match day 5 IS UPON US in the german bundesliga AS WE HIT THE FIRST “ENGLISCHE WOCHE” OF THE SEASON. HERE ARE THE Wednesday MATCHES:
1. FC Köln vs. Eintracht Frankurt
This is do or die for Köln. We need not go into their failures of this young Bundesliga campaign. Simply look at the bottom of the table and the story is very-well told. Peter Stöger, a respected manager that has brought slow, steady, and calm success to the Carnival City, is on the verge of what could be the point of no return.
Köln need three points. At this time, a draw is unacceptable. The Billy-Goats were absolutely decimated in Dortmund last Sunday and anything less than a win against Frankfurt will surely be viewed as failure. Jhon Cordoba has been a complete disappointment after four matches, to put it mildly.
There are still 30 match days left to turn around his reputation as a player with plenty skill but one who lacks the ability to finish. Stöger, known for his outstanding defensive tactics, has seen his lads allow far too much offensive freedom to the opposing sides during the first four match days. This must be corrected in order for Köln to have any hope of Bundesliga survival.
Frankfurt are a beatable side. The Eagles are traditionally inconsistent and this season is no exception. Kevin-Prince Boateng has been an excellent last-minute signing, though very few players other than him have made many highlights. I would expect to see Sebastien Haller, Ante Rebic, and Mijat Gacinovic more involved in attack against a Köln defence which lacks confidence.
Frankfurt are a typical mid-table Bundesliga side and I expect them to perform as such in this match. I believe the quality is there to win this match for The Goats, especially as the two sides will be duelling at the Rhein-Energie Stadion. We can only fairly judge Köln based on their latest performance and that, was a disaster. Be on the lookout for two squads desperately attempting to not concede the first goal. In other words, this could be a very uneventful encounter. Be sure to have the television remote nearby.
FCK: T. Horn – Klünter, Jorg Mere, Heintz, Rausch – M. Lehmann, Höger – Risse, Bittencourt – Cordoba, Osako
SGE: Hradecky – Salcedo, Abraham, Hasebe – Chandler, Fernandes, Willems, Gacinovic, Rebic – Haller, K.-P. Boateng
FINAL: (Chris Prediction) FC Köln 1:1 Eintracht Frankfurt
FINAL: (George Prediction) FC Koln 0:0 Eintracht Frankfurt
HERTHA BERLIN vs BAYER LEVERKUSEN
Hertha were able to get a point out of their visit to the Rhein-Neckar Arena on Saturday. This is something even the great Bayern München were unable to achieve two weeks ago. Despite two seasons of top-seven Bundesliga finishes, Hertha have certainly faired poorly in their away matches.
They have excelled however, and indeed have earned the respect of their Bundesliga peers as a very strong home side. Many critics will point out that BSC play a very boring, yet incredibly effective style of football. A cautious approach from manager Pal Dardai will again be the match plan for the capital city club.
However, it is possible we might see Vedad Ibisevic, Alexander Esswein, Salomon Kalou, and Mathew Leckie be a bit braver against a Leverkusen defence that has been rather inconsistent in the first few weeks of the season. Be on the lookout for Marvin Plattenhardt if Hertha get a set piece near goal too.
Leverkusen are back from the dead after last week’s impressive 4-0 win against Freiburg. Kevin Volland, who cannot be depended on from week to week, certainly looked sharp as he bagged himself a brace. Equally as impressive were Charles Aranguiz, Dominik Kohr, and Julian Brandt.
Do not look for a repeat performance of the Freiburg match though. Hertha are a strong home side, while Leverkusen have not yet proven they are a road-savvy bunch. Until Bayer prove they can be relied upon to get results away from the BayArena, it will be difficult to predict anything other than mediocre play from a squad that is indeed capable of much more. If Leverkusen’s back four get caught out of position on what could be a flurry of Hertha counter-attacks, it could be a long day at the office for Heiko Herrlich’s lads. Bayer will take risks, the question is: Will those risks pay off?
BSC: Jarstein – Weiser, Stark, Rekik, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred, Darida – Leckie, Kalou – Esswein, Ibisevic
LEV: Leno – L. Bender, Retsos, S. Bender, Wendell – Kohr, Aranguiz – Bellarabi, Brand- Havertz, Volland
FINAL: (Chris Prediction) Hertha BSC 2:1 Bayer Leverkusen
FINAL: (George Prediction) Hertha BSC 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
SC FREIBURG vs. Hannover 96
Christian Streich followed up a brilliant tactical approach against Bundesliga-leaders Borussia Dortmund which resulted in a 0-0 draw, with a disastrous 0-4 thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. This was reminiscent of the Roger Schmidt Leverkusen side from a few years ago, beautiful attacking football.
Freiburg had no answers. I maintain that Freiburg not replacing the offensive talents of Vincenzo Grifo and Maximilian Philipp will cost them dearly throughout this season. Streich has made his bed, now he must lie in it. There may not be a more offensively inept side in the Bundesliga this year. Expect Freiburg to sit deep and wait for their chances to launch a quick counter-attack. SCF will rely heavily on young Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent as well as Florian Niederlechner to produce something positive in attack.
Hannover are in the Champions League! Fair enough, if the season ended today, Hannover would be in the Champions League. While this will certainly be short-lived, it does inspire hope that André Breitenreiter’s side will confidently survive their return-season in the Bundesliga, after their short one-year hiatus in the second tier.
