Bundesliga Matchday 17 Preview: Twas the Matchday Before Christmas


It’s the last matchday before the Winter Break and we have a 1 vs. 2 matchup on Friday as well as some other holiday treats. However, Borussia Dortmund were apparently caught looking ahead to their match with Mönchengladbach after defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf in midweek. With Gladbach and Bayern winning, the lead is down to six points. It could be reduced to three by Christmas. Welcome to Matchday 17.


As stated earlier, BVB’s unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday against Fortuna and their lead at the top reduced to six points. Worse, Abdou Diallo and Manuel Akanji both picked up injuries in the loss and are doubts for Friday. What is going for Dortmund is that they are unbeaten at home with the only blemish a draw to Hertha Berlin and they have also won six straight against Gladbach. 

Lucian Favre coaches against the team he managed from 2011 to 2015 as Gladbach tries to half BVB’s lead at the top. However, the Foals have amassed just nine points in eight away matches while they have a 100% record at Borussia Park. Dieter Hecking is also dealing with injuries to his squad with Jonas Hofmann, Lars Stindl, Christoph Kramer, and Nico Elvedi, who all doubts; while Raffael, Tony Jantschke and ex-BVB man Matthias Ginter among those who will have to wait until the turn of the year before playing again.

BAYER LEVERKUSEN vs. HERTHA BERLIN (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Plus)

Die Werkself got a massive win against Schalke on Wednesday. That win put them within four points of the top six, but with four teams to pass. Every point counts if they want to play in Europe next season. They are on a decent run so far with ten points from their last five matches. 

Ondrej Duda ended a six-match goal drought in the win against Augsburg in midweek. They are one point behind 6th-place Wolfsburg. However, they have won just twice in their last ten matches since defeating Bayern. They need to starting winning again like they did at the start of the season to keep up with the top six chase. 

RB LEIPZIG vs. SV WERDER BREMEN (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Leipzig has slumped a bit losing three of their last five matches including Wednesday’s match against Bayern. However, the Red Bulls are unbeaten at Red Bull Arena and look to keep pace with the top three heading into the Winter Break. One more goal for Yussuf Poulsen, and he will match his goal total of the past two seasons combined with nine. 

Bremen’s last two trips to Leipzig ended in defeat. They did get a point against Hoffenheim in midweek, but have lost five of their last eight matches and are currently ninth in the table. Josh Sargent is expect to be on the bench while Max Kruse and Yuya Osako are expected to start for the Green-Whites. 

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

Stuttgart are looking to get out of the relegation playoff place, let alone the drop zone. They have alternated wins and losses in the last seven matches. They have lost their last three against the Royal Blues at the Mercedes-Benz Arena—scoring zero goals in those matches. Stuttgart have scored just eleven goals in this term so far which is worst in the Bundesliga. They need to start scoring if they are to start climbing.

Haji Wright became the eighth different American to score in the Bundesliga this season, though it was in defeat to Leverkusen. However, Amine Harit joined forwards Breel Embolo, Mark Uth, Franco Di Santo and Guido Burgstaller on the injured list. However, going to the MB Arena may prove to be a tonic they need as they have won their last three there. 

HANNOVER 96 vs. FORTUNA DUSSELDORF (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

The 96ers are currently in the drop zone and winless in their last five. Victory over Fortuna, plus Stuttgart winning over Schalke, can propel them out of the drop zone for the Winter Break. However, winning their last match of the Hinrunde is something Hannover have not done for 12 years. 

Fortuna have just 15 points on the year, but six of those have come against Bayern and Dortmund. Tuesday’s win was also meant back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Dodi Lukebakio leads the club with seven goals, including one against BVB on Tuesday. He is likely to start alongside the other goalscorer for Fortuna on Tuesday, Jean Zimmer.

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

Der Club are winless in their last ten, including five successive defeats after defeat by Gladbach on Tuesday, and are bottom. Also, they have not beaten Freiburg for 13 years. A win would lift the spirits before Christmas if not lift them off the bottom. 

Freiburg are a plucky side, but have won just once in their last seven. They are just four points clear of the danger zone as they head into Matchday 17. Still a lot to do for Christian Streich’s side before they can breathe a bit easier. 


It’s third vs. fifth in the table and fifth-place Eintracht will look to bounce back towards the Champions League places after a draw against Mainz on Wednesday. Luka Jovic scored a brace in the match to move level on the top of the scoring chart with Dortmund’s Paco Alcacer. While the Eagles did beat Bayern in the DFB Pokal Final last season, they are winless in their last 14 league meetings against the six-time defending champs.

Bayern have the best away record so far at six wins and two defeats and it’s been over eight years since they last lost at the Commerzbank Arena. There are some personnel worries though as Serge Gnabry has an adductor injury and Renato Sanches is suspended. Jerome Boateng has a trapped nerve and is a question mark for Saturday. 

FC AUGSBURG vs. VfL WOLFSBURG (Sunday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Augsburg were level on points with the Wolves after Matchday 9. Since then, they have fallen ten points behind them after a meager return of three points in seven matches. However, they have lost just once in their last seven against Wolfsburg.  Alfred Finnbogasson is a doubt to play as this would be the third match in a week after two injury layoffs already this season. 

Wolfsburg have quietly crept up the table since Matchday 9 and are now sixth after winning four of their last five, including back-to-back wins over Nürnberg and Stuttgart. The 13 points from those five matches is their best return since 2015. A win plus other results going their way could see them go even higher. However, a loss and results not going their way could plunge them out of the top six. 

TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM vs. MAINZ 05 (Sunday at 11am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Hoffenheim have become draw specialists as of late drawing their last five matches. Hoffenheim have slipped to seventh as a result. Reiss Nelson and Andrej Kramaric have each scored six goals for the Sinsheimers, though Nelson has scored that many in 479 minutes of play compared to 954 for Kramaric. 

Mainz had the lead twice in midweek against Frankfurt only to be pegged back twice for a draw. That extended their winless streak to three. The 05ers have not lost this season when Jean-Philippe Mateta has scored, but that has happened just four times this season.

Enjoy the games, Happy Holidays, and enjoy the Winter Break everybody! 


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