Bundesliga: 5 fixtures you can't miss this weekend
- Bundesliga is coming back and here are the games you must catch over the weekend.
- Bayern sit on top in a close title race but the chasing pack is not far behind.
Football is finally back! On the 16th of May, Bundesliga is set to return. As it will be the first of the top 5 leagues to resume action, the world's eyes will be trained on whatever is going to happen in Germany.
Serial winners Bayern Munich currently sit on top and, despite having struggled in the early stages, had opened up a 4-point lead before the enforced break. The likes of Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach, all of whom at some point have been top, still have a chance.
The top 4 are pretty much on their own with the Champions League spots with Bayer Leverkusen at 5th looking like a genuine contender. The battle for the Europa League spots is more intense, with Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Hoffenheim chasing Schalke who are 6th. Paderborn and Werder Bremen occupy the last two spots and with 4 wins all season, things don't look rosy for them.
Fortuna Dusseldorf sit in the relegation playoff spot and are only just better off. Bayern's Robert Lewandowski is currently leading the race for the Golden Boot.
It is time now for us to look at 5 matches of this Bundesliga gameweek that you cannot miss.
#5 Paderborn vs Fortuna Dusseldorf
Not the most attractive fixture per se, but certainly a very consequential one. Paderborn and, to some extent even Dusseldorf, need to do something amazing in order to stay in the league. So, in the scheme of things, this is virtually a relegation 6-pointer. If Paderborn lose, they sink deeper into the relegation abyss. If Dusseldorf lose, Paderborn are suddenly on their tail and with Bremen having a game in hand, the situation could turn tricky for them. A draw helps no one. So it's a must win game for both.
#4 Freiburg vs RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig were in ominous form before football was paused. They had just smashed Tottenham in both legs of their Champions League Round of 16. They are very impressive and the depth they can boast of is almost ridiculous. And they would like to continue their run and keep the pressure on Bayern.
Freiburg though are no pushovers. They have been good in recent seasons and a win would give a boost to their Europa League chances. Leipzig's young talent are obviously quite well known but Freiburg have a couple of their own young guns too. Watch out for their young striker Luca Walschmidt in particular because he, along with Leipzig's Timo Werner, will lead the line for Germany in the years to come.
#3 Bayern Munich vs Union Berlin
Bayern Munich were probably playing the best football in the world before the pandemic struck. They have played brilliantly under new boss Hansi Flick. Robert Lewandowski has been ethereal and Thomas Muller has rediscovered his mojo.
All in all, it is a pretty scary proposition as opponents. But Union Berlin will be up for it. Promoted just this season, they have shown immense character and have actually made a push towards European places. It's a home fixture for them and hence it's a bit of a shame that their colourful supporters will not be present due to the restrictions in place. Although this might seem a little one sided on paper, one will disregard Union at their own peril.
#2 Borussia Monchengladhbach vs Eintracht Frankfurt
This one is really really exciting. Gladbach have had a wonderful season, but have slipped up a little recently. They were first for a considerable amount of time before Christmas but now lie 4th, 6 points off the pace. They have a solid defensive unit and a fantastic coach in Marco Rose. Yet the best part about Gladbach is their attack. Alassane Plea, Marcus Thuram, Breel Embolo and Lars Stindl comprise an insanely fast and powerful attacking line up.
Frankfurt, on the other hand, have struggled this season. Having lost the trio of Jovic, Haller and Rebic, they have found goals a little hard to come by. Their best player this season has been left winger Filip Kostic. Watch out for Frankfurt's Evan N'Dicka and Gladbach's Denis Zakaria as they will have a lot of suitors when the transfer window opens.
#1 Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke
The big one. The Revierderby. The biggest derby in Germany. Dortmund might have been the more successful club in recent years but Schalke always bring their A game to these fixtures.
A very interesting subplot is the quality of youngsters that will be on display. Dortmund have Jadon Sancho, Erling-Braut Haaland, Achraf Hakimi, Julian Brandt, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Manuel Akanji and Giovanni Reyna whereas Schalke have Amine Harit, Ozan Kabak, Alexander Nubel, Weston McKennie, Suat Serdar, Rabbi Matondo and Jonjoe Kenny.
Dortmund can't afford to lose ground in Bayern's pursuit while Schalke will know that any slip-up would mean that they fall out of the European places. Although the absence of the spectators will be huge miss, the quality of footballing ability on show ought to make up for it.