Bundesliga Matchday 27: Union Berlin out to shock Bayern
With Bayern Munich drawing their last two and Borussia Dortmund recording back-to-back wins, there is suddenly a title race in the Bundesliga.
Looking to ensure they do not let their advantage shrink any further, Bayern entertain Union Berlin. Dortmund will be hoping for another slip-up from their great rivals ahead of Sunday’s trip to Koln.
Among the other standout fixtures on Matchday 27, there is a huge match in the relegation scrap as Stuttgart host Augsburg.
Game of the week: Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Bayern come into their record 1,935th Bundesliga match looking to avoid going three games without a win for the first time in over three years.
Union head to the Allianz Arena having lost their last three on the road without scoring.
Despite netting seven in their Champions League last-16 win against Salzburg last week, Julian Nagelsmann may be concerned that the goals have dried up for the Bavarians somewhat in the league.
The reigning champions have found the net just once in each of their last three outings. Not since Pep Guardiola was at the helm in 2015 have they failed to score more than once in four straight matches.
Union have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 11 games though. In fact, Urs Fischer’s side have kept only one on their league travels all season.
Should Robert Lewandowski continue his run of scoring in every encounter with Union, he will reach 30 goals in a Bundesliga campaign for the fifth time. Only Bayern icon Gerd Muller has achieved the feat more often.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Lewandowski will draw level with Union for goals scored this term — the visitors’ total of 33 is the lowest in the top half of the table.
Here are the other big games to watch this weekend…
Koln vs Borussia Dortmund (Sunday, 6.30pm)
Dortmund will look to make it five league wins from six when they travel to Koln, who are chasing three points to keep them in with a shout of European qualification.
The hosts are having their strongest top-flight season since the introduction of three points for a win, picking up 39 points from 26 games — but they have lost five of their last seven meetings with BVB.
Marco Rose’s visitors left it late to beat Mainz in midweek with Axel Witsel’s 87th-minute goal — their 17th in the final 15 minutes of games this season — the joint-most in the division with Hoffenheim.
Koln rank second in that respect, scoring 13 such goals, as well as conceding the second-fewest during that period (four) behind Mainz (two).
Since the winter break, no team has kept more clean sheets than the Black and Yellows (four) who had recorded only two shutouts during the first half of the campaign.
The title chasers won this season’s previous meeting 2-0 with Thorgan Hazard and Steffen Tigges on the scoresheet.
Stuttgart vs Augsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Sixteenth plays 14th in Baden-Wurttemberg as Stuttgart look to draw level on points with fellow strugglers Augsburg.
With 26 goals conceded, Stuttgart have the league’s second-worst home defensive record. They are the only team yet to keep a clean sheet at home this term.
Encouragingly for the Swabians, Augsburg have scored only 10 away goals — the fewest in the division with the exception of Hertha Berlin and Bochum (nine).
Stuttgart’s 3-2 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Matchday 26 was their only win in 11 games however, and they suffered a 4-1 loss in the reverse fixture on Halloween.
The hosts can expect a fairly direct approach from Augsburg, who have completed a league-low 63 sequences of 10+ passes this season and whose average passage of play lasts 6.21 seconds.
Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 4.30pm)
Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen will be happy to be back on the road after consecutive 1-0 home defeats to Koln and Atalanta.
With their Europa League participation over for another year, they will be keen to secure their first away win in six weeks to keep their top-four challengers at bay.
Across the course of the season, only Bayern and Dortmund have collected more away points than Die Werkself's 22.
The hosts, meanwhile, will be aiming to make it three home wins out of four and did beat Leverkusen 2-0 earlier in the campaign thanks to goals from Lukas Nmecha and Maximilian Arnold.
That success means Wolfsburg are now unbeaten in their last four meetings against Sunday's opponents, winning three and drawing one.
RB Leipzig vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday, 2.30pm)
RB Leipzig must win to ensure they will still be fourth come the end of the weekend. The Red Bulls come up against an Eintracht Frankfurt side who have won four of their last five six games.
The visitors have taken more points on the road (21) this season than at home (16), but they have never won at the Red Bull Arena.
Leipzig also boast a 100% record this term when taking the lead at home, something they have done eight times in 13 fixtures.
However, Eintracht have gained 14 points from losing positions — more than any other team bar Hoffenheim (21).
Indeed, they salvaged a point after trailing in the previous meeting with Leipzig when Tuta grabbed a 94th-minute equaliser.
The weekend's other fixtures
Bochum vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Friday, 7.30pm)
Mainz vs Arminia Bielefeld (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Hertha Berlin vs Hoffenheim (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Greuther Furth vs Freiburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
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