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Labbadia welcomes former team Bayern; a look ahead to Bundesliga Match day 19

January 24, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
FC Bayern takes a hefty lead of nine points over second placed Bayer Leverkusen into Match day 19 of the Bundesliga.

The Difference a Win Makes

Struggling Schalke last week beat out Hannover 96, 5-4. Lewis Holtby’s goal turned out to be the winner. Holtby is seemingly Spurs bound already as Chairman Daniel Levy has hinted that they require the Schalke man’s services immediately. They take on Augsburg; Augsburg registered a win over Düsseldorf last week.

While this might have been surprising considering the respective positions of the teams in the table, it was not shocking as Düsseldorf has conceded many goals at home this season. A win in this match for Schalke could signal the beginning of a title challenge.

Fortuna meanwhile heads to Borussia Park this week. Mönchengladbach is coming into this one on the back of a disappointing draw against Hoffenheim. Gladbach will look to win this one; they are only four points behind a Champions League qualifying spot.

Schalke’s bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund might have just renewed their title challenge. Their win over Bremen was definitely a psychological boost. To score five goals in the Weserstadion is undoubtedly an achievement. Also, they leapfrogged Eintracht Frankfurt into third place. They are still nine points behind Bayern nonetheless. Their opponent on Friday will be a notoriously difficult Nürnberg side which drew with HSV last week.

Derby Week

HSV and Bremen meanwhile play each other in the Nord derby this week. The game is definitely one of the biggest in Germany this week because of its status. Bremen might just be pulled into a relegation battle if they continue to defend so poorly. Meanwhile, HSV needs to win more games in order to challenge for Europe successfully.

In the Sud derby, league leader FC Bayern München takes on VfB Stuttgart. Stuttgart was taken apart 6-1 in the league by Bayern in their earlier meeting in the Allianz Arena this season. They were beaten by Wolfsburg last week. Bruno Labbadia will need to ensure that his team is well prepared ahead of the clash against the club he played for; a second hiding at the hands of Bayern in one season could really hurt Stuttgart.

The Big Games

Second placed Bayer Leverkusen proved their title credentials last week when they beat Frankfurt 3-1. Frankfurt could only earn a consolation goal in that match. They take on sixth placed Freiburg this weekend. Freiburg drew 0-0 against Mainz last week. Leverkusen is of course the favorite for this one. However, it is difficult to comprehend Christian Streich’s plans for this one. Leverkusen needs to win to stay in touch with Bayern.

Frankfurt might have lost touch with Bayern last week; however, they are still in the top four. They take on Hoffenheim. This game is one of the biggest ones this week because it influences both the top four and the bottom three. Hoffenheim is only a point above Augsburg now. Frankfurt is only two points ahead of Schalke going into this one. Armin Veh’s side now has to look behind their backs instead of staring ahead.

Relegation Battles

Mainz, in seventh place, takes on a Greuther Fürth side which is showing absolutely no signs of life currently. Nobody expected them to pick up any points last week but they did battle hard, preventing a goal fest. Bayern’s Mario Mandzukic put two past them to pile further misery on Fürth. Fürth is currently at the bottom of the table, four points behind Hoffenheim.

Finally, the remaining match, Wolfsburg vs. Hannover, should not be referred to as a relegation battle. However, both these sides are currently in the bottom half of the table, separated by only a single point. Wolfsburg’s form has definitely picked up. They scored twice last week. The danger of being pulled into the bottom four is not gone yet and there is more work to be done. Mirko Slomka’s side is very good at home; they could win this one.

Will Bayern slip up this week? Tune in to find out!


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