Matchday 5 in the Bundesliga features an action-packed Saturday. From Dortmund’s undefeated streak to Hannover’s chances against Bayern, THT has your weekend preview.
Dortmund out to set the record straight
Remember when Hamburg beat Dortmund 3-2? How about when they beat Dortmund 4-1? HSV pulled off one of the shocks of 2012/13 when they did the league double over BVB. As these two storied sides clash again at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, Dortmund will be eager to show who’s the top dog once and for all.
Though last year’s results will undoubtedly be on HSV’s minds, memories will do little to help them in the task that they now face. Undefeated after four matchdays, Borussia Dortmund look better than ever this season. However an untimely international break will have disrupted their momentum, and an injury to Blaszczykowski does not help matters either. On the other hand, BVB youngster Jonas Hofmann has been stellar and this could be an opportunity for him to really step it up.
And Thorsten Fink has troubles of his own. Rafael van der Vaart and Marcell Jansen are both still struggling to return from injury, and Artjom Rudnevs and Milan Badelj will both miss the match.
“We want to be the first team to take points off Dortmund this season,” Fink said before the match. But the coach was realistic about HSV’s chances: “We’ll have to bite, fight and claw our way to three points.”
Klopp meanwhile remains confident in his team. Though HSV were impressive against Eintracht Braunschweig last matchday, Klopp reminded everyone that the newly-promoted Lions are hardly in the same league as BVB.
“We are looking to get things straight after the last match against [HSV],” Klopp said.
The stage is set. The gauntlet cast. This Saturday, Hamburg are out to make history repeat itself and abscond with three points from Signal Iduna Park.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer – Bender, Sahin – Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus – Lewandowski
Hamburger SV: Adler – Diekmeier, Djourou, Westermann, Lam – Rincon – Arslan, Jiracek – Van der Vaart – Zoua, Beister
Lightning seldom strikes twice, and just looking at the injury lists, Hamburg have a veritable Everest to climb. Dortmund 2-0 Hamburg.
Troubled Bayern host wary Hannover
The last time Hannover faced Bayern Munich, the 96ers crashed to a 6-1 defeat. And that was a home match. On Saturday, Hannover travel to the Allianz Arena, a trip that has put the fear of god into many a football side.
Then again, teams of yesteryear weren’t facing a Bayern side headed by Pep Guardiola. Over the summer, there were many who predicted that the master tactician would take Bayern to greater heights than ever before. But reality has not been as kind as these journalists. Guardiola’s Bayern drew 1-1 against Freiburg before the international break — a result that disgruntled Matthias Sammer, who described it as “careless” and “annoying,” and demands better of the team this time around.
Guardiola remains calm for the moment, but is also realistic. “I’ve learned how difficult the Bundesliga is,” he said. Bayern currently trail rivals Dortmund by two points, but as Guardiola himself points out, there is plenty of time yet to make up for lost ground.
One major worry for Bayern is Bastian Schweinsteiger’s fitness. The midfield lynchpin is still recovering from an ankle injury. He has taken part in some training sessions, but Guardiola is unsure if Schweinsteiger will be up for playing the full 90 on Saturday. With Martinez and Alcantara also sidelined, it may be up to the versatile Toni Kroos to step in.
Injury has not passed over Hannover either. Mame Diouf picked up a knock while on international duty with Senegal; team captain Steve Cherundolo remains unavailable; and Szabolcs Huszti is serving out his two-match suspension.
Mirko Slomka is realistic about his side’s chances in this match. “Bayern have to have an off day, while we have to be highly focused,” said Slomka. “Even if we manage that, it’s no guarantee we’ll get anything, but the nice thing about football is there are always chances.”
Bayern Munich: Neuer – Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba – Schweinsteiger – Robben, Müller, Kroos, Ribery – Mandzukic
Hannover 96: Zieler – Sakai, Marcelo, Sane, Pocognoli – Stindl, Andreasen – Bittencourt, Prib – Ya Konan, Sobiech
Hannover are not exactly known for away match shockers, but it could be close. Bayern 2-1 Hannover
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga…
Elsewhere in Bavaria, Augsburg face off against Freiburg in the battle of two little teams that could. Farther up north, Schalke pay a visit to Adam Szalai’s former club Mainz 05. The Royal Blues have had a miserable time on the road this season, while Mainz have not dropped a single point at the Coface Arena so far.
And after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Schalke on Matchday 4, Bayer Leverkusen look to rebound by extending their perfect home record against VfL Wolfsburg. Meanwhile Eintracht Frankfurt return to one of their favorite hunting grounds: Werder Bremen, against whom they have picked up 30 wins.
And on Sunday, Hoffenheim host Borussia Monchengladbach, while newly-promoted Eintracht Braunschweig look for their first points of the season against FC Nuremberg.