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A Preview of Bundesliga Match-day 22 which includes a blockbuster 'top four' battle

February 15, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
Many intriguing matches are in store in Bundesliga Match-day 22; Bayern’s battle against Wolfsburg and Frankfurt’s match against Borussia Dortmund are amongst them.

The important battles

Dortmund, off the back of a lackluster draw in Ukraine, takes on Frankfurt. A 2-2 draw is a great result in a Champions League away tie. However, Dortmund could have perhaps gotten more out of the match. The performance spoke volumes about their strength nonetheless; on a day in which BVB could not produce their best, they had more possession and scored two good goals.

Generally, BVB has not done well in the Bundesliga following a Champions League game this season. This will be music to the ears of Frankfurt who are showing that they are serious about the Champions League qualifying spot. Die Adler surprisingly drew against Nürnberg, 1-1, last week. A win this week in Dortmund would definitely boost team morale yet again.

At the other end of the table, a battle royal is set to take place between Fortuna Düsseldorf and Greuther Fürth. Both teams lost by a single goal last week. Düsseldorf went down to Freiburg while Fürth went down to Wolfsburg. The loss saw Düsseldorf sink down to fifteenth. While they are still ahead of the relegation playoff spot by eight points, they would be well advised to be careful lest they should be pulled into the battle.

Their opponents Fürth has half their points tally. Fürth is still glued to the bottom of the table with a measly 12 points after 21 match days. Düsseldorf has to win this game; they have to win these games to survive. The same can be said about Fürth incidentally too.

Mainz takes on Schalke in another huge match this weekend. Sixth placed Mainz is ahead of tenth placed Schalke by three points. A loss to Mainz in the DFB Pokal is what brought the curtains down on Huub Steven’s reign at Schalke.

Incidentally, the same could happen to current coach Jens Keller. Keller was given the vote of confidence last week after Bayern tore Schalke apart with ease. A loss to a Mainz side which only picked up a point against Augsburg could see the end to Keller’s time at Schalke.

Intriguing Battles

Wolfsburg vs. Bayern does not seem to be an intriguing battle on paper, especially considering the home and away record of both sides. Wolfsburg is the third worst team in the league as far as home form is concerned. They have collected a measly ten points from ten away games. Bayern has dropped only two points away from home this season.

Bayern dropped those away points against Nürnberg; the coach of Nürnberg at that point was Dieter Hecking. Now, he is the coach of Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg is slowly growing accustomed to Hecking’s ways. The German’s Nürnberg side stifled Bayern, even managing to score a goal. That goal was the only one which Bayern has conceded away from home this season.

There is a simple theory in football- a side which is playing badly is expected to lose while a side which is winning is due for a loss. Will Hecking’s Wolfsburg be able to hand Bayern their first away loss this season?

Another intriguing battle takes place between seventh placed Hamburger SV and eighth placed Borussia Mönchengladbach. The two are separated by a single point and are looking to take over the European spots which Freiburg and Mainz currently occupy. Gladbach is coming off a Europa League match where they, despite having three penalties, could only earn a 3-3 draw.

Martin Stranzl missed a penalty at 1-2; however, a Thorben Marx penalty and a Juan Arango free kick special saw Gladbach take a 3-2 lead. However, in injury time, Gladbach gave it away due to sloppy defending. They are amongst two German sides which have to play on Saturday following a Thursday match. Hence, physically, playing on Saturday could be an uphill task for the players.

The next battle which is filled with intrigue is between fifth placed Freiburg and eleventh placed Werder. Bremen is excellent in one match and incredibly poor in the next. They beat Stuttgart 1-4 last weekend. This week, they play a fantastic Freiburg side. Bremen has lost nine matches already this season. However, with a bit of consistency they could still find themselves in Europe next season.

Relegation Battles

Augsburg faces a tough trip to the Bay Arena this week. Augsburg drew against Mainz last week. The side from Bavaria has a great chance to earn a point this week. This is the perfect time to meet Leverkusen; Bayer 04 drew 3-3 against Gladbach last week despite dominating the match. They lost to Benfica on Thursday 0-1 despite having plenty of chances to earn at least a draw.

Ninth placed Hannover plays a Nürnberg side which is edging ever closer to the relegation zone. To be fair to the Bavarians, they did pick up an extremely valuable point against Frankfurt last week. Hannover will definitely be demoralized ahead of this one. They led in Russia against Anzhi but could not hold on and lost 3-1.

Two sides in serious trouble take on each other; VfB Stuttgart plays Hoffenheim. Stuttgart is nine points ahead; however, the Swabians are fourteenth in the table. Bruno Labbadia’s side has lost all four fixtures since the winter break. In the Europa League on Thursday, they lost a 1-0 lead to Genk in injury time, drawing 1-1. They should have held on to the lead.

Hoffenheim lost by a single goal last week to Hannover. Stuttgart on the other hand was absolutely battered by Bremen.

Finally, will Bayern register yet another win this week? Let us know your thoughts!


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