Bundesliga 2011/12 Match Week 13 Preview

The biggest match of the season to date takes place on Saturday in the Bundesliga. If you aren't watching Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund this weekend then maybe you're not enjoying football.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Kaiserslautern vs Bayer Leverkusen

This is a huge match for Leverkusen. They currently sit in 8th place in the table a whole 10 points behind leaders Bayern Munich. With one win in their last four, Leverkusen needs to maintain the place of the top clubs fighting for a Champions League place. Michael Ballack has been impressive and stable. Leverkusen wil be hoping Ballack's presence guide them to victory.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Schalke 04 vs Nurnberg

Schalke had the chance to jump into second place in the last matchday, but they needed a late second half goal to draw lowly Hamburg. This weekend they play host to fourth from bottom Nürnberg. Winger Jefferson Farfan had to come out of Peru's midweek World Cup Qualifier due to an injury. He hasn't been officially ruled out of the match but most probably he wont be in the starting line up. Schalke will stifle Nürnberg's attack, but it will be a challenge for them to fully get their offense into motion.

Freiburg vs Hertha Berlin

This could be a huge three points for Berlin if they manage the win on the road in Freiburg. While fellow promotion club Augsburg looks certain for relegation at the end of the season, Berlin looks destined for survival.

FC Koln vs FSV Mainz

Stale Solbakken's club are in line for a big home victory this weekend. Mainz are struggling, and this is a great opportunity for Koln to continue to build momentum as we approach the winter break.

VfL Wolfsburg vs Hannover 96

I had a thought that Felix Magath was going to be turning this club around this season, but I think it's time we ask the question, "Is Magath letting the game pass him by?" They've let up 8 goals in their last 2 matches against Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin. This doesn't bode well heading into a matchup against one of Europe's most effective forwards in Hannover's Mohammed Abdellaoue. I've personally been surprised at the quality path that Mirko Slomka has Hannover traveling on again this season. They look good in Europe and are continuing this pace in the league.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Werder Bremen

Whoa. Matchday 13 and this match is number 3 against number 4 in the table? Really. Impressive run by both sides to this point in the season. If you've seen Gladbach this season, you know the story starts and stops with the talented Marco Reus. The guy has scored 7 of their 15 goals. If you can contain Reus, you can stop Gladbach. Will Bremen be able to contain him? I'm not convinced at this point.

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

The highlight of the weekend is obvious Borussia Dortmund traveling to Munich to take on Bayern which will be missing Bastian Schweinsteiger. Dutch winger Arjen Robben could make a return off the bench but any expectation of a significant contribution is likely off course. With Anotliy Tymoshchuck's late red card against Augsburg, Jupp Heynckes central midfield selection will likely be Toni Kroos and Luiz Gustavo. There will be a lot expected of David Alaba to provide some attack on his side of the field to take some of the pressure off of Franck Ribery. Dortmund will be without Serbian international Neven Subotic, and he will likely be replaced by Felipe Santana. While Santana isn't as good as Subotic, the drop off isn't as huge as Bayern losing Schweinsteiger. It will be interesting to see if Jürgen Klopp settles on Shinji Kagawa or Ivan Perisic at the attacking role.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

VfB Stuttgart vs FC Augsburg

Augsburg put in a great showing last matchday against Bayern Munich, but they were unable to find that tying goal in the second half. That Bayern side was coping with the immediate loss of their "engine" Bastian Schweinsteiger. Traveling to Stuttgart will be a much tougher challenge, especially with the magnificent Shinji Okazaki in such fantastic form. The visitors will have a hard time keeping the Japanese international off the scoreboard.

Hamburger SV vs 1899 Hoffenheim

I'm not sure that it's time to start talking about "Must Win Games" for Hamburg, but it's getting closer to that time every week. They can't keep going at their current rate and expect to stay up in the Bundesliga next season. They need more effort and production out of the midfield supporting the defense and the attack. The Hoff will be causing problems for the Hamburg backline with attacks coming from all over the field through Vedad Ibesevic, Fabian Johnson, and Robert Firmino. It's loook like Hmburg will have another torrid match, again.

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