Bundesliga Matchday 29 Preview: Crossroads


After Bayern Munich’s 5-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker last Saturday, we will either have a title race go down to the final day, or Bayern could run away with their seventh consecutive crown. Either RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt will consolidate their Champions League places, or they will leave the door open for Borussia Mönchengladbach. Either Gladbach will remain in the European chase, or get caught by several teams. We’re at a crossroads now. Welcome to Matchday 29.

FC NÜRNBERG vs. SCHALKE 04 (Friday at 1:30pm CT, FS2)

(Matchday 12:  Schalke 5-2 FC Nürnberg)

Der Club have given themselves a fighting chance to stay in the top flight with four points from their last two matches. A win against Schalke will move them within a point of Stuttgart in 16th place pending what they do against Bayer Leverkusen. The defense has shored up, relatively speaking, in seven matches under Boris Schommers conceding just seven goals. Only three other teams (Bayern, Leipzig, and Frankfurt) have conceded fewer.

The Royal Blues have conceded twice as many in the last seven matches. They have lost seven of their last nine matches. They do get a boost as Weston McKennie has recovered earlier than expected from an ankle injury, but also a setback as Mark Uth is lost for the season with a groin injury. 

RB LEIPZIG vs. VFL WOLFSBURG (Saturday at 8:30am CT, FS1)

(Matchday 12:  VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 RB Leipzig)

RB Leipzig are unbeaten in their last ten league matches and are seven points clear of fifth place Gladbach. They have also scored nine goals in their last two matches. Yussuf Poulsen is expected to return to the fold alongside Timo Werner after missing last week with a cold, but central defense might be an issue with Willi Orban suspended and Dayot Upamecano out with a knee injury. 

Wolfsburg are currently a point clear in the race for sixth place. The Wolves have already ended one ten-match unbeaten streak this season against Leipzig in November on Matchday 12. However, goalkeeper Koen Casteels is set to miss the rest of the season to a thigh injury, so Pavao Pervan will deputize. Midfield duo Yannick Gerhardt and Maximilian Arnold are set to return after missing the Hannover match, with Renato Steffen expected to partner Admir Mehmedi and top scorer Wout Weghorst in attack.

VFB STUTTGART vs. BAYER LEVERKUSEN (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Plus)

(Matchday 12:  Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 VfB Stuttgart)

Die Schwaben had to rally to avoid defeat to FC Nürnberg last week to remain four points clear of the drop zone. However, they are five points adrift of outright safety coming into this weekend. While they are unbeaten in their last three at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, the only win in that was against lowly Hannover and it’s also the only win for Stuttgart in their last 13. 

Any chance Leverkusen would reach the top four is pretty much dead and their top six hopes are fading by the day. Peter Bosz’s side has lost three on the bounce and allowed 11 goals in that time. However, maintaining an attacking posture with Leon Bailey, Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Kevin Volland; would be a good idea against the second-most charitable defense. 

SV WERDER BREMEN vs. SC FREIBURG (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

(Matchday 12:  SC Frieburg 1-1 Werder Bremen)

The Green-Whites maintained their record in scoring in every match this season and are just two points adrift of sixth place. Bremen are also unbeaten in their last eleven as they seek a place in the Europa League for next season. Josh Sargent could return to the fold after missing out last week in the 1-1 draw against Gladbach. 

Die Breisgauer will likely be playing in the top flight next season as they are eleven points clear of the danger zone. They just have to avoid matches like last week’s 5-0 defeat to Mainz. One thing going for them is that Bremen have not defeated Freiburg at the Weser Stadion in seven and a half years. 

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

(Matchday 12:  Borussia MG 4-1 Hannover 96)

USA international Sebastian Soto made his Bundesliga debut last week for the 96ers, but the 96ers are looking more and more likely to be in Bundesliga 2 next season. They are seven points adrift of 16th place and lost their 20th match of the season last week against Wolfsburg.  

A chase for a Champions League spot has now become a battle to preserve a Europa League spot for the Foals. Marco Rose will succeed Dieter Hecking next season and that could inspire the players to be in the picture for next season. Thorgan Hazard will be looking to score for the first time in twelve matches. 

Sancho is expected to return this weekend | photo: Sky Sports.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND vs. MAINZ 05 (Saturday at 11:30am CT, FS1)

(Matchday 12:  Mainz 1-2 Borussia Dortmund)

BVB will look to rebound after a 5-0 thrashing to Bayern last week that dropped them to second place by a point. Dortmund are unbeaten at home this season, but a win against Mainz is essentially a must-win for them. Paco Alcacer and Lukasz Piszczek took part in team training on Tuesday. Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro are also expected to recover from minor complaints. Christian Pulisic remains out with a thigh injury.

Mainz were the last team in league play to win at the Signal Iduna last season in Matchday 33 that guaranteed their survival. Mainz are coming off a 5-0 win against Freiburg. However, they have lost their last five away matches. They will need Jean-Philippe Mateta firing on all cylinders again if they are going to repeat last year’s feat.

TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM vs. HERTHA BERLIN (Sunday at 6:30am CT, FS1)

(Matchday 12:  Hertha Berlin 3-3 Hoffenheim)

Ishak Belfodil scored a hat trick as the Sinsheimers thrashed Augsburg, 4-0, last week and are now just a point off the top six. He has scored nine times in the last eight matches and 13 overall. He is still second on the club to Andrej Kramaric who has 15 goals (including nine in his last ten). Only Robert Lewandowski of Bayern has scored more in 2019 with 11. 

Mid-table is the best the Capital Club can do now as they have lost four straight. The fact that Ondrej Duda is suspended for Sunday does not help matters. Marko Grujic’s fitness is also a doubt as any chance at Europe for Hertha will likely require getting lucky every time from now until the end of the season. 


(Matchday 12:  Bayern Munich 3-3 Fortuna Dusseldorf)

It was Fortuna’s 3-3 draw at the Allianz that sparked their change in fortunes and they have won four of the last six to be in tenth place and safety would be confirmed with a win or a Stuttgart loss. However, they are dealing with a long injury list that now includes Niko Gießelmann who has a calf injury. Dodi Lukebakio is available as scored a hat trick against Bayern last time out. 

Bayern are again top of the table after a 5-0 thrashing of BVB last week and have won seven of their last eight league matches. Robert Lewandowski has scored eight goals in his last five matches. It was after Matchday 12 that Bayern were in fifth and nine points adrift of BVB. You could say a reversal of fortunes in the Bundesliga also occurred for the better for them as well. 


(Matchday 12:  FC Augsburg 1-3 Eintracht Frankfurt)

Champions League football may not come via the Europa League if they do not turn around a 4-2 deficit to Benfica next week, but it may come via a top four finish. Frankfurt are three points clear of fifth-place Gladbach after a late, late penalty in a win over Schalke. The Eagles are unbeaten in league play in 2019 and have won six straight. Only once has Frankfurt followed a Europa League match with a loss in their last ten. 

Manuel Baum and his technical staff was shown the door after a 4-0 loss to Hoffenheim. FCA are in 15th, four points clear of 16th-place Stuttgart. Former Mainz and Wolfsburg manager Martin Schmidt has been tasked with keeping Augsburg in the top flight. Winning away would help, they have done that just once all season.


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