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Bundesliga resumes this weekend: here’s what you need to know

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Bundesliga Is Back

MIAMI, Fla. — (15 May 2020) German football returns on May 16 in both the 1. Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga with a number of strict rules. Football has changed as a result of the COVID-19 enforced break and a number of new rules are set to be introduced. Teams won’t go onto the pitch together, players can’t touch in celebration of a goal and players on the bench have to wear a mask. No handshakes will be allowed.

In both leagues, the season will continue from matchday 26. The subsequent matchdays will follow in the order originally planned. The final matchdays of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga are scheduled for 27 and 28 June, respectively.

The round of games in Spieltage 26 in the Bundesliga shapes up as follows:

Matchday 26: The Games
Dortmund v Schalke 04
Leipzig v Freiburg
Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin
Augsburg v Wolfsburg
Düsseldorf v Paderborn
Frankfurt v Mönchengladbach
Köln v Mainz
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
Bremen v Leverkusen

Kick-offs at 3.30pm CEST/2.30pm BST, Portugal/9.30am ET unless stated
Saturday 16 May

Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke

Schalke 04 central defender Jean-Claire Todibo

Dortmund and Schalke have met 94 times in the Bundesliga, and the big match of the weekend, known as the Revierderby, takes place at Signal Iduma Park in Dortmund. Germany’s most intense derby will once again take centre stage. Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen are separated by only about 32 kilometres (20 miles), and the familiarity definitely breeds contempt.

These two sides have contested their matches with manic intensity: fierce tackles, red cards, legendary goals; title hopes furthered and destroyed. Local pride, passion, and a sense of belonging are all embodied in the Bundesliga’s biggest rivalry. You’re either royal blue or black and yellow — there’s no middle ground here.

More on this rivalry: Revierderby -The history between Borussia-Dortmund and Schalke 04

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Dortmund: 3-4-3 | Bürki – Piszczek (c), Hummels, Akanji – Hakimi, Brandt, Delaney, Guerreiro – Sancho, Haaland, Hazard
Out: Can (muscular), Reus (thigh), Schulz (muscular), Witsel (groin), Zagadou (knee)
Doubtful: Schmelzer (muscular)
Coach: Lucien Favre

Schalke: 4-3-1-2 | Schubert – Kenny, Todibo, Nastasic, Oczipka (c) – Caligiuri, McKennie, Serdar – Harit – Burgstaller, Raman
Out:
Kabak (back), Mascarell (groin), Stambouli (match fitness)
Doubtful: 

Coach: 
David Wagner


Fortuna Düsseldorf vs. Paderborn

Fortuna have just one Bundesliga win in 2020, so the pressure is on to get a result. Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Uwe Rösler’s men — Düsseldorf have not failed to score in a match since Jauary. Midfielder Erik Thommy has been in form and needs to continue leading the charge, since top scorer Rouwen Hennings has not scored in the past eight matches. Goalkeeping is a concern, however. USMNT international goalkeeper Zack Steffen has suffered another knee injury in training so Florian Kastenmeier is likely to get the start. Fellow USA international Alfredo Morales is back in training following a calf problem, although he may have to settle for a place on the bench with fellow midfielder Adam Bodzek also shaking off a thigh complaint. Top-scoring striker Rouwen Hennings – who was left on the bench for the draw at Mainz last time out having yet to score in 2020 – should partner Kenan Karaman up front.

Paderborn come into the game sitting at the bottom of the table, having lost their past four matches. Sriker Streli Mamba leads the squad with fove goals, but he will miss the rest of this season with a knee injury.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Fortuna: 3-5-2 | Kastenmeier – Ayhan, Hoffmann, Suttner – Zimmermann, Stöger, Bodzek, Berisha, Thommy – Karaman, Hennings (c)
Out: 
Fink (personal reasons), Kownacki (knee), Steffen (knee)
Doubtful:
Tekpetey (thigh)
Coach: 
Uwe Rösler

Paderborn: 4-3-3 | Zingerle – Jans, Strohdiek (c), Schonlau, Collins – Vasiliadis, Gjasula, Sabiri – Pröger, Srbeny, Antwi-Adjei
Out: 
Kilian (thigh) 
Doubtful:
Fridjonsson (knock), Mamba (knee), Michel (groin)
Coach: 
Steffen Baumgart


RB Leipzig vs. Freiburg

Leipzig have only won two of their previous seven matches before the break, but have secured their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time ever before the coronavirus-enforced break in play, knocking out last season’s runner’s up Tottenham Hotspur 3-0. Ibrahima Konate‘s is back to being fit and should he play it would be a major boost for the Saxony side. Freiburg have lost all three of their meetings playing away to Leipzig.

