Bundesliga Matchday 15 Preview: Hinrunde Home Stretch


This is the home stretch of the Hinrunde with each team facing three matches in a span of about a week. Borussia Dortmund will finish the Hinrunde on top with a win while the other Borussia—Mönchengladbach—look to stay in second. As for Bayern Munich, they will look to keep within arm’s length of the top heading into the Winter Break. Welcome to Matchday 15.

FC NÜRNBERG vs. VfL WOLFSBURG (Friday at 1:30pm CT, FS2)

Der Club is winless in their last eight matches and really had no prayer against Bayern last Saturday. They are only ahead of 16th-place Stuttgart on goal difference. They also have the most charitable defense shipping 33 goals so far this season. One quantum of solace is that nine of their 11 points have come at home this season. Fabian Bredlow will continue to be in goal for the injured Christian Mathenia. 

Both John Brooks and William return from suspension for Wolfsburg, though Admir Mehmedi picked up a knock last week against Hoffenheim. The Wolves have won half of their six away matches this season and currently sit ninth in the table. Daniel Ginczek and Wout Wieghorst account for nine of the team’s 20 goals. 

HANNOVER 96 vs. BAYERN MUNICH (Saturday at 8:30am CT, FS1)

The 96ers will look to get out of the drop zone, but it’s a daunting task considering the opponent. Seven different Bayern players have had braces against Hannover in the last nine matches between the teams. Not helping matters is that defender Oliver Sorg is suspended for this match. 

Bayern will coming off a thrilling 3-3 draw against Ajax in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday. Thomas Muller may make his 300th Bundesliga appearance in this match while Kingsley Coman and Mats Hummels could make their 100th appearances for Bayern. Back-to-back league wins have Bayern in third just two points behind Gladbach in second. They will be without Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez, and maybe Leon Goretzka after picking up a knock against Ajax. 

TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM vs. BORUSSIA MÖNCHENGLADBACH (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Plus)

Hoffenheim’s run in the Champions League is over, but not their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga which stands at seven. Reiss Nelson and Andrej Kramaric—both on six goals for the Sinsheimers—may both start together after Hoffenheim’s trip to Manchester City on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, Thorgan Hazard and Alassane Plea both have eight goals each for Gladbach. Three second half goals against Stuttgart maintained the Foals’ 100% record at Borussia Park and second place standing. However, Gladbach have amassed just eight points away from Borussia Park and their last away match at Leipzig ended in defeat. Expect a goal fest in this one. The last ten matches between the sides have produced a total of 46 goals. 

FORTUNA DUSSELDORF vs. SC FREIBURG (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Fortuna have lost back-to-back matches since their draw with Bayern on Matchday 12 and are bottom of the table. They will look to avoid being bottom at Christmas time which could be a challenge with matches against Dortmund and Hannover ahead. 

Freiburg became just the second side this season to score more than once against RB Leipzig this season in league play. Nils Petersen—now level with Papiss Cisse as the club’s top Bundesliga scorer all-time—and Luca Waldschmidt will look to feast against the second most charitable defense in the Bundesliga. 

VfB STUTTGART vs. HERTHA BERLIN (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Stuttgart will be without Benjamin Pavard who suffered a thigh strain in their 3-0 loss to Gladbach last week. Before the Gladbach loss, they had won two of their last three, though still in the relegation playoff spot. However, points against Hertha could see them out of the danger zone. 

The Capital Club are back in the top six after back-to-back wins, the latter of them an impressive 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Marko Grujic’s return from injury has played a big part in Hertha’s return to good fortune. However, ruptured ankle ligaments on Tuesday mean that he will be out until 2019. 

FC AUGSBURG vs. SCHALKE 04 (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Augsburg are winless in eight and just two points clear of 16th place. That includes losing their last four matches and the wrong set of results could see them into the bottom three. Alfred Finnbogasson went off after an hour in the defeat to Leverkusen last week, but could still feature this Saturday against Schalke.

Schalke have no fewer than five strikers in the treatment room after Guido Burgstaller joined Franco di Santo, Breel Embolo, Steven Skrzbski, and Mark Uth there after last week’s loss to Dortmund in the Revierderby. Weston McKinnie and Haji Wright could both make starts in the match. The Royal Blues are themselves just three points clear of 16th and the relegation playoff place. 


BVB finished top of their UEFA Champions League group on Tuesday and will be top of the Bundesliga at Christmas with a win over Bremen on Saturday. A lot of first-teamers were rested against Monaco and are expected to return to action at the Signal Iduna including Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho. Dortmund look to become just the eighth club in Bundesliga history to go undefeated after 15 matches in a season. 

Josh Sargent did play for Bremen last week and scored off his first touch. He may be joined by Yuya Osako in attack. Last year, Bremen won 2-1 in Dortmund, but they would be hard-pressed to repeat that feat this time around. Their form also leaves something to be desired having lost three of their past five, though last week saw a win against Fortuna. 

RB LEIPZIG vs. FSV MAINZ 05 (Sunday at 8:30am CT, FS1)

Leipzig will be smarting after their Europa League campaign ended Thursday thanks to a late Rosenborg equalizer that allowed Celtic to go through to the last 32 despite defeat to sister-not-sister club FC Salzburg. Still, they are unbeaten at Red Bull Arena in league play, scoring 17 goals and conceding just three. They have the stingiest defense in the league allowing just 13 overall.

The 05ers have the third-stingiest defense in the league allowing just 15 goals, but have the second-worst attack with just 13 to their name. Mainz have lost just once in their last five matches and have won their last two away from home. 


Despite resting a number of regulars, Frankfurt finished their Europa League group with a 100% record after victory at Lazio. They should be at full strength as they look to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats to Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin. Luka Jovic has scored nine of his joint-league-leading 10 goals at the Commerzbank Arena.

Leverkusen are also through to the last 32 of the Europa League are on a three-match unbeaten run after a win over Augsburg last weekend. Lucas Alario could start after scoring the decider over Augsburg. It will be a reunion of sorts for goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky who moved from Frankfurt over the summer after helping them to the DFB Pokal last May. 


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