The final two matches of the Bundesliga weekend are especially important considering the upcoming international break….no team wants to go into the break without earning even a point yet. After the first seven matches of the weekend Werder Bremen and 1.FC Köln, along with 1.FSV Mainz 05 are in that situation, and it’s quite possible that either RB Leipzig or SC Freiburg will join those three clubs in that unhappy situation unless the two clubs draw in Sunday’s early match. That contest will be available for viewing on FS1 in the USA, while the second match will be televised on FS2 — both matches will be streamed on Fox Soccer MatchPass.
RB Leipzig – SC Freiburg (Sunday 14:30)
The Vizemeister got a bit of a reality check last weekend as they opened the new season with a 2-0 loss at Schalke. It took die Rote Bullen 14 games last season to experience defeat, so to be humbled so early in the new campaign will have refocussed their attention even if the draw for the Champions League has distracted them somewhat.
Last season they were the surprise packet and rank outsiders- this time around they are a valued scalp and will need to raise their game accordingly. Tactically they stuck to their tried and tested pressing game last weekend, but were blunted by a well-organised Schalke.
Christian Streich’s Freiburg were involved in the only goalless draw last weekend so find themselves looking to get their scoring campaign underway. That will be easier said than done as they travel to the Red Bull Arena, where they were beaten 4-0 last season.
The Breisgauer trainer may therefore switch from a 3-4-2-1 system to a 4-4-2 to try and nullify Leipzig.
Hannover – Schalke 04 (17:00)
Newly promoted Hannover made the ideal return to the top flight with a 1-0 away win at Mainz, but will face a far sterner test when they entertain Schalke on Sunday. Martin Harnik’s finish to a fine counter-attack was enough to seal the three points in a game the Niedersachsen club could have lost had Mainz taken their chances.
André Breitenreiter faces his former club and will obviously be keen on getting one over on them. Defender Salif Sané is available after being suspended last week, while new signing Jonathas could make his debut alongside Harnik.
Much is expected of the Königsblauen this season under rookie trainer Domenico Tedesco and based on last weekend’s display, that expectation is justified. Starting well is one thing, but backing it up and pushing on is quite another.
Tedesco will be loath to change the winning formula from last week, meaning that club captain Benedikt Höwedes might once again have to settle for a place on the bench. The only other potential change could be Guido Burgstaller for Franco Di Santo, although the Argentine did impress last week against RB.
Latest posts by Mathew Burt (see all)
- Gute Woche/ Schlechte Woche Matchday 23 Edition - February 20, 2018
- Bundesliga Weekend Wrap Matchday 23: He Said What? - February 19, 2018
- Hans-Joachim Watzke: ‘Dortmund Need a Xabi Alonso’- Who Would Fit? - February 16, 2018