Freiburg ended a three-match winless streak by defeating Union Berlin 3-1 last time out. It was the first time the Black Forest side had scored three goals in a game since Matchday 4 and Christian Streich’s side will be looking to take that goal-scoring recipe to Leipzig and upsetting Die Roten Bullen. Freiburg’s captain Christian Günter is healthy once again. He is considered among the best left backs in the league this season.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Leipzig: 3-4-3 | Gulacsi – Mukiele, Klostermann, Halstenberg – Adams, Sabitzer, Laimer, Angelino – Nkunku, Werner – Schick
Out: Ampadu (back), Forsberg (tonsilitis), Upamecano (suspended)
Doubtful: Konate (match fitness)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann

Freiburg: 3-4-3 | Schwolow – Gulde, Koch, Heintz – Schmid, Haberer, Höfler, Günter (c) – Waldschmidt, Petersen, Höler
Out:
Kübler (knee)
Doubtful: 

Coach: 
Christian Streich


Hoffenheim vs. Hertha Berlin

Hoffenheim are winless in their last five Bundesliga games, yet still manage to trail Schalke for sixth place in the table by only two points. They are among four clubs, including Freiburg and Wolfsburg as well as Schalke 04, who are fighting for the final UEFA Europa League qualification spot. Alfred Schreuder’s side are led by Andrej Kramaric and Christoph Baumgartner. Reports indicate Kramaric is expected to miss this game as he is recovering from an ankle injury.

“We’re ready to get started again.” undefined

Alfred Schreuder, Manager TSG Hoffenheim

Hertha’s last match resulted in a 2-2 draw against Bremen, but they also come into the match with a five game unbeaten streak on the road. Finding consistentcy, however, has been a problem all year. A stretch of three wins in 10 matches cost manager Alexander Nouri his job. Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha has completed four matches now for the capital club and has scored two goals. Before the interuption in play, the former Curitiba FC player seemed to have found his form since arriving in January from RB Leipzig.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Hoffenheim: 3-5-2 | Baumann – Posch, Akpoguma, Hübner (c) – Kaderabek, Rudy, Grillitsch, Samassekou, Skov – Bebou, Baumgartner
Out: 
Adamyan (ankle), Belfodil (knee), Esser (not included), Kramaric (ankle)
Doubtful: 
Coach: 
Alfred Schreuder

Hertha: 4-3-1-2 | Jarstein – Klünter, Stark (c), Boyata, Mittelstädt – Skjelbred, Grujic, Maier – Cunha – Piatek, Dilrosun
Out: 
Darida (suspended), Kalou (not included), Rekik (knee)
Doubtful: 

Coach: 
Bruno Labbadia


Augsburg vs. Wolfsburg

Augsburg are winless in their last four meetings with Wolfsburg, and prior to the suspension of the competition, the Bavarian side had a winless run of five consecutive league games, which cost Martin Schmidt his job as head coach. He has been replaced by former Bayer Leverkusen tactician Heiko Herrlich, who will be coaching his first game as Augsburg’s man in charge. The team is just five points clear of the relegation zone, and cannot afford to drop points.