Hannover did not look overly impressive in their win over the weekend against Hamburg yet, they were able to secure the three points. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. A side that does not play their best, but nevertheless earns the victory, is a side to be careful of. Hannover have the look of a determined squad out to prove they not only belong in Germany’s top flight, but can in fact excel.
Expect The 96ers to be brave enough to come after Freiburg. Breitenreiter knows Streich will instruct his players to sit deep, and will have his centre and full-backs prepared to halt the occasional SCF counter-attack. It may take Hannover almost the entire match to break the deadlock, eventually though, they will. This will be another low-scoring, unattractive affair for 96. Understand though, the only thing the Saxons truly care about is the reward that awaits them at the end of the match: Another three points.
SCF: Schwolow – Schuster, Lienhart, Söyüncü – Stenzel, C. Günter – Höfler, Frantz – Haberer, Kent – Niederlechner
H96: Tschauner – Korb, S. Sané, F. Hübner, Ostrzolek – Schwegler – Anton, Bakalorz – Harnik, Karaman – Füllkrug
FINAL: (Chris Prediction) SC Freiburg 0:1 Hannover 96
FINAL: (George Prediction) SC Freiburg 0:1 Hannover 96
Hamburger sv vs. Borussia Dortmund
After two wins to open the campaign Hamburg have come crashing back down to reality. Injuries to star players such as US international Bobby Wood (who should be back for this match), Nicolai Müller, and Filip Kostic have contributed to the side’s recent two match stretch of losses.
Manager Markus Gisdol will have to make the most of what he has available to him. Against a squad like Dortmund, that will be a tall order. For Hamburg to be successful they must hope for a critical BVB error in their passing game and immediately be in position to launch a quick counter-attack down the wings against the slower Lukasz Piszczek or the still-learning Dan-Axel Zagadou.
HSV will rely heavily on the talents of striker Bobby Wood during such movements forward. In reality, this roster simply lacks the quality to compete with a team like Borussia Dortmund. However, they may have a physiological advantage. In the previous ten meetings between the two clubs (two of those season’s including Hamburg fighting for their Bundesliga lives), HSV have beaten BVB five times, lost four, and recorded one draw. Die Rothosen have been Dortmund’s kryptonite these past four years.
Dortmund enter match day five as Bundesliga leaders having thrashed FC Köln on the weekend 5-0. Die Schwarz-Gelben have yet concede a goal in the Bundesliga this season and at least for the moment, appear like legitimate contenders to win their first German championship since 2012.
The defensive statistics tell a bit of a lie as Dortmund have certainly not faced the offensive juggernauts of the Bundesliga to this point. That will not change on Wednesday during their trip to Hamburg. Expect a passing clinic out of BVB with over 70% possession by the end of the match, over 20 shots attempted, and an extremely high pass efficiency rating. There will be precious little space in Hamburg’s defensive third of the pitch as the “bus” will likely be parked. Regardless, HSV will not be able to defend against this explosive offence for the 90 minutes, eventually conceding.
HSV: Mathenia – Diekmeier, K. Papadopoulos, Jung, Douglas Santos – Ekdal, Walace – Hahn, Holtby, Salihovic – Wood
BVB: Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Zagadou – Sahin – Castro, M. Götze – Yarmolenko, Aubameyang, Pulisic
FINAL: (Chris Prediction) Hamburger SV 0:2 Borussia Dortmund
FINAL: (George Prediction) Hamburger SV 0:3 Borussia Dortmund
FSV Mainz 05 vs tsg 1899 hoffenheim
Mainz were humiliated in Munich last Saturday. They created very few chances, had very little possession, and were unable to disrupt the Bayern offence at all. Hoffenheim beat that same Bayern squad only two weeks ago. That is who they face on Wednesday. Mainz have surprised us from time to time.This will not be one of those times.
Hoffenheim are an unforgiving opponent following such a demoralizing loss to the defending German champions, Bayern. Mainz will certainly attempt to go forward more often in this match as we could see another solid performance from Daniel Brosinski, who played his heart out against FCB. Additionally, if Yoshinori Muto is able to get in front of goal, as he did in the 87th minute of the Bayern match, Mainz need the forward to convert such brilliant displays of skill into goals. Mainz will increase their possession against Hoffenheim over what the side had against The Bavarians though, I do not expect a different end result.
Julian Nagelsmann has to be furious as his side dropped two points at home last week against a traditionally weak away side, Hertha Berlin. A week after earning a convincing win over Bayern München, with a great chance at continuing their ascent up the Bundesliga table, the club had to settle for a mere draw.
The Champions League spots in the Bundesliga appear as though they will be much more tightly contested in this season over last. Hoffenheim could also be suffering, if only slightly, from the departures of both Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy. Against Mainz I expect Nagelsmann to get his lads back on the winning side with possession football, combined with a suffocating high-press, against a Mainz back-line and midfield that lacks confidence at the moment.
Hoffenheim are capable of beating any side in the Bundesliga as they
proved two weeks ago. They need to quickly learn the lesson which Dortmund learned last season: If you want the pressure minimized at end of the season, and to sit in a comfortable table position, you must win the matches you know you are supposed to win. This would be one of those matches.
M05: Adler – Balogun, Bell, Diallo – Brosinski, Donati – S. Serdar, Latza – Öztunali, Fischer – Muto
HOF: Baumann – Vogt, B. Hübner, Nordtweit – N. Schulz, Zuber – Grillitsch – Amiri, Rupp – Uth, Wagner
FINAL: (Chris Prediction) FSV Mainz 05 1:2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Final: (George Prediction) FSV Mainz 05 0:2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim