Local derbies and top Bundesliga clashes: 4 questions for Matchday 10 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 31.10.2019
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Local derbies and top Bundesliga clashes: 4 questions for Matchday 10

With the table tight from top to bottom and local derbies on the menu in Berlin and the Rhineland, the Bundesliga is currently one of the best shows in town. Here are four questions entering Matchday 10.

Who will benefit most from derby day?

The Bundesliga fixture computer has graced its spectators with two local derbies on Matchday 10.

The first one takes place on Saturday in the German capital, where Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin are set to face off in the Bundesliga for the first time. Their league fixture comes a week before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Then, on Sunday, Cologne and Düsseldorf, two western German cities located just 40 kilometers (25 miles) apart along the River Rhine, do battle in the first Bundesliga derby between the two clubs since 1997.

While both derbies have historical significance, the results have critical ramifications for the bottom of the Bundesliga table. Cologne, Düsseldorf and Union are all sitting just above the drop zone with seven points after nine matches. Hertha sit in 11th with only four more points than that cluster of clubs.

Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose (Getty Images/AFP/I. Fassbender)

Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose

Will Gladbach stay top?

After many predicted one of the Bundesliga's big two, Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, to win the league before the season, Borussia Mönchengladbach have surprisingly spent the last three matchdays at the top of the table. The last time the Foals spent so long at the top of the pile was the 1976-77 saison, when they went on to win their last league championship.

As one would expect from the league leaders, Gladbach have recorded the most victories this season with six. However, only one has come against a team currently in the top half of the table. Moveover, only four of their 19 points have come against top-half teams and Leverkusen, where Marco Rose's men travel this weekend, currently sits in eighth place.

They also enter Saturday's fixture coming off a 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup in the week, a result in which they conceded two late goals in a three-minute span. They are also without versatile defender Tony Jantschke, who is recovering from a thigh injury. With Dortmund, Bayern, Freiburg and Wolfsburg nipping at their heals, could the Foals finally be about to slip back into the pack of Bundesliga title contenders?

Dan-Axel Zagadou and Julian Brandt (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Thissen)

Julian Brandt receives a high-five from Dan-Axel Zagadou during the German Cup

Can BVB build on their cup win?

Dortmund started a tough four-game stretch in their schedule on the right foot — the right foot of Julian Brandt, to be precise.

The newly acquired German midfielder scored twice in a three-minute span as BVB knocked Gladbach out of the cup, but last season's Bundesliga runners-up still have a tough road ahead, with fixtures against Wolfsburg and Bayern in the league and Inter Milan in the Champions League in an eight-day span. 

Second-year coach Lucien Favre entered the tough stretch in Dortmund's schedule on the hot seat. However, a win over Wolfsburg would put Dortmund back in the top four ahead of the German Klassiker in Munich on November 9, which may relieve some of the pressure the Swiss coach is under.

Wolfsburg head to Dortmund coming off a 6-1 loss to Leipzig in the German Cup and have scored multiple goals in just two of their nine league games this season.

Serge Gnabry (Reuters/M. Dalder)

Serge Gnabry during Bayern Munich's game against Union Berlin

Which Bayern will we see in Frankfurt?

For the second Halloween in a row with Niko Kovac in charge, Bayern Munich's October form has been spooky.

A home loss to Hoffenheim and a draw with Augsburg earlier this month have put the defending champions in second place. Now they enter their Saturday fixture against Frankfurt coming off a lackluster 2-1 win over second-tier Bochum in the German Cup, a result in which Kovac said Bayern did "a lot wrong for 60, 70 minutes."

The poor run of results hasn't affected Robert Lewandowski's form. The Polish striker is currently on course to score 49 Bundesliga goals this season after netting 13 in his first nine league matches. But injuries to central defender Niklas Süle and record transfer Lucas Hernandez have left the Bavarians' defense a little thin.

Frankfurt, currently in ninth place in the league standings, have managed to remain competitive despite having played 20 competitive games already this season — the result of a tiring Europa League campaign — but still managed to overcome St Pauli in the cup this week.

Bayern coach Kovac will want to avoid dropping points against his former club am ahead of Bayern's big showcase with Dortmund.

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