The Bundesliga returns sooner than expected with a Friday opener for game week-17 before a long Winter break that will last till February 12.
Midweek action left more to the records and less for the Saxons, RB Leipzig, who were dropped to third place, following their demoralizing one-all draw away at Wolfsburg.
This weekend, action returns with Peter Stoger looking to move for more points against tougher opponents, TSG Hoffenheim, as Leverkusen and Schalke look to extend unbeaten streaks.
Watch the German Bundesliga Live on Sanyuka TV every Saturday. This weekend, do not miss Eintracht Frankfurt v Schalke 04 at 5:30PM – Local Time
Here is a preview of some of this weekend’s fixtures.
Borussia Dortmund v TSG Hoffenheim – Westfalenstadion; 8:30PM
One-point separates the Westphalians, in sixth, from fifth placed TSG Hoffenheim, who are banking on the new energy brought in by Peter Stoger to bounce back into title contention.
Ending Dortmund’s eight match win-less run, Stoger will still be without starters Marco Reus, Maximilian Phillip, Lukasz Piszczek and Mario Goetz. However, not all hope is lost as he will be with a fully fit Andre Schurrle and Jordon Sancho, and is more likely to stick to the same team that downed Mainz in midweek.
Not to be missed is the clash of facts; – Peter Stoger has not won against Julian Nagelsmann (D2 L2), but the latter carries a bigger load than just himself. Nagelsmann has not won against Dortmund in three attempts as a manager and Neither has TSG in their last eight meetings.
Will it be Stoger or TSG and Nagelsmann break the jinx first?
Die Kraichgauer, are expected to keep Serge Gnabry and one of Andrej Kramaric or Nadiem Amiri upfront. But they will unfortunately be without Sandro Wagner who is out with a knee injury and suspended Dennis Geiger.
Borussia Dortmund: Roman Bürki; Jeremy Toljan-Omer Toprak-Sokratis (c)-Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl-Kagawa-Guerreiro; Andriy Yarmolenko-Pulisic; Aubameyang
Hoffenheim: Oliver Baumann; Posch-Kevin Vogt (c)- Benjamin Hübner; Pavel Kaderabek-Florian Grillitsch-Kerem Demirbay-Steven Zuber; Nadiem Amiri, Gnabry; Mark Uth
VfB Stuttgart v Bayern Munich – Mercedes-Benz Arena; 5:30PM
Having clinched the Bundesliga Winter Championship, the Bavarians will be heading for a tougher test against VfB Stuttgart, a side that has lost just once at home in 2017.
The Bavarians continue to look more rejuvenated since the return Jupp Heynckes having lost only once against Gladbach on Match Day 13. Good to be onside, Bayern have defeated Stuttgart fourteen times, a record no other team stands at having last fallen to Die Roten seven years ago.
Now into the top ten Bundesliga all time top scorers, Robert Lewandowski will be looking to make more strides to the top scorer’s gong before May; – Stuttgart could be in for more trouble.
Sven Ulreich could return to the starting lineup following return to training to training on Thursday and so are Mats Hummels and Joshua Kimmich who were substitutes against Cologne in midweek.
Stuttgart have suffered three straight Bundesliga defeats, all in which they have failed to score and are back in the relegation zone. The absence of Anastasios Donis who had just returned from injury could prove to be a major setback. However, Chadrac Akolo, who was injured in the first half, has been in training and is expected to be feature.
Stuttgart:Ron Zieler – Andreas Beck- Benjamin Pavard-Baumgartl-Holger Badstuber; Emiliano Insua – Ascacibar-Christian Gentner (c); Chadrac Akolo-Berkay Özcan; Simon Terodde
Bayern:Sven Ulreich; Joshua Kimmich -Jerome Boateng-Hummels-Alaba; Jarvi Martinez-Vidal; Thomas Müller (c)-James Rodrigues- Kingsley Coman; Lewandowski
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hamburger SV 10:30PM
Saturday – All fixtures at 5:30PM
Frankfurt v Schalke 04
FC Koln v Wolfsburg
FC Augsburg v SC Freiburg
Werder Bremen v Mainz 05
Hannover 96 v Bayer Leverkusen – 5:30PM
RB Leipzig v Hertha Berlin – 8PM