast breaks — from which they have had 37 shots, also the most in the division.
As for the Billy Goats, no side has allowed more fast breaks (30), faced more shots from them (23) or conceded more goals as a result (seven).
In this season’s first meeting, Anthony Modeste bagged a brace as Koln came from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw with their neighbours.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Hertha Berlin (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Two struggling teams go head-to-head on Saturday evening, with Borussia Monchengladbach looking to continue their home recovery and Hertha Berlin chasing a first win in nine.
The hosts had lost four home games in a row before beating Augsburg and drawing with Wolfsburg last month — although they are otherwise unbeaten at Borussia-Park this term.
Hertha make the long journey west having suffered four straight defeats, during which they have shipped 15 goals. Only rock-bottom Greuther Furth have conceded more than Hertha’s 58 overall.
BMG have fared well at home to Hertha since the latter’s return to the Bundesliga in 2013, winning six and drawing one out of eight encounters.
And — unsurprisingly given their lowly league position — the visitors have a dire away record this season, collecting just eight points on the road.
But Hertha might take some hope from the fact they beat Adi Hutter's side 1-0 back in October, though that was under former boss Pal Dardai.
Greuther Furth vs RB Leipzig (Sunday, 6.30pm)
Furth are effectively playing for pride, now 11 points from safety with just nine games left. But they could make it seven home games unbeaten when they face an RB Leipzig side who are inconsistent travellers.
Leipzig have never lost to Furth though — and Domenico Tedesco’s rampant Red Bulls have picked up 19 points from 24 available since the winter break.
The hosts have scored in each of their last seven outings and will be looking to equal their top-flight record of netting in eight consecutive matches.
Unfortunately for Stefan Leitl’s team, their opponents have only conceded seven goals since the halfway point of the campaign — the fewest in the division.
Furthermore, the basement boys have taken a league-low 80 shots in the second half of the season, although their conversion rate of 17% is the fourth-highest.
Furth briefly led the reverse meeting between these sides through Branimir Hrgota’s penalty, before Leipzig ultimately cruised to a 4-1 victory.
The weekend's other fixtures
Freiburg vs Wolfsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Union Berlin vs Stuttgart (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Augsburg vs Mainz (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bochum (Sunday, 4.30pm)
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