After the first few months of the Bundesliga season, there’s no doubt that Bayern Munich are the team to beat. However, their lead at the top is only five points, and with a few tough matches before the winter break, there’s a chance the gap could be closed.
But even if it’s a futile chase for those currently close to Bayern, there’s still plenty to fight for, as the Bundesliga now has a fourth Champions League place. So, this season’s top three finishers are guaranteed a place in the prestigious and lucrative group stage, while the fourth-place finisher will have a chance to join them through the playoffs.
While there are still more than 20 rounds remaining in the season, head-to-head results can ultimately make a big difference in how things shake out in the title race and race for European places, and with that in mind, there are a few potentially important matches in November that bear watching.
Bayern Munich v. Borussia Dortmund, 19 November
Not only is this is a match-up of last season’s champions and this season’s undisputed favorites, it’s also a match-up between the top two teams in the Bundesliga table.
The stats say it all for Bayern. After a season-opening home defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern have picked up 28 of a possible 33 points to take a five-point lead at the top. In 12 matches this season, Bayern have scored 32 goals and allowed only four, and after that defeat in their opener, they registered an astounding eight straight clean sheets in the league and 12 clean sheets in a row in all competitions.
However, there are several challengers that are still within striking distance, with three sides within five points. At the head of that trio are Dortmund, who have caught fire after a stuttering start to life as reigning champions. Since a 2-1-3 start, Dortmund have gone 5-1-0 in their last six matches, and in that unbeaten run, they’ve scored 19 goals and allowed only three.
Bayern have been absolutely dominant at home in their hot run, winning five in a row by a combined margin of 23-0, so it won’t be easy for Dortmund to get a result at the Allianz Arena. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side did pick up a 3-1 win there in February, which was their first away league win against Bayern since 1991, and with their own fantastic form in mind, they’ll be confident about their chances.
Football tickets are always a hot item, especially when it’s a Bayern Munich match. And if you want to be there to see Bayern and Dortmund face off at the Allianz Arena, tickets are available on TicketBis from £238.21.
Borussia Dortmund v. Schalke 04, 26 November
Whether they win, lose, or draw against Bayern, Dortmund can’t spend too much time thinking about the result, as they have a key Champions League match the following Wednesday at Arsenal, followed by a Saturday showdown against fierce rivals Schalke.
After finishing 14th last season and selling world-class keeper Manuel Neuer to Bayern, Schalke might have been overlooked coming into this season, but they have started solidly and currently sit fifth, only one point behind Dortmund and six behind Bayern. Like Dortmund, they’ve had to deal with some ups and downs, including the resignation of manager Ralf Rangnick in September.
Since Rangnick’s resignation, Schalke are 4-1-1 in the Bundesliga and 7-2-1 in all competitions, with ‘new’ boss Huub Stevens making quite a return to his former club.
Whenever two fierce rivals face off, it’s always a highly-anticipated and tense match-up, even if bragging rights are the only thing on the line. But with both sides high in the table, it’s sure to be even more of an electric atmosphere at the Westfalenstadion. And while Dortmund have been excellent at home over the last few seasons, with only five home defeats in 56 matches over the last three-plus seasons, it’s worth noting that Schalke are 5-2-1 in their last eight league visits to Dortmund.
Dortmund v Schalke tickets are available on TicketBis from £172.79.
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Werder Bremen, 19 November
Not only do the top two teams in the Bundesliga table face off right after the international break, the third and fourth-placed sides do as well, as surprise package Monchengladbach take on Werder Bremen, who look like contenders once again after a forgettable campaign last season.
Monchengladbach’s great successes in the 70s is a distant memory, as they’ve been a mainstay at the bottom recently, but they look intent on changing that this season. After their stunning success at Bayern, Lucien Favre’s side hasn’t dropped off, thanks to a stingy defense that has surrendered only nine goals in 12 matches, an unbeaten home mark, and the fine play of highly-rated attacker Marco Reus. The Foals currently sit fourth, level on points with Dortmund and Werder Bremen but behind both on goal differential.
While Monchengladbach’s place in the top four is quite unexpected, Werder Bremen are back where we’ve grown accustomed to seeing them. Last season, they finished an extremely disappointing 13th, but if there were any questions about Thomas Schaaf’s job security coming into the season, they shouldn’t be there now. They started 5-1-1 this season, and after a little blip in October, recorded back-to-back league wins to go into the international break on a high.
The hosts will fancy their chances in this one, as they’re 4-2-0 at home this season, and they’re 6-1-2 in their last nine home league matches against Werder Bremen. But if Monchengladbach want to maintain that unbeaten home record and perhaps even move into second in the table, they must stop the in-form Claudio Pizarro, who has 11 goals and four assists in 11 league appearances.
M’gladbach v Werder Bremen tickets are available on TicketBis from £63.13.
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