Bundesliga preview: Matchday Seven

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

It’s been a miserable week for Bundesliga clubs in Europe, with leaders Borussia Dortmund, FC Bayern Munchen and RB Leipzig all suffering defeat in the Champions League, while Hertha Berlin, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, and FC Koln all lost in the Europa League.

The losses had particularly big repercussions in Bavaria and cost coach Carlo Ancelotti his job. How Bayern and the other teams rebound on Matchday Seven will be crucial.

Stability key for Sagnol
While Bayern’s decision to sack Carlo Ancelotti in the wake of their embarrassing 3-0 midweek defeat to big-spending PSG may have come as a surprise to some considering it was only their second reverse of the season, discontent had been rumbling within the ranks for a while. Ancelotti raised a few eyebrows in Paris by dropping several key players, including their most consistent defender Mats Hummels, to the bench. The move backfired spectacularly as Bayern’s defence was given the runaround by Neymar, Edinson Cavani and co.

Squad rotation is expected at a club like Bayern, but when you start upsetting the likes of Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, then the writing is on the wall.
Ancelotti’s number two and former Bayern legend Willy Sagnol has taken over in the interim as the club searches for a new coach. With Sagnol in charge, it will be no surprise if the likes of Hummels and Robben return to the starting line up to face Hertha Berlin as the new coach attempts to restore stability to the squad while also trying to keep pace with the teams above them.

Bayern’s opponent’s Hertha were also in action midweek, where they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Swedish upstarts Ostersunds. Pal Dardai will want a response from his team and with Sagnol still settling in, his team may not have a better chance of getting a result against the reigning champions.

Bosz’s boys to bounce back?
Dortmund will be looking to ensure their home defeat against Real Madrid on Tuesday doesn’t knock them out of their domestic stride as they travel to FC Augsburg on Saturday. It was a chastening experience for Peter Bosz’s side midweek as the Spanish side earned their first win at Signal-Iduna Park in seven attempts thanks to some devastating attacking play from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Augsburg are no Real Madrid, but beating Manuel Baum’s side will not be easy. Augsburg are currently fifth in the table and are unbeaten since Matchday 1. They surprised Leipzig at the Mercedes Benz Arena two weeks ago, and their dynamic front three of Alfred Finnbogason, Michael Gregoritsch and Brazilian Caiuby will be itching to claim another big scalp against Dortmund. Bosz’s side cannot afford to underestimate the opposition if they are to keep their place at the top of the pile.

Leipzig looking to silence Koln
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Leipzig side have enjoyed a mixed start to their domestic campaign, losing two of their opening six fixtures. One thing that has remained consistent for Leipzig though is Timo Werner. The German international has bagged six goals in nine games in all competitions so far, although even he was put off his stride by the incredible noise created by home fans at Besiktas’ Vodafone Arena.

Werner had to be taken off after 32 minutes because the deafening din was causing his health to suffer, but should be fit for the match at rock-bottom FC Koln on Sunday.
Just six games in and Peter Stoger’s Koln are already seemingly locked in a struggle for survival this season, and even Europe has failed to provide a release. Koln suffered a second loss in two games on Thursday as they went down 1-0 at home to Red Star Belgrade. Hasenhuttl and his players will be eyeing Sunday’s meeting as the perfect opportunity to get things back on track following their midweek disappointment and pile even more misery on Stoger’s shoulders – if that is at all possible.

Hoffenheim hope for better
The last team in action in midweek Hoffenheim, remain unbeaten in the Bundesliga, although they are yet to pick up a point in Europe after a 2-1 defeat to Ludogorets. Following the loss in Bulgaria, coach Julian Nagelsmann said that his side failed to show the mentality and will that makes them so formidable in domestic competition.

The young coach will try to ensure that those missing qualities are back in abundance when they take the short trip south to SC Freiburg on Sunday. Christian Streich’s side are so far unbeaten at home, although they are also yet to win, having drawn all three matches.