Bundesliga matchday 13 preview: This weekend’s feast


In Germany, it’s another weekend of action as it is now getting crowded at the top with eight teams separated by just five points.

Oh, and Jurgen Klinsmann is taking over Hertha Berlin on a caretaker basis. Welcome to matchday 13 (all times CT).

Hopefully, everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend will be as pleasant.

SCHALKE vs. UNION BERLIN (Friday at 1:30pm, FS2):

The Royal Blues have a chance to go top two for at least the overnight with a win over Union. Victory away to Werder Bremen vaulted them to fifth in the table. Amine Harit leads the league with six goals from midfield while Weston McKinnie, a finalist for US Men’s Player of the Year should return to the starting XI. 

Union are coming off a win over top of the table Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend. Three of their four wins have come against teams in the top four. They also have more points than their fellow promotion sides—Cologne and Paderborn—put together (16 vs. 12). The Iron Men have won three on the bounce and four of their last five in all competitions. 


Jurgen Klinsmann inherits a Hertha side that is currently 15th in the table just by goals scored over Fortuna Dusseldorf. Last week’s 4-0 defeat to Augsburg marked the end of Ante Covic’s tenure. Hertha Academy product Dennis Smarsch could start in goal while captain Vedad Ibisevic could also be restored to the lineup.

Dortmund have uncharacteristically been giving goals away like charity. The last three matches in all competitions has seen BVB concede ten goals including three against lowly Paderborn and three at Barcelona in Champions League play. Jadon Sancho did score a goal at the Nou Camp and should start in Berlin while Paco Alcacer and Thorgan Hazard should also feature after not doing so in Barcelona. 

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

Bottom-side Paderborn had a 3-0 lead at the Signal Iduna against Dortmund, but ended up in a 3-3 draw. Streli Mamba had a brace that day and will likely be counted on yet again against a Leipzig side that is joint-second in defence. Sebastian Vasiliadis is currently a doubt after taking a knock against BVB last week.

Leipzig needed two goals in stoppage time to level Benfica and assure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Both goals came from Emil Forsberg. He, Timo Werner, and Christopher Nkunku are the players to watch as Leipzig enter this weekend second in the table as well as being joint-top scorers in the league with Bayern Munich.

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

The next time Andrej Kramaric starts for Hoffenheim will be just his third start this season. He scored goals in the other two in victories while last week he came on as a second half sub and scored the consolation goal in their 5-1 defeat to Mainz. Kramaric has been plagued by knee problems this season. The loss to Mainz ended a five-match winning streak. 

Fortuna did not have it any better last week, losing 4-0 to Bayern last week at home. That, and Mainz’s win, plunged Fortuna to 16th and the relegation play-off spot. They have won just once on the road and allowed 13 goals away from home as well. They do have the third-leading scorer in the Bundesliga in Rouwen Hennings while Zack Steffen is third in saves. 

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

Markus Gidsol’s debut as Cologne’s manager ended in a 4-0 defeat to RB Leipzig which gave the Billy Goats their fifth straight competitive loss and puts them in the drop zone four points adrift of next-in-line Fortuna. The Billy Goats have scored six goals on headers which is tops in the Bundesliga—which is one more than they have with their feet and that totals a league-low eleven. 

Die Fuggerstädter are coming off a 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin and have lost just once since matchday eight. Sergio Cordova is expected to be the lone striker this weekend as Alfred Finnbogason is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Marco Richter could feature despite suffering a thigh strain the previous week. 

BAYERN MUNICH vs. BAYER LEVERKUSEN (Saturday at 11:30am, Fox Soccer Plus)

Last week was a novelty as Robert Lewandowski was not among the scorers in Bayern’s 4-0 win over Fortuna. He would find the net four times in 15 minutes against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday. That’s 23 goals in 19 competitive matches this season. Serge Gnabry is experiencing a nice run of form of his own with five goals in his last three matches. He was rested in Belgrade. 

Die Werkself kept their slender Round of 16 hopes alive in the Champions League with a 2-0 win at Lokomotiv Moscow. Last Saturday saw them being held to surprise package Freiburg. Leverkusen have managed to keep Lewandowski off the score sheet in 12 of their 15 meetings against him. 


The Foals are still top despite losing at Union Berlin last weekend. However, Matthias Ginter is a major doubt with a thigh injury. Home is where the heart is at the moment once again for Gladbach as they have won their last four at Borussia Park after going winless in their previous ten. They have also won their last four games following Europa League games and they will be coming off victory over Austrian side Wolfsberger AC. 

Freiburg will be without Luca Waldschmidt with head, ankle, and knee ailments after his misfortunes for Germany against Belarus. Lucas Höler is expected to maintain his place alongside Nils Petersen after scoring in the 1-1 draw against Leverkusen last weekend. Freiburg are unbeaten in their last four and just three points off the top in fourth.

WOLFSBURG vs. WERDER BREMEN (Sunday at 11am, FS1)

Wolfsburg are back to winning ways after defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend and over Olexandria of Russia in the Europa League on Thursday. Wout Weghorst continues to score for the Wolves as he now has 10 in 19 competitive matches. The Wolves also have the best defence in the Bundesliga allowing just ten goals in 12 league matches so far. 

The Green-Whites are currently under their worst winless run under Florian Kohlfeldt which stands at eight. Five consecutive draws during that time have been followed by back-to-back defeats leaving Bremen just goal difference above the danger zone in 14th. Josh Sargent has not started the last three matches and Yuya Osako and Milot Rashica may keep him on the bench. 

MAINZ vs. EINTRACHT FRANKFURT (Monday at 1:30pm, FS2)

Achim Beierlorzer could not have asked for a better start as new coach of the 05ers who downed Hoffenheim, 5-1, despite spending a majority of the match with ten men. This was the same Mainz who lost 8-0 to RB Leipzig in their prior away match. The red card does mean that Ridle Baku sits out this weekend while captain Danny Latza could be restored to the lineup.

The Eagles ended their winless run with a comeback win at the Emirates over Arsenal on Thursday. Daichi Kamada scored a brace in the win and put Frankfurt on the cusp of the knockout rounds again. Kamada could start with Andre Silva and Goncalo Paciencia with Bas Dost still dealing with a muscle strain. 


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