Bundesliga Matchday 28: Dortmund look to clip RB Leipzig’s wings
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund face tricky contests in a big weekend at the top of the Bundesliga.
BVB come into their clash with improving RB Leipzig six points off the leaders, who travel to top-four contenders Freiburg.
Meanwhile, at the foot of the table, second-bottom Arminia Bielefeld host Stuttgart in a huge relegation six-pointer.
Game of the week: Freiburg vs Bayern Munich (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Bayern make the trip to Freiburg looking to stay clear at the top by claiming a 10th away win of the season.
The hosts have suffered only two home defeats this term — the joint-fewest in the league — and are unbeaten in six games at the Europa-Park Stadion, winning four.
But Bayern have lost just one of their last 37 Bundesliga encounters with the Breisgau Brazilians — 2-1 at this ground on the penultimate weekend of the 2014-15 campaign.
After 27 matches, Freiburg have already equalled their final points total of 45 from last season and only in 1994-95 have they had more points at this stage (53).
This game sees the division’s two meanest defences go head-to-head. Bayern have conceded 28 goals so far and Freiburg 29.
Goals from Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski secured a 2-1 victory for Julian Nagelsmann’s side in November’s reverse fixture.
Here are the other big games to watch this weekend…
Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Dortmund will be hoping for an unlikely slip-up from Bayern and they look to make it 12 home wins from 14 when RB Leipzig come to town.
But the visitors have taken 23 points from the last 30 available and won their last three away games.
Having scored only once in each of their last four outings, Dortmund will be hoping to avoid going five matches without finding the net more than once for the first time since 2014.
But Marco Rose’s men could have their work cut out against a team who have let in a joint-low 15 Bundesliga goals on the road this term.
The visitors will be looking to do the double over BVB, having won this season’s previous meeting 2-1 thanks to goals from Christopher Nkunku and Yussuf Poulsen.
Arminia Bielefeld vs Stuttgart (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Victory for Arminia Bielefeld will take them above Stuttgart and possibly out of the relegation zone — but they will have to snap a four-match losing streak.
The visitors have started to turn things around, losing only one of their last five games but they could really do with stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time since May.
Arminia have not given their fans much to cheer about at the Bielefelder Alm this season, with their two home victories and 13 home points both Bundesliga lows.
However, Stuttgart have won just once on the road this term, faring worse in that respect than any other team apart from rock-bottom Greuther Furth (no away wins).
A first-half strike from Masaya Okugawa was enough for Arminia to win the reverse meeting 1-0.
Hoffenheim vs Bochum (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Sixth-placed Hoffenheim entertain Bochum knowing that a win could see them climb into the Champions League spots.
In Bochum, they face a team who have picked up just eight points from a possible 39 on their travels this season.
Hoffenheim have not lost any of their last 12 home games against newly-promoted opposition. This is their first such match of the current campaign, though.
Unsurprisingly given their miserable away record, Bochum have struggled to score on the road. No side has managed fewer away goals than their nine.
However, Bochum can take some hope from their previous encounter with Hoffenheim, which they won 2-0 thanks to goals by Soma Novothny and Milos Pantovic.
Leverkusen vs Hertha Berlin (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Some inconsistency of late has Leverkusen looking over their shoulder in third, meaning they will be doubly determined to make it back-to-back wins when Hertha Berlin visit.
But Hertha are in greater need of three points — and they too are searching for a second successive victory, having got off to a winning start under Felix Magath last time out (3-0 over Hoffenheim).
Leverkusen have found the visitors something of a bogey team in recent years, failing to win any of their last five meetings with them — their longest such run against any current Bundesliga club.
Encouragingly for the hosts, Hertha are winless in eight on the road, suffering six defeats. Their current four-match away losing streak is their longest for almost three years.
Die Werkself had Robert Andrich to thank last time the sides met. The midfielder’s 90th-minute equaliser salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw at the Olympiastadion.
The weekend’s other games
Union Berlin vs Koln (Friday, 7.30pm)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Greuther Furth (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Augsburg vs Wolfsburg (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Mainz (Sunday, 4.30pm)