Bundesliga: The big questions on the run-in to the winter break | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.11.2019
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages
Advertisement

Sports

Bundesliga: The big questions on the run-in to the winter break

The Bundesliga returns from the international break this Friday, kicking off a run of six matchdays in a month before the winter break. What are the key issues at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and elsewhere?

Will Favre go the way of Kovac?

Lucien Favre has had a long time to stew on the 4-0 defeat to Bayern last time out, and his Borussia Dortmund side have a chance to begin making amends when they host bottom-club Paderborn on Friday night. Favre could hardly have picked better opponents, with Paderborn's sole league win of the season, 2-0 over Fortuna Düsseldorf, the only time they've managed to score in their last five games. 

Bayern's victory in Der Klassiker offered some suggestion that a change of coach can have a positive effect, at least in the short term. With Dortmund struggling to find consistency and dynamism and sitting six points back from the leaders in sixth position, BVB's top brass may be tempted to follow suit before too long. Though they have a trip to Barcelona in midweek, their run after that is kind - with fixtures against three bottom-half teams before the visit of RB Leipzig on December 17. Anything less than 10 points from the four games before that and Favre's Christmas gift may not be just what he always wanted.

Can Rose keep the Foals at full pelt?

Borussia Mönchengladbach are top of the Bundesliga (picture-alliance/U. Hufnagel)

Borussia Mönchengladbach are top of the Bundesliga

One man who Favre has managed to get the better of twice in recent weeks is Marco Rose. But those league and cup wins for Dortmund over Borussia Mönchengladbach are rare blips on Rose's radar at the minute. The Foals have been quickly transformed by the former Red Bull Salzburg man, with a game based on high pressing, full backs hugging the touchline, the midfield enforcement of Denis Zakaria and the goals and invention of Marcus Thuram and his various attacking partners.

The recent injury-time win over Roma was another eye-catching result for the table toppers but does mean that their trip to face Austrian side Wolfsberg on Thursday and hosting of Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir in December are both likely to be crucial to their chances of Europa League progression. So far, Gladbach's injury hit squad has coped well fighting on two fronts, but a game every 3.5 days, including the visit of Bayern Munich, between now and the winter break will test their credentials to the limit.

Will change bring points at the bottom?

Achim Beierlorzer has moved from Cologne to Mainz (picture-alliance/dpa/Fotostand)

Achim Beierlorzer has moved from Cologne to Mainz

Kovac wasn't the only Bundelisga coach to get the chop in November, with Cologne's Achim Beierlorzer and Mainz's Sandro Schwarz getting the boot within a week of the former Bayern boss. Beierlorzer subsequently stepped into Schwarz's shoes at Mainz before Markus Gisdol, last seen in Hamburg's relegation season, took on the Cologne job.

The incentive for Gisdol is clear, with Cologne's history and support still enormous draws. But the club is once again mired in crisis, with reported rifts between the board and the fans, just two wins from their 11 Bundesliga games and statistically the worst attack in the league. Mainz are two points above the Billy Goats in the relegation-playoff spot. Having sold star midfielder Jean-Phlippe Gbamin to Everton and with last season's top scorer, Jean-Philippe Mateta, yet to play this season due to injury, there are serious doubts about the ZeroFivers quality. Are these two clubs just shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic? 

Can Werner keep pace with Lewandowski?

Timo Werner has been in red hot form of late (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Woitas)

Timo Werner has been in red hot form of late

Even more than usual, it's been impossible to ignore Robert Lewandowski this season. Despite a bumpy Bayern campaign the Polish striker has hit 23 goals already, 16 of which have been in the Bundesliga, where he's scored in every game.

But still, he has only a five-goal lead over Timo Werner in the race for the Törjagerkanone, the prize awarded to the Bundesliga's top scorer each season. After a four-game drought in September and early October, the German forward has been lethal of late, notching seven goals and six assists in his last three full games in all competitions. Though his form for his country is still to hit the heights it did pre-World Cup, Werner's goals have propelled Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig side back up to second after a dodgy run. If he can find the consistency he's sometimes lacked and keep on the coattails of Lewandowski, his team might just do the same to Bayern and Gladbach.

 

DW recommends