BUNDESLIGA WEEKEND PREVIEW: Leipzig host title outsiders Bayer Leverkusen while Bayern Munich head to Hoffenheim after hammering Chelsea in Champions League
- RB Leipzig host Bayer Leverkusen in the standout Bundesliga fixture of the week
- Table-toppers Bayern return to domestic action with a tricky trip to Hoffenheim
- Erling Haaland can reach 10 Bundesliga goals, despite only arriving in January
- Here, Sportsmail looks ahead to the German top-flight encounters this weekend
With things so tight at the top of the Bundesliga, every week is pivotal and matchday 24 promises to be no different.
Six points separate leaders Bayern Munich and fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who take on RB Leipzig in the standout game of the weekend.
Meanwhile, Erling Haaland can reach another goal-scoring milestone for Borussia Dortmund while there are a number of crucial clashes in the bid to avoid relegation.
Here, Sportsmail looks ahead to the German top-flight action this weekend.
Timo Werner and RB Leipzig play title rivals Bayer Leverkusen in the pick of this week’s action
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Hertha Berlin
7.30pm, UK time; Live on BT Sport 2
The hosts come into the game on the back of their first victory under new manager Uwe Rosler.
Those three points took Fortuna out of the automatic relegation places and Friday night’s game at home to a struggling Hertha gives them another chance to boost their chances of avoiding the drop.
Hertha are on their third manager of the season after dispensing with Ante Covic and Jurgen Klinsmann. Alexander Nouri is now in charge and needs to turn their form around quickly.
Hertha have picked up just seven points from their last six games and need January arrivals Krzysztof Piatek and Matheus Cunha to start scoring.
Fortuna Dusseldorf play Hertha Berlin on the back of their first win under new boss Uwe Rosler
Borussia Dortmund vs Freiburg
2.30pm, UK time
It seems crazy to say this about a January signing but Erling Haaland can move into double figures for Bundesliga goals this weekend.
The Norwegian sensation has netted nine times in six appearances since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg last month.
Many are expecting Dortmund to cruise to another three points and keep pace with Leipzig and Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
They welcome Freiburg, who are without a win in their last 17 games against Dortmund and struggling to move out of mid-table mediocrity.
They also come into the game off the back of that humbling defeat by Dusseldorf and have won just one of their last nine away games.
Erling Haaland can move into double figures for Bundesliga goals on Saturday against Freiburg
Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich
2.30pm, UK time
After their thumping win over Chelsea in midweek, Bayern return to action in the Bundesliga with a tricky trip to Hoffenheim.
Hansi Flick’s side are one point ahead of Leipzig at the summit and must win these types of games if they are to stay ahead of the pack.
Bayern were mightily impressive at Stamford Bridge with Serge Gnabry netting a brace and Robert Lewandowski also, unsurprisingly, getting on the scoresheet.
The Pole is sidelined for the next four weeks though but Bayern have three very winnable games up next in the Bundesliga starting with this one and will be confident of maintaining the impressive form since the winter break, despite hte injury to their prolific striker.
Hoffenheim, meanwhile, halted a run of two straight defeats, earning an impressive point away at Borussia Monchengladbach last time out.
A Europa League place is well within Alfred Schreuder’s reach and anything taken from this game would be a massive boost.
Bayern Munich were superb in their routine Champions League win at Chelsea in midweek
Mainz vs Paderborn
2.30pm, UK time
From the top half of the table to the bottom now and a game that could be key in the fight to avoid the drop.
Paderborn are rock bottom with just 16 points from 23 matches and travel to Mainz who are languishing just above the drop zone.
Mainz’s top scorer last season, Jean-Philippe Mateta, is fit again and could come back into the team for just his fourth start of the season. They need him to find his shooting boots again.
Paderborn, meanwhile, will have been encouraged by their performance in the defeat by Bayern last time out. They pegged the perennial champions back twice and only lost to a late winner from Lewandowski.
Paderborn will have been encouraged by their performance in their narrow defeat by Bayern
Augsburg vs Borussia Monchengladbach
2.30pm, UK time
It is fair to say Augsburg are in freefall and their 2-0 defeat by Leverkusen last time out was their fourth in six games since the turn of the year.
Couple that form and the fact they have one win in seven league matches and things are really not looking good for manager Martin Schmidt.
Monchengladbach briefly looked as though they could provide a threat to the title-chasing pack but dropped points last week and saw the the gap to the top two grow to six and five points respectively.
Marco Rose’s men do have a game in hand, though, but can’t afford to slip up again otherwise their rivals will be out of sight within a matter of weeks.
Moenchengladbach’s Lars Stindl (second left) celebrates scoring his side’s draw with Fortuna
Cologne vs Schalke
5.30pm, UK time; Live on BT Sport 2
David Wagner’s Schalke side will have their Champions League ambitions seriously tested when they travel to an in-form Cologne, who thrashed Hertha Berlin 5-0 last week.
The hosts have won six of their last eight matches, only dropping points to Dortmund and Bayern to move six points clear of third-bottom Dusseldorf and closer to another season of Bundesliga football.
It has not been as impressive for the visitors though as they suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat by Leipzig last time out, which means they have taken three points from their last five matches.
That run of form has seen them slip to seven points adrift of the Champions League spots and any further setbacks could realistically end their European hopes for good.
Jhon Cordoba scored two in Koln’s 5-0 win over Hertha Berlin as their sublime form continued
Union Berlin vs Wolfsburg
12.30pm, UK time; Live on BT Sport 2
Not many people thought Union Berlin would be in mid-table after 23 games but with 29 points they are well on their way to securing their top-flight status for another season.
Six of their nine wins this season have come at home and they will be hopeful they can claim another scalp when Wolfsburg arrive in the German capital on Sunday.
Wolfsburg breezed past Malmo in their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday night and are on the edge of the European places in the Bundesliga at present.
Oliver Glasner’s side have won their last four games in all competitions and will be confident of making it five in their bid to move into the top six.
Wolfsburg celebrated as they cruised past Malmo in their Europa League tie on Thursday night
Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen
2.30pm, UK time; Live on BT Sport 2
The biggest game of the weekend comes on Sunday afternoon when second-placed Leipzig host Bayer Leverkusen.
Both teams are attack-minded and it promises to be a fascinating encounter between two title rivals with Leverkusen just five points behind Julian Nagelsmann’s side.
Leipzig proved their title credentials last week with a thumping 5-0 victory away to Schalke. They made the most of some awful defending with Timo Werner scoring the pick of the goals.
Leverkusen are the form side though and have won five of their six games in 2020, form that has propelled them into title contention.
They are also the only team yet to draw an away game so far this season, winning seven and losing four, so will they leave Leipzig with three points or zero?
Timo Werner scored the pick of the goals as RB Leipzig thrashed Schalke in their last game
Werder Bremen vs Frankfurt
5pm, UK time; BT Sport 2
Frankfurt have had the unfortunate luck of their Europa League last-32 second leg with Red Bull Salzburg put back to Friday night due to adverse weather conditions.
They are scheduled to be back in Bundesliga action less than 48 hours later though, travelling to Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Frankfurt continue to pick up mixed results following the demolition of their famed front three – Luka Jovic, Sebastian Haller and Ante Rebic – in recent months but their thrashing of Salzburg in the first leg shows they are still a capable side.
Bremen, meanwhile, continue to struggle and are sitting five points off of safety with 11 matches left to play.
With a talent squad that includes Milot Rashica, Josh Sargent and Maximilian Eggestein, Bremen should have enough to pull clear of danger but they need to start picking up results now.
Bremen should have enough to pull clear of danger but they need key men to start performing
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