Wolfsburg are set to lean on Josip Brekalo for creative inspiration in the absence of suspended top scorer Wout Weghorst when they travel to Augsburg on Saturday. They have scored 10 goals in their last five Bundesliga matches.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Augsburg: 4-2-3-1 | Koubek – Framberger, Gouweleeuw, Jedvaj, Max – Khedira, Baier (c) – Richter, Löwen, Vargas – Niederlechner
Out: –
Doubtful: Finnbogason (knee), Giefer (foot), Schieber (calf)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich

Wolfsburg: 4-3-3 | Casteels (c) – Mbabu, Knoche, Brooks, Roussillon – Steffen, Schlager, Arnold – Mehmedi, Ginczek, Brekalo
Out:
Camacho (ankle), Gerhardt (head injury), Guilavogui (knee), Weghorst (suspended), William (knee)
Doubtful: 

Coach: 
Oliver Glasner


Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (6.30pm CEST/5.30pm BST/12.30pm ET)

Eintracht Frankfurt are hoping to snap a three-game losing run, and will look to the duo of Portuguese striker Andre Silva and Serbian midfielder Filip Kostic to get the job done. The Adler have been a team in contrast this season: beginning the 2020 campaign in blistering form, earning 10 points from their first four Bundesliga outings, but thereafter Adi Hütter’s men stumbled, losing to Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen in their three most recent league outings. Their league form constradicts results in cup competitions, where Frankfurt has progressed to the semi-finals of the German Cup.

Möenchengladbach are looking for their seventh away win of the season, and are in pursuit of earning a top-four berth. Marco Rose’s side sit in fourth place, trailing second-place Dortmund by only two points. The team has an impressive player in Breel Embolo, who in the club’s last game repaid Rose’s faith in him by scoring one and creating another. He should keep club captain Lars Stindl out of the team, slotting in behind Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea. At the defensive end of the pitch, Matthias Ginter has been putting up some impressive numbers for the league’s third-best defence. Mönchengladbach are unbeaten in their last three away games, taking seven points from a possible nine.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Frankfurt: 4-2-3-1 | Trapp – Toure, Abraham (c), Hinteregger, N’Dicka – Ilsanker, Rode – Chandler, Kamada, Kostic – Silva
Out:
de Guzman (not included), Paciencia (thigh), Russ (match fitness)
Doubtful:

Coach: 
Adi Hütter

Möenchengladbach: 4-3-1-2 | Sommer (c) – Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini – Herrmann, Strobl, Neuhaus – Embolo – Plea, Thuram
Out: 
Johnson (muscular), Zakaria (knee)
Doubtful:
Kramer (match fitness), Stindl (match fitness)
Coach: 
Marco Rose


Sunday 17 May

Cologne vs. Mainz

The Billy Goats have won five of their last six Bundesliga home games, only losing to Bayern Munich, and hope to ride that wave when Mainz come to town. They also won three of their past four games before play was interrupted. Jhon Cordoba – previously of Mainz – will look to add to his team-high 10 goals this season.

Mainz, meanwhile, currently occupy 15th position in the table, just four points clear of 16th-placed Fortuna Dusseldorf with both teams having played 25 matches. Achim Beierlorzer’s side have been present in the top flight of German football since 2009, but could be in trouble continuing that streak if they do not win some points in the coming weeks. They will be missing the services of last season’s top scorer Jean-Phillipe Mateta ruled out after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season. That will put pressure on Sweedish striker Robin Quaison to find the back of the net. During 2019/20 Quaison has netted 12 goals, fourth best in the Bundesliga. His two assists rank fifth-most in his team along with Moussa Niakhaté. Quaison also leads Mainz in shots at goal with 58.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Cologne: 4-2-3-1 | Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Katterbach – Skhiri, Hector (c) – Kainz, Uth, Jakobs – Cordoba
Out: 
Czichos (match fitness), Hauptmann (match fitness)
Doubtful:
Coach: 
Markus Gisdol

Mainz: 3-4-2-1 | Müller – St. Juste, Bruma, Niakhate – Baku, Barreiro, Latza (c), Mwene – Onisiwo, Quaison – Szalai
Out: Mateta (suspended), Zentner (knee)
Doubtful:

Coach: 
Achim Beierlorzer


Union Berlin vs. Bayern Munich (6pm CEST/5pm BST/12pm ET)

It would be easy to say that Bayern Munich’s trip to Union Berlin will be an easy win. Not so fast my friend. In their last meeting, Union nearly upset the league leaders in Munich, falling just short in a 2-1 loss.

