Bundesliga matchday nine preview: Back to standard time?


What kind of crazy will happen this week as Germany returns to standard time on Sunday? Welcome to matchday nine (all times CT).

We have a Revierderby this weekend and Borussia Mönchengladbach amazingly still top of the table despite losing last week to Dortmund. That’s also thanks to teams like RB Leipzig, Wolfsburg, and Bayern Munich failing to win either last week.

MAINZ vs. FC KÖLN (Friday at 1:30pm, FS2):

With just six points from eight matches, and a bad goal difference, the 05ers are second-bottom of the table at the moment. Captain Danny Latza has already dubbed this match a “relegation battle.” However, he will play no part in it due to a knee injury. Riddle Baku is expected to deputize. 

Four points from their past two games has seen the Billy Goats out of the bottom three and into 15th. Coach Achim Beierlorzer is likely to name the same XI for the third match running after a 3-0 win last week over Paderborn. Jorge Mere returns from suspension as well.

SCHALKE vs. BORUSSIA DORTMUND  (Saturday at 8:30am, FS2)

Twice the Royal Blues have had a chance to go top of the table, but twice they have failed to do so after a draw with FC Köln and then a loss to Hoffenheim. However, this Saturday presents the Revierderby and a chance to deal another blow to Dortmund’s title hopes like they did last season at the Signal Iduna. Back then, they were 42 points behind BVB. Coming into Saturday, the gap is just one.

Jadon Sancho’s reported tardiness saw him dropped from the side that defeated Gladbach last Saturday, but could return for this one at the Veltins. Paco Alcacer could also return after missing the last two matches due to an Achilles’ tendon problem. Roman Bürki should also be fit despite going off early against Gladbach with a knee complaint.  

BAYERN MUNICH vs. FC UNION BERLIN (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Plus)

The good news for Bayern is that Robert Lewandowski continues to score at will with 18 in all competitions so far. They also put their draw with Augsburg behind them with victory at Olympiakos in the Champions League. The bad news is that Nicklas Süle is likely done for the year and Lucas Hernandez until the new year with knee injuries. Expect Jerome Boateng to fill in alongside Benjamin Pavard in hopes for three points. 

Union also got out of the drop zone last weekend with a 2-0 decision over Freiburg. Rafael Gikiewicz will try to do what no other goalkeeper in the Bundesliga has done so far this season—keep Lewandowski off the score sheet. Failure to do so and other results going against them could see the Iron Men back into the drop zone.

HERTHA BERLIN vs. HOFFENHEIM (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer MatchPass)

Hertha are on a nice run after seven points from their last three matches. However, they have won just once in their last 11 against Hoffenheim. Niklas Stark could return to action after a freak accident on international duty. Karim Rekik could play in his place otherwise. Matthew Leckie is fit again and could feature. 

Andrej Kramaric returned to action with a goal in the 2-0 win over Schalke last weekend. He will look to add to his 12 goals this calendar year. The Sinsheimers are looking for their third win on the bounce and get into the top half of the table. 

SC FREIBURG vs. RB LEIPZIG (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Few would have forecast Freiburg to have as many wins as Bayern, Dortmund, and Leipzig at this time of the season, but that’s where we find ourselves at present. Freiburg is right behind all three of them following a 2-0 reverse to Union last weekend. They can take heart that they have won their last two against Leipzig at the Schwarzwald-Stadion Mark Flekken will deputize in goal for Alexander Schwolow after the latter was injured last week. 

Leipzig have one just once in their last five in Bundesliga play. They did get a lift in the Champions League after victory over Zenit St. Petersburg. Timo Werner is expected back in the starting XI after being rested in midweek. Marcel Halstenberg is expected back as well following injury. Tyler Adams is still not, though.

SC PADERBORN vs. FORTUNA DÜSSELDORF (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

Paderborn are still looking for their first win of the year and are rock bottom of the Bundesliga. They have also conceded a league-high 22 goals after eight matches. They are just the third team to have just one point after eight matches in Bundesliga history. Sven Michel and Streli Mamba should be back up front after a conservative approach against FC Köln was not super effective. 

Fortuna ended a six-match winless run of their own after a win over Mainz last week. Zack Steffen got his first Bundesliga clean sheet in the win. Chance are good for another clean sheet as Paderborn are one of five teams still on single digits in terms of goals scored. 

BAYER LEVERKUSEN vs. WERDER BREMEN (Saturday at 11:30am, FS2)

Die Werkself is winless in their last four in all competitions and had slid to back end of the log jam at the top in ninth—just two points back of leaders Gladbach. They are unbeaten in their last seven home matches in the league and will look to Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland to support Lucas Alario. 

The Green-Whites are also winless in their last four, though their last three matches were draws. Josh Sargent got his second goal of the season last week against Hertha. Milot Rashica is back fit and could join him in attack. Yuya Osaka is back in training for Bremen, but the match may come too soon for him. 

WOLFSBURG vs. FC AUGSBURG (Sunday at 9:30am, FS1)

Second place-Wolfsburg welcome back John Brooks back into the fold after a groin injury. Wout Weghorst scored again in the draw against Leipzig last week and has five of the Wolves’ 11 goals on the year so far. They are just behind Gladbach on goal difference. Five is also the total number of goals that Wolfsburg has conceded so far this season as they remain the only unbeaten team in the Bundesliga, 

Despite the draw against Bayern, Augsburg remain in the bottom three and are ahead of Mainz on goals scored. Florian Niederlechner is expected to start up front ahead of Alfred Finnbogason. Die Fuggerstädter has won just once this season.


Despite defeat to BVB last week, the Foals remain top on goal difference as other teams before them failed to win themselves. They may not be top come kickoff time on Sunday, but will be coming off a valuable point against Roma in the Europa League on Thursday. Lars Stindl scored his first goal since March in the match. Matthias Ginter is expected to emerge from a shoulder injury.

Eintracht saw off Standard Liege in the Europa League and are unbeaten in their last six competitive matches. Goncalo Paciencia got his first Bundesliga brace last weekend. Silva is expected to be back from a foot injury, but Kevin Trapp is not after shoulder surgery. Pacicencia, Silva, and Bas Dost have combined for 11 of the Eagles’ 14 goals this season. 


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