Its not Bayern, not Dortmund but Bayer Leverkusen who go into matchday 3 with a perfect record. The league’s new boys Paderborn and Koln have made impressive starts while last season’s surprise package, Augsburg are yet to win a point. The Hard Tackle previews matchday 3 of the 2014-2015 Bundesliga season.
Leverkusen look for third straight win
An impressive 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund and a 4-2 to follow that up against Hertha last matchday has seen Bayer Leverkusen top the table. They are the only side to have a 100 % record so far in this season’s campaign. After struggling to create much in the final third though-out last season, Roger Schmidt’s attacking approach as certainly reaped rewards with Leverkusen scoring 6 in their openings games. The rick influx of youth into the side as certainly helped. Wide man Karim Bellarabi and young Hakan Calhanoglu have been a revelation in building up Leverkusen’s attacks and the side finally have an alternative to Stefan Kießling in Swiss forward Josip Drmić.
They host Werder Bremen, the northern side who have started quietly with couple of draws. They showed a lot of grit in grinding out a 1-1 draw last matchday against Hoffenheim and Dutt will be looking for some similar showings against in form Leverkusen.
Loanee Kyriakos Papadopoulos is yet to make an official debut but with Toprak and Boenisch performing admirably at the back, Schmidt will stick to the same backline. Castro should continue in midfield alongside Rolfes or Reinartz with Bender still sidelined.
Schmidt will want his side to keep up the early momentum and build on from this. Leverkusen over the last few season’s have had promising starts but have failed to capitalize on them.
Bayer Leverkusen (4-3-3): Leno—Jedvaj, Toprak, Boenisch,Spahić—Castro, Rolfes,Calhanoglu—Son, Bellarabi, Kießling
Werder Bremen (4-2-3-1) : Wolf – Busch,Lukimya,Garcia,Caldirola – Makiadi, Junuzović -Fritz, Hajrović,Elia-Sandro
Leverkusen 2-0 Werder Bremen
Bavarians vs Swabians
If league football isn’t just enough, derby day brings about that extra bit of excitement to all fans. The South German derby between Bayern Munich and Stuttgart has always been keenly contested though the last 8 meetings between the two have been won by Bayern. Despite the record, Stuttgart have pushed their neighbours with the 3-2 scoreline duing the DFB Pokal final
The Bavarians under Pep Guardiola have adopted the 3-4-3 this season with the Spanish gaffer utilizing Dante, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba/Lahm in the backline. His biggest worry will be central midfield. New German skipper Bastain Schweinsteiger, Thiago and Martinez are all sidelined leaving the gaffer with options of new signing Alonso, Rode, Alaba and youngsters Gaudino and Højbjerg to fill in midfield slots. Bayern’s new defensive signing Benatia is yet to make an appearance and if he sits on the bench, skipper Lahm is likely to take up a defensive position alongwith Boateng and Badstuber. Robert Lewandowski scored his first league goal for the side on matchday 2 and his delightful interplay with his attacking colleagues was a treat to watch. With Robben and Ribery back in action, Pep will have quite a selection dilemma for the coming game.
The only major injury worries for Stuttgart manager Armin Veh is that of his strikers Daniel Ginczek and Mohammed Abdellaoue. His primary concern will definitely be on the other end of the pitch. Stuttgart despite a valiant showing against Gladbach on opening day conceded a late goal and two goals conceded against new boys Koln will certainly be a cause for concern. On-loan Chelsea midfielder Romeu has made a good start to his Bundesliga career and should feature.
VfB Stuttgart (4-2-3-1): Ulreich — Sakai,Schwaab, Rüdiger, Klein – Oriol Romeu,Gentner- Harnik, Holzhauser, Maxim — Ibišević
Bayern Munich (3-4-2-1): Neuer—Lahm, Badstuber, Boateng — Alaba, Alonso, Rode, Götze — Müller,Robben—Lewandowski
Bayern 3-0 Stuttgart
Klopp needs to re-think approach
Dortmund were pushed to the limits by Augsburg on matchday 2 and came out with a narrow 3-2 win. But what would have pleased Klopp and BVB fans was the performance of Marco Reus. The versatile attacker looked to be back at his best scoring a goal and setting up another. But yet again the International break seems to have put a spoke in the Dortmund wheel. Reus got injured during Germany’s Euro qualifiers against Scotland and is expected to be out for a month. Polish winger Jakub Blaszczykowski seems to have aggravated his injury during training and is expected to be out for the same amount of time. Ciro Immobile took a knock while playing for Italy and Shinji Kagawa seems to have strain his groin. Both though should make the bench on Saturday.
Dortmund’s best player so far has been Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has been impressive on the flanks. In the absence of both Reus and Kuba, expect Klopp to play him on the flanks again. New skipper Mat Hummels isn’t back yet and that would mean Subotic and Papastathopoulos assuming duties at the heart of the defense. Bender who played 15 minutes against Augsburg should start partnering either Kehl,Kirch or Jojić.
Freiburg coming at back of a defeat and draw look unlikely to trouble Klopp’s men. They have hardly looked comfortable at the back after losing Baumann and Ginter over the summer.The visit would be a special one for Matthias Ginter who will be facing his boyhood club after having moved from Freiburg to Dortmund during the summer.
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller—Piszczek, Subotic,Sokratis, Durm—Jojic, Bender- Mkhitaryan,Aubameyang, Großkreutz- Ramos
Freiburg (4-2-3-1): Bürki— Kempf, Sorg, Günter, Krmaš – Darida, Schuster- Klaus, Schmid, Schahin- Mehmedi
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 SC Freiburg
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
Hoffenhem who have made an impressive start host Wolfsburg while Mainz travel to the capital to play Hertha Berlin. The North Rhine-Westphalia witnesses its second derby as Schalke 04 pay a visit to Gladbach. New boys Paderborn and Kln have both made good starts to life in the top flight with a draw and a win. They face of each other on Saturday. Augsburg are yet gain a point and they will be looking to do so against Frankfurt while Hamburg who fell to an embarrassing defeat to Paderborn on Matchday 2 will face off Hannover.