The German Football League offices announced Thursday the schedules for the final two match days of the calendar year, as well as those for the first three weekends upon returning from the winter break. Click here for a PDF download of the newly announced fixtures.
The match for which we will all have great thirst is the Friday night fixture of match day 18, which will be the first Bundesliga match in just over a month. As they did with the Hinrunde, it will be defending champion FC Bayern München and Hamburger SV getting the Rückrunde started at Volkspark Stadium on January 22. Like all Friday night matches, the first league match of 2016 will start at 20:30 CET.
Somewhere between Matthias Sammer’s complaints over Bayern being too frequently scheduled on Friday nights and Borussia Mönchengladbach‘s outstanding recent form you may find the DFL’s motivation for giving die Fohlen some prime-time exposure in the two Friday night fixtures that follow. ‘Gladbach visit 1. FSV Mainz 05 and host SV Werder Bremen on consecutive match-day starters, January 29 and February 5 consecutively.
Mainz learned it also will host the match day 16 Friday night game with VfB Stuttgart coming to town on December 11.
FC Schalke 04 host the final Friday night of the 2015 Bundesliga calendar, welcoming TSG Hoffenheim 1899 one week before Christmas Day.
Other fixtures of note from the announcement:
Match Day 16 (December 11 – 13)
1. FSV Mainz 05 – SV Werder Bremen – Friday night lights! (Friday, 20:30 CET)
FC Bayern München – FC Ingolstadt – First-ever meeting between these two Bavarian clubs. (Saturday, 15:30 CET)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Borussia Mönchengladbach – Two sides currently struggling in Europe get the Saturday late game. (Saturday, 18:30 CET)
FC Augsburg – FC Schalke 04 – A match between Europa League sides. FC Augsburg seek their first-ever victory over the royal blues of Gelsenkirchen (Sunday, 15:30 CET)
Borussia Dortmund – Eintracht Frankfurt – Sunday’s late match features one of the league’s most-followed teams hosting a fellow “traditions club.” (Sunday, 17:30 CET)
Match Day 17 (December 18 – 20)
FC Schalke 04 – TSG Hoffenheim 1899 – Friday night lights! (Friday, 20:30 CET)
Hannover 96 – FC Bayern München – Because Bayern has the most fans, and Bayern fans would watch their guys do just about anything. (Saturday, 15:30 CET)
VfB Stuttgart – VfL Wolfsburg – All alone in the Saturday night game, Stuttgart will try to use home-field advantage to level their all-time record against the Wolves. Currently, Wolfsburg lead the series by one win (16-15-5). (Saturday, 18:30 CET)
Hertha BSC – 1. FSV Mainz 05 – It’s the only match taking place Sunday morning. Why not expand your Bundesliga horizons to the German capital? (Sunday, 15:30 CET)
Borussia Mönchengladbach – SV Darmstadt 98 – It’s the last Bundesliga game of 2015!
The last time these two met, it was die Lilien celebrating as a 3. Liga side upsetting the Bundesligists in the opening round of the DFB Cup, winning 5:4 in penalty shots. Will Branimir Hrgota big given a chance at avenging his crucial miss for die Fohlen? (Sunday, 17:30 CET)
Match Day 18 (January 22 – 24)
Hamburger SV – FC Bayern München – Following a LOOONG month without Bundesliga, two classic rivals get things started again. (Friday, 20:30 CET)
Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Mönchengladbach – Dortmund won the last battle of the Borussias in a laugher, but ‘Gladbach is a whole new entity since Lucien Favre left. (Saturday, 18:30 CET)
Eintracht Frankfurt – VfL Wolfsburg – It’s Eagles vs. Wolves in Sunday’s early match. (Sunday, 15:30 CET)
FC Schalke 04 – SV Werder Bremen – You could do much worse to end a match day than this meeting of two of the league’s most-established clubs. (Sunday, 17:30 CET)
Match Day 19 (January 29 – 31)
1. FSV Mainz 05 – Borussia Mönchengladbach – Friday night lights! (Friday, 20:30 CET)
VfB Stuttgart – Hamburger SV – In their last meeting, the HSV overcame a 1:2 deficit by scoring two goals in the final six minutes of regulation time over a ten-man Stuttgart to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Will the return match be as thrilling? (Saturday, 18:30 CET)
VfL Wolfsburg – 1. FC Köln – Wolfsburg dropped their first points of the season in their match day 2 trip to Köln. The Wolves appear to be establishing a new identity in their post-DeBruyne reality and are very strong at home. (Sunday, 15:30 CET)
FC Bayern München – TSG Hoffenheim 1899 – Hoffenheim has never beaten Bayern and have just four points from fifteen meetings. Considering their current placement at opposite ends of the table, even a draw would be a major upset here. (Sunday, 17:30 CET)
Match Day 20 (February 5 – 7)
Borussia Mönchengladbach – SV Werder Bremen – Friday night lights! (Friday, 20:30 CET)
Eintracht Frankfurt – VfB Stuttgart – Armin Veh left Frankfurt to return to Stuttgart, where he had won a Bundesliga title as a trainer. Veh then quite Stuttgart just 13 matches into the 2014-15 season. Now he’s back at Eintracht (assuming he doesn’t quit before this match) and ready to receive his two-time former employer. (Saturday, 15:30 CET)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen – FC Bayern München – When these two met on match day 3, we did not yet know the full power or Bayern, nor did we know Leverkusen would struggle to score with all their offensive talent in Roger Schmidt’s system, so many thought an upset could be in the works. It’d be a bigger surprise if it happened in this one, even though Bayer is still loaded with talent. (Saturday, 18:30 CET)
Hamburger SV – 1. FC Köln – A soft penalty send the HSV back north without a point in their visit to the Cathedral City. What will Bruno Labbadia prepare to greet one of his former clubs as a player? (Sunday, 15:30 CET)
TSG Hoffenheim 1899 – SV Darmstadt 98 – A meeting of a small-town team everyone loves to hate hosting a small-town club everyone seems to adore. Dietmar Hopp’s money can buy plenty, but not the admiration of some of the Bundesliga’s most-stubbornly tradition-loyal fans. (Sunday, 17:30 CET)
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