Bundesliga Matchday 8: Bayern bidding to bounce back against Leverkusen
Bayern Munich face a battle with struggling Bayer Leverkusen as they bid to end their poor run of form.
Title-chasing Borussia Dortmund and surprise league Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin are both on the road with tricky encounters against FC Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively.
Struggling RB Leipzig will be hoping to bounce back from a demoralising defeat when they host rock-bottom Bochum.
Meanwhile, winless Stuttgart take on second-bottom side Wolfsburg in a clash that could be significant in the relegation battle even at this early stage of the season.
Game of the week: Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen (Friday, 7.30pm)
By their incredibly lofty standards, Bayern are in something of a crisis. They have not failed to win four consecutive league games since 2001-02 and their tally of 12 points is their lowest at this stage of a Bundesliga season in 12 years.
However, Leverkusen are enduring their second-worst ever start to a top-flight campaign, managing just five points so far and sitting 15th in the table.
Bayern will feel confident of at least finding the net against their struggling opponents, having done so in each of their last 32 Bundesliga meetings at home and boasting the highest expected goals tally of any team in the division this season (17.5).
FC Cologne vs Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Dortmund make the trip to Cologne sitting second in the Bundesliga table — but they have altered their approach somewhat compared to recent seasons, becoming a little more cautious.
BVB have netted just nine times in the league so far — in the last 30 years, they have only scored fewer at this stage of a season once.
However, their four clean sheets at this point is a tally they have only ever bettered twice.
Both these sides have been defensively sound in the German top flight this term, with only Bayern facing fewer shots than Cologne (65) or Dortmund (76).
Additionally, the hosts have faced the fewest shots on target (21), while BVB registered an expected goals against tally of just 0.07 against Schalke — the lowest of any team in a Bundesliga game this season.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Union Berlin (Saturday, 2.30pm)
This clash sees the Bundesliga’s two form sides go head-to-head. In the last four rounds of the competition, only Union have picked up more points (10) than Frankfurt’s nine.
Additionally, the league leaders are on a 14-game unbeaten league run (11 wins, three draws) and have conceded a league-low four times so far.
However, Union have recorded the fewest clear-cut chances in the division (six) and have significantly outperformed their expected goals tally of 6.4, scoring 15 times.
Frankfurt will hope to exploit set-pieces to their advantage against the table-toppers, scoring a league-high six times from such situations, while three of the four strikes the visitors have conceded have been from dead balls.
RB Leipzig vs Bochum (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Leipzig are enduring their worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season. They have never scored fewer (nine) or conceded more (12) after seven games in the competition and sit 12th in the table.
However, they host Bochum, who are in last place with just one point so far, next. The visitors, too, have had their worst start to a Bundesliga campaign, with a -14 goal difference to add to their solitary point.
Leipzig, who have won all of their eight points this term at home, can lean on their perfect record of seven Bundesliga wins from seven against Bochum, who have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 top-flight outings.
Wolfsburg vs Stuttgart (Sunday, 7.45pm)
It is difficult to say which of these two sides will be more desperate for all three points in this game.
Stuttgart have never had to wait so long for a Bundesliga victory but are just above 17th-placed Wolfsburg on goal difference.
The visitors’ record on the road in this competition is woeful, with no victories in their last 13 such games (eight draws, five defeats).
However, Wolfsburg are Stuttgart’s favourite opponent, having recorded more Bundesliga wins against them (19) than any other team since 1997.
The weekend’s other games
Freiburg vs Mainz (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Hertha Berlin vs Hoffenheim (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Schalke vs Augsburg (Sunday, 4.30pm)
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