Bundesliga Matchday 23 preview: Back from Europe


Last weekend, the German sides that were in Europe went to town against their opposition. Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, and Eintracht Frankfurt all wound up winners in midweek in Europe.

Now, back to the league. Welcome to matchday 23 (All times CT).

BAYERN MUNICH vs. SC PADERBORN (Friday at 1:30pm, Fox Soccer Plus):

To say the least, this is a mismatch on paper with Bayern having the league’s leading scorer in Robert Lewandowski and the leading assist maker in Thomas Muller. They are unbeaten in their last ten in all competitions. However, they will have to make do without Jerome Boateng and Benjamin Pavard who are both suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Lucas Hernandez could start for the first time since his injury back in September. 

In the last 18 matchdays, Paderborn have been bottom for 16 of them. They are also six points away from safety as they enter this match. Their hopes could be lifted if Abdelhamid Sabiri scores. He did so in three of Paderborn’s four wins this seaon.


The Green-Whites have it no better at the Weser-Stadion against third-place Dortmund. They have lost eight of their last nine and are only one point ahead of Paderborn in the table. Worse, Maxi Eggenstein is suspended while Kevin Vogt is still out with a knee injury. Chances are low for a repeat of their DFB Pokal shock of BVB two weeks ago.

Oh, and Erling Haaland has scored 11 goals in 450 minutes of play so far as he has rejuvenated BVB. Gio Reyna assisted Haaland’s goal against Paris-St. Germain on Tuesday. Julian Brandt and Marco Reus are still out, but there are plenty of other options for Lucian Favre such as Emre Can. 


The impromptu week off thanks to Storm Ciara did not affect the Foals as they ran 4-1 winners over Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend. They are level on points with the other Borussia with a match in hand. Alassane Plea returns from suspension and Remy Bensebaini is returning from injury. 

Back-to-back losses has left Hoffenheim in eighth place and three points back of the top six. They will be looking to avenge a 3-0 reverse at home to the Foals. Oliver Bauman returned to goal last weekend while Andrej Kramaric found the goal for the second straight match. They have won five of their last seven away matches leaving them have accumulated more points on the road (17) than at home (16).

HERTHA BERLIN vs. FC COLOGNE (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Plus)

Alexander Nouri’s first match in charge after Jurgen Klinsmann’s resignation was a success over Paderborn. They are likely heading for midtable safety. Krzysztof Piatek and Matheus Cunha are still looking for their first goals in the Bundesliga. 

The 4-1 scoreline to Bayern Munich last week may have been closer had Manuel Neuer not made five saves. The road has not been kind to the Billy Goats having lost seven of their last ten on their travels. However, they have yet to lose back-to-back matches under Markus Gisdol.

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

Freiburg will be leaving the Schwarzwald-Stadion after this season for a new stadium, but would like to do so with a berth in Europe. They are only three points away from sixth place Schalke. Die Breisgauer have won six times from trailing positions and have allowed just eleven goals at home—both third in ranking.  

Zack Steffen is set to miss this match still recovering from a persistent knee injury. He has gone to Barcelona for further treatment and is not expected to start. Forutna currently sit in 16th and five points from outright safety. They have lost just once in their last four under Uwe Rosler.

SCHALKE vs. RB LEIPZIG (Saturday at 11:30am, FS2)

Amine Harit was instrumental in the Royal Blues’ 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena earlier in the season. However, he has scored just twice since and not at all in their last nine. Schalke have only lost twice in that time, but have dropped to sixth. Suat Serdar is set to return after missing last week with an ankle injury.

RB Leipzig are coming off a 1-0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in the Champions League. They remain one point behind Bayern after making short work of Werder Bremen last week. Timo Werner ended his five-match scoring drought in the victory over Spurs. 

BAYER LEVERKUSEN vs. FC AUGSBURG (Sunday at 8:30am, FS1)

Bayer Leverkusen have won four of their first five matches in the Ruckrunde and are looking to keep the pressure on the top four—just two points adrift of the Champions League places. The last two matches saw them come from behind to defeat first Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin. Kai Havertz is also experiencing great form scoring three times in 2020 after scoring just twice all Hinrunde. 

Augsburg are comfortably in mid-table despite winning just once in their last six. They put behind a 5-0 thrashing by Frankfurt with a respectable 1-1 draw with Freiburg. Iago returns to the fold after Olympic qualifying, but Stephan Lichtensteiner is a doubt with a knee injury.

WOLFSBURG vs. MAINZ (Sunday at 11am, FS2)

Wolfsburg returned to the top half of the table after a 3-2 win at Hoffenheim last week. Wout Weghorst ended a seven-match goalless drought by scoring a brace. Maximilian Arnold featured in the 2-1 Europa League win over Malmo, but is suspended for the match on Sunday. John Brooks is expected to start at center back with Robin Knoche as Marin Pongracic is also suspended. 

Last week, Mainz played to their first draw of the entire season against Schalke. They sit in 15th five points clear of the danger zone. Also comforting was that they produced a clean sheet last week despite having the second-most charitable defense in the Bundesliga. 


Frankfurt put one foot in the Europa League Round of 16 with a 4-1 thrashing of Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday. Daichi Kamada scored a hat trick in the match. Bas Dost should feature again after missing out Thursday with a hamstring issue. 

Union sit just two points behind Frankfurt in the table and look set to be in mid-table comfort. However, they will be without captain Christopher Trimmel who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the loss last week against Leverkusen. 


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