Paderborn have begun life in the top division in scintillating fashion but they face their biggest test this week, record champions Bayern Munich. Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04 face cellar dwellers, hoping to move in the right direction after some disappointing outing over the last fortnight.
From Stoppelkamp magic to stunning the Allianz
At the start of the season, this would have seemed the most lopsided fixture. But things haven’t gone as expected, and Paderborn sit atop the league table, ahead of Bayern Munich on goal difference. Andre Breitenreiter’s side has dealt with some Bundesliga regulars in the first four matchdays but all these sides have lacked the sort of firepower that Bayern do.
Bayern, on the other hand, haven’t begun in the manner in which fans would have expected. Dropping points against struggling Hamburg and Schalke have put a dent in their plans but a game against newly promoted Paderborn may be just what the doctor ordered.
Elias Kachunga has been Paderborn’s key attacking figure, netting three goals already. With Bayern often playing with a very high line, Kachunga’s pace will come to use. Paderborn have also looked comfortable allowing their opponents to build slowly and this will work extremely well against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern. Catching them on the counter seems to be the only way to score against Bayern, and this Paderborn side looks very capable of carrying out this plan to perfection.
Bayern continue to dominate sides one the possession front but their finishing has been a cause for worry this season. With just five goals in the first four games, Guardiola’s faith in Robert Lewandowski is bound to be waning. Thomas Müller continues to look like Bayern’s most potent threat but the lack of support is worrying at the moment.
Paderborn are far from favorites in this fixture but there is a good chance that the new boys will be able to eke out at least a point at the daunting Allianz Arena. Moritz Stoppelkamp scored a mind boggling 83 meter goal and it might take a similar effort from a Paderborn player if Breitenreiter’s boys are to return home with all three points.
This should be an interesting affair that could go either way. Bayern’s European outings and long injury list make life a lot harder and another draw seems very likely. Paderborn’s superb start to life in the top flight looks likely to continue.
Bayern Munich (3-4-3): Neuer; Benatia, Dante, Boateng; Rafinha, Lahm, Rode, Alaba; Müller, Lewandowski, Shaqiri
SC Paderborn (4-1-4-1): Kruse; Wemmer, Strohdiek, Hünemeier, Brueckner; Ziegler; Koc, Vrancic, Rupp, Stoppelkamp; Kachunga
Bayern Munich 1-1 SC Paderborn
The North Rhine Westphalia contingent looks to return to winning ways
Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and Borussia Mönchengladbach have all made North Rhine Westphalia the most well represented German state in continental competition, even pushing Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga at various points in the past. But their current season hasn’t begun the way they would have liked.
Leverkusen and Dortmund have had games in which they’ve looked absolutely unstoppable, Schalke have pulled off gritty results against top opposition, and Gladbach have massacred Schalke. But consistency has been lacking at all these European hopefuls and given their relatively weak opposition this week, they will be hoping to return to winning ways after a terribly disappointing matchday 4.
Dortmund’s tame showing against Mainz didn’t help their cause at all but facing off against a toothless Stuttgart side will surely be the perfect way to set things right. Unfortunately for Jürgen Klopp, Henkrikh Mkhitaryan has been added to the long injury list at the club. This seriously cuts down Klopp’s attacking options but given Stuttgart’s appalling beginning, a win seems highly likely for BVB.
Schalke, who currently languish in 16th place, host Werder Bremen, in what will be a good test for the Royal Blues. Neither side has a single win yet nor can they defend as well as they would have hoped. Schalke have conceded nine goals, while Bremen have let in ten; numbers neither side can be proud of. Jens Keller will be hoping that his side can muster the sort of drive that they displaced against both Bayern and Chelsea. A win is a must for Schalke if they are to keep pace with the European pack.
Like Dortmund, Gladbach face a side in tumult: Hamburger SV. The Dinosaur has struggled for over a year now and even their recent dip into the transfer market doesn’t seem to be helping their cause. Lucien Favre hasn’t managed to get his stride working in fifth gear yet but there are signs that the Foals are on the rise. Their recent showing against Villareal and a 4-1 massacre of Schalke point in their favor but like their neighbors, consistency has been lacking. Despite this, anything but a win for Gladbach would come as a huge surprise.
The Roger Schmidt era began in phenomenal fashion for Leverkusen but their recent results have been embarrassing. A sloppy draw against Bremen was followed by a drab loss to Monaco, and their woes were compounded by a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Wolfsburg on Sunday. Their opponents this week, FC Augsburg, will be far from pushovers but they are the type of side that could allow Leverkusen to get a grip of things and dominate. A one-sided affair? Probably not. But putting your money on a Leverkusen win would be a safe bet.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfB Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 2-2 Schalke 04
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Hamburger SV
Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 FC Augsburg
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
High flying Hoffenheim host SC Freiburg on Tuesday in what will probably be a one-sided affair, while Eintracht Frankfurt and Mainz 05 face off to close up the day’s fixtures. Wednesday sees Hannover 96 welcome Peter Stöger’s stingy Köln side, and Hertha Berlin facing off VfL Wolfsburg with the hope of distancing themselves from the relegation zone.