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Bundesliga preview: Bayern's Sagnol thrown in at the deep end

All eyes will be on Bayern's new caretaker coach as the Frenchman tries to stop the rot at Hertha Berlin. Borussia Dortmund will be looking hope to extend their lead at the top when they travel to in-form Augsburg.

Willy Sagnol has only been back at Bayern since June as assistant coach and suddenly he has been given the unenviable task of lifting spirits after a painful defeat at Paris Saint-Germain, the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti and reports of unrest among the players.

They travel to Hertha Berlin on Sunday, which is never an easy place to play. Bayern are well aware that another false step could leave them badly behind in the title race after just seven matches.

Bayern trail Dortmund by three points following last Friday’s 2-2 draw at home to Wolfsburg, which is when the cracks really began to surface.   

Not only will the performance be important for Sagnol, who was sacked in his second season at Bordeaux, his only previous club job, but the team he puts out will also be closely analyzed.

One of the reasons for Ancelotti’s sacking would appear to be the strange starting lineup he named against PSG, with experienced players Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng all left out.

Expect most of those names to return in Berlin with Sagnol keen to stamp his mark on the team and maybe even put himself in the running to stay in charge until the end of the season at least.

Bayern fans will warmly welcome Sagnol given he was a popular Bayern player, who helped them win the Champions League in 2001. But he has also been at he club since June so some may allege he shoulders some of the blame for recent results.

As CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, Bayern have "to produce a positive response and show absolute determination to achieve our targets for the season." The international break after this matchday will give the board time to think, with Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann widely reported to be the long-term target.

European humiliation

Hertha are not in great form and talisman Vedad Ibisevic is suspended, which might help Bayern’s cause. Along with the German champions, the Berliners were one of the six German clubs to all lose in Europe this week, the first time this has happened since 1981.

Elsewhere on Matchday 7, Dortmund go to Augsburg looking to continue their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign but knowing how good surprise packages Augsburg have looked this term.

Augsburg sit fifth and have conceded just four times this season, but that still might not be enough to stop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after his hat trick in last weekend's 6-1 drubbing of Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The Gabon striker is working harder than ever for the team instead of sulking, which many fans expected him to do after a move away from Dortmund failed to materialize in the transfer window. 

He failed to shine against Real Madrid in midweek though. 

Hoffenheim and promoted Hannover are the other unbeaten sides in the Bundesliga while crestfallen Cologne go in search of their first win of the season at home to RB Leipzig, when Timo Werner is expected to have recovered from ear problems following the ferocious noise inside the Besiktas stadium on Tuesday.

Bundesliga Matchday 7 fixtures

Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Friday 8:30 p.m. CEST)

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Hanover (Saturday 3.30 p.m.)

VfL Wolfsburg vs. Mainz

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. VfB Stuttgart

Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund

Hamburg vs. Werder Bremen (6:30 p.m.)

Freiburg vs. Hoffenheim (Sunday 1:30 p.m.)

Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich (3:30 p.m.)

Cologne vs. RB Leipzig (6:00 p.m.)

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