Bayern arrives in the capital with a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions, including advancing in both the Deutsch Pokal (German Cup) and UEFA Champions League. Robert Lewandowski’s 25 goals has been key, but the playmaking ability of Canadian international Alphonso Davies and Serge Gnabry will be in demand.

Union Berlin currently sit in 11th place, but have managed to move away from the relegation zone due to victories over Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Augsburg before the season was suspended. However, they will be without leading scorer Sebastian Andersson who is injured. Danish striker Marcus Ingvartsen is expected to fill the Swede’s presence at striker. Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson, with 11 goals this season (6 of them from headers) will lead the attack up top for the Berliners.

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Union: 3-4-2-1 | Gikiewicz – Hübner, Schlotterbeck, Subotic – Trimmel (c), Gentner, Andrich, Lenz – Ingvartsen, Bülter – Andersson
Out: 
Becker (thigh), Friedrich (suspended), Gogia (match fitness), Malli (match fitness)
Doubtful: 

Coach: 
Urs Fischer

Bayern Munich: 4-2-3-1 | Neuer (c) – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Thiago – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski
Out: 
Coutinho (ankle), Süle (match fitness), Tolisso (ankle)
Doubtful:
Martinez (match fitness)
Coach: 
Hansi Flick


Monday 18 May

Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen (8.30pm CEST/7.30pm BST/2.30pm ET)

Bremen needs to approach this game as a must win. Time is running out on them in this season’s calendar, and they are in need of points if they are to remain a top-flight club next year. At present, there is a four-point gap between themselves and Fortuna Düsseldorf in the relegation play-off spot. Added pressure comes due to the absence of some key players: Midfielder Davy Klaassen is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out, a game that saw Die Grün-Weißen squander a two-goal lead after six minutes to draw 2-2 with Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion. In addition to missing Klaassen, 41 year-old Claudio Pizarro has been ruled out indefinitely with a thigh strain he picked up in training. Pizarro has player 20 seasons in the Bundesliga, totalling 197 goals in 478 appearances for Bayern Munich, Cologne and now Werder. Fortuntely, their starting goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka is back from a groin injury. Historically a good club at home, Werber Bremen has lost their last six home matches.

Hear Midfielder Maximilian Eggestein speak to the press on the resart – in German

Bayer Leverkusen come into this match as an in form side. In their last game prior to play being stopped, they went to Glasgow and beat Rangers 3-1 to lead in their Europa League last-16 tie. 20-year-old midfielder Kai Havertz scored from the spot to continue his run of scoring or assisting in each of his previous six games in all competitions, and it is hoped he will be a key contributor for Leverkusen again on Monday in his temporary role leading the attack, due to the likely absence of Kevin Volland, the clubs leading goalscorer this seson with 9 tallies. Also likely to miss this match is the Brazilian Paulinho, still only 19, who joined Leverkusen in summer 2018 from Vasco da Gama. He scored two and assisted one in Bayer’s 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt last time out, but has been unable to build on that form in recent weeks.

Paulo Henrique Sampaio Filho, a/k/a Paulinho. Revierfoto via http://www.imago-images.de/imago images/Revierfoto

Related: Who is Paulinho? Bayer Lleverkusen’s Brazil teenager

Anticipated Starting Eleven

Bremen: 3-4-3 | Pavlenka – Veljkovic, Vogt, Moisander (c) – Gebre Selassie, M. Eggestein, Sahin, Friedl – Bittencourt, Selke, Rashica
Out:
Augustinsson (muscular), Klaassen (suspended), Pizarro (thigh)
Doubtful: 
Füllkrug (torn ACL), Möhwald (knee), Toprak (calf)
Coach: 
Florian Kohfeldt

Leverkusen: 3-4-2-1 | Hradecky – Tah, S. Bender, Tapsoba – L. Bender (c), Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz, Wendell – Bellarabi, Diaby – Havertz
Out: 

Doubtful: 
Volland (foot)
Coach: 
Peter Bosz


Projected Starting Lineups (via bundesliga.com)

By Ken Russo

My work in the business of soccer applies skills acquired in law practice with the commercial, communications and team operations side of the sport. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage in dialogue on the business and sporting side of the world's game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.

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