Matchday 2 concluded with the top 5 having won maximum points on offer, while the bottom five are all tied on no points. Dortmund, Bayern and Leverkusen all maintained their perfect starts last week while the goal scoring order was reversed, with clubs that received hammerings on matchday one pumping in goals at will. With last season’s European spot contenders Schalke, Freiburg and Frankfurt all struggling to start well, the Bundesliga has truly lived up to it unpredictable nature. TheHardTackle previews matchday 3 of the Bundesliga.
Yellow and Green clash to see who drops points first (Friday)
A goal difference of +2 separates two teams that sit 1st and 5th in the table and face off each other in the first game of matchday 3. Incidentally, Bremen and BVB have already played the same two teams, Eintracht Braunschweig and Augsburg, with Dortmund winning both matches by a fine margin.
Borussia Dortmund now play host to Werder Bremen on Friday evening at the Signal Iduna Park, hoping to continue their good start to the season. Robin Dutt’s Bremen have themselves made a surprising and fine start to the season winning both their games by a margin of 1-0. While the scores are nothing out of the ordinary, what is surprising is Bremen are the only side in the Bundesliga yet to concede a goal. Last season, the very same side sat 14th in the table, sporting a goal difference of -16 having conceded 66 in their 34 games. A combination of new faces at the back and Robin Dutt’s taking over of the managerial role seems to be working wonders for the men in Green and White. Even though it would seem that Bremen have hardly been tested so far, the organization at the back has been quite impressive over the two games.
The center back partnership of Assani Lukimya and 22-year-old Italian defender Luca Caldirola seems to be blossoming while Prödl, Selassie and Fritz provide able support to the backline. The key addition ex-Freiburg man Cédric Makiadi has definitely added the steel in midfield Bremen so missed last season. Wigan man Franco Do Santo is the latest addition to the roster and he should provide good support to Nils Petersen in the goal scoring department. Dutt will be travelling without midfielder Philipp Bargfrede and defender Lukas Schmitz, while new signee Di Santo remains a doubt as well.
Klopp, on the other hand, will be quite happy with the displays of his summer recruits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and ex-Bremen defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Sokratis and Henrikh got good run ins against Bruanschweig and though Dortmund struggled to a 2-1 win, glimpses of what the new boys can do for the side were clearly on display. Unlike last season, Klopp has an abundance of talent to choose from for his front line with last game’s hero Jonas Hofmann and youngsters Oliver Kirch and Marvin Ducksch also making serious claims after good pre-seasons. But he will know that getting at the right combination early on is crucial especially when it comes to a competitive league such as the Bundesliga. No new addition has been made to Dortmund’s injury list for the game.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer – Sahin, Bender – Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus – Lewandowski
Werder Bremen: Mielitz – Prödl , Caldirola , Lukimya , Selassie – Makiadi, Ekici – Arnautović, Junuzović, Elia – Petersen
Both teams come in with 100 % record but both haven’t really been tested this season. Klopp will be looking to use these games to get the team chemistry of his attack line going, while Dutt has a job of keeping things going smoothly after the good start. Borussia Dortmund 2 – 0 Werder Bremen.
Bavarians face off in Derby (Saturday)
The much awaited Bayrisches Derby or Fränkisch-Bairisches Derby between giants of Bavaria, Bayern Munich and Nürnberg takes place on matchday 3 as the former play hosts at the Allianz Arena. Michael Wiesinger will be hoping his side avoids the 4-0 hiding they received the last time. Nürnberg haven’t beaten Bayern in 11 meetings, and the last time they tasted victory in Munich was way back in the 1991-1992 season.
Bundesliga’s survival experts Nürnberg have started the season with two hard fought draws against Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin, but the short trip to face reigning champions Bayern will be their first real test of the season. They lost key defender Timm Klose in the summer and the replacements haven’t really given Wiesinger the same confidence. He will be without the services of midfield lynchpin Timo Gebhart and defender Marcos António, while hoping the attractive partnership of Hiroshi Kiyotake and Daniel Ginczek up front gives him reasons to smile.
Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola scrambled to a not so pretty 1-0 win over Frankfurt last weekend and will be keen to put that lethargic performance behind them . €37 million signing Mario Götze was expected to get some game time on matchday 2 but ended up watching the game from the bench. The German international should feature in the starting eleven this time around, and the Bayern gaffer will have quite a task in hand while selecting his starting eleven. Guardiola stuck to a 4-1-4-1 formation in the first two games using Schweinsteiger in the single pivot role while Kroos and Muller shared the burden in more attacking central midfield roles. It will be interesting to see if Guardiola sticks to the 4-1-4-1 or moves to his preferred 4-3-3 to accommodate Götze.
Bayern Munich: Neuer – Alaba, Dante, Boateng, Lahm – Schweinsteiger/Martinez – Kroos, Götze, Ribery, Muller – Mandzukic
Nürnberg: Schäfer – Pinola, Dabanlı, Chandler, Pogatetz – Balitsch, Stark – Mak, Kiyotake, Esswein – Ginczek
Bayern Munich 2 -0 Nürnberg
Leverkusen welcome Gladbach for the Rhineland Derby (Saturday)
As derbies go in the North Rhine-Westphalia, the Schalke-Dortmund match-up is best remembered in modern times, while Gladbach-Dortmund or Gladbach–Schalke proved to be big for old-timers of the Bundesliga. The lesser known but still heatedly fought Leverkusen-Gladbach derby is showcased on matchday 3 of the 2013-2014 season as Sami Hyypiä’s side host Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Bay Arena. The two teams reminded the Bundesliga that the derby cannot be taken lightly when they dished out a thrilling 6-goal draw the last time they met. In-fact their last 5 meetings have ended in 3 draws and a win apiece, indicating that the sides really don’t like to allow the other to have an edge in head to head battles.
The hosts as expected have started the season quite well, cruising to a 3-1 win over Frieburg on matchday 1 and a 1-0 courtesy of a Stuttgart own goal on matchday 2. Son, Sam and Kießling look to be on the verge of forming a lethal front line while the wise heads of Bender, Castro and Reinartz maintain stability in the middle of the park. Hyypiä does not have any major injury concerns and should have a full squad to choose from.
Gladbach buried their matchday 1 disappointments in some style as they romped to a 3-0 win over Hannover on matchday 2 with new boys Max Kruse and loanee Christoph Kramer (from Leverkusen) scoring goals. Kruse, who arrived from Freiburg over the summer, has been Favre’s choice to lead the attack while Brazilian playmaker Raffael has slotted in quite comfortably behind the new front man. Galdbach’s surprise package thus far has been on loan midfielder Kramer. The German U-20 international has been quite impressive in the two starts he’s got keeping out the likes of Nordtveit and Thorben Marx on the bench. Like his counterpart, Favre has no injury concerns for this derby.
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Spahić, Toprak, Wollscheid, Donati/Reinartz, Bender, Castro – Son, Sam, Kießling
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Ter Stegen – Daems, Domínguez, Stranzl, Jantschke – Xhaka, Kramer – Arango, Raffael, Herrmann – Kruse
A derby game however big or small is always special to the fans and players of both sides and generally dishes out a cracker of a game. Going by the recent history of games between these two, something along similar lines can be expected. Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga (Predictions)
- Hannover 96 vs Schalke 04 (1-1)
- Hoffenheim vs SC Freiburg (2-1)
- Mainz 05 vs VfL Wolfsburg (2-2)
- Hertha Berlin vs Hamburger SV (0-1)
- Eintracht Braunschweig vs Eintracht Frankfurt (1-2)
- FC Augsburg vs VfB Stuttgart (0-1)