The gap at the Bundesliga summit is narrowing — and second-placed Borussia Dortmund will be looking to make further gains when they host Freiburg this weekend.
Table-toppers Bayern Munich remain six points ahead but Julian Nagelsmann’s men need a reaction against in-form Koln after last Friday’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach.
Elsewhere, there is a tasty-looking clash between Union Berlin and Hoffenheim in the ongoing battle for Champions League qualification, while Bayern’s victors entertain Bayer Leverkusen.
Game of the week: Borussia Dortmund vs Freiburg (Friday, 7.30pm)
Dortmund did something relatively rare last time out — they scored three goals and Erling Haaland did not get any of them.
In fact, if Haaland fails to find the net for the third consecutive game tonight it will represent his longest Bundesliga goal drought since joining the Black and Yellows in January 2020.
Freiburg travel to Signal Iduna Park having conceded the fewest away goals in the division (seven).
Only Bayern have taken more points on the road this term than the Breisgau Brazilians’ 15 but no team has picked up more home points than Marco Rose’s Dortmund.
Here are the other big games to watch this weekend…
Koln vs Bayern Munich (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Barely six months after staying up via the relegation play-off, Koln find themselves within touching distance of the Bundesliga top four thanks to a run of three wins on the spin.
But their odds against the Bavarians are slim, having lost all of the last eight league encounters.
The visitors will be hurting from their loss to Monchengladbach and are likely to bounce back strong, having not lost consecutive league games since December 2019.
Star striker Robert Lewandowski, already with 20 league strikes to his name this term, has scored in each of his last six Bundesliga encounters with the Billy Goats.
Union Berlin vs Hoffenheim (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Victory for Union will take them level on points with Hoffenheim and, if other results go their way, into the top four.
The hosts can, as ever, lean on their formidable home record. Bayern are the only visiting Bundesliga team to win at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei since the opening day of last season.
But Hoffenheim will be looking to go eight games unbeaten, as they bid to keep their charge for Champions League qualification on track.
Sebastian Hoeness’ side have picked up a league-high 15 points from losing positions this season, coming from behind to win on four occasions including last Saturday’s 3-1 victory against Augsburg.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Monchengladbach will be hoping to build on their win over Bayern by making amends for a 4-0 thrashing against Leverkusen in August.
The hosts have lost their last two matches at Borussia-Park, however, after going unbeaten in their opening six home league games of the season.
Leverkusen were unbeaten on their travels until going down 5-2 at Eintracht Frankfurt last month. Gerardo Seoane’s men then lost their next away match 2-1 to Freiburg.
Die Werkself have not won any of their last five games in all competitions but Patrik Schick has maintained his scintillating form, scoring nine goals in his last five appearances.
The visitors’ issues have come at the back where they have conceded 30 league goals this term — their worst defensive record at this stage of the season since 1985.
The weekend’s other games
Mainz vs Bochum (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Stuttgart vs RB Leipzig (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Augsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Arminia Bielefeld vs Greuther Furth (Sunday, 4.30pm)
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