The 2019-20 Bundesliga season returns this weekend and my goodness are we glad to be writing a preview focusing on the nine games, of which a Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke headlines.
[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores ]
Matchweek 26 in the Bundesliga will of course see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.
With an almighty title battle set to take place in the final weeks of the season, the Bundesliga will provide epic drama with plenty on the line up and down the league as it is the first of Europe’s ‘big five’ to return amid the coronavirus pandemic. Strict safety protocols are in place as Bundesliga teams have been training for weeks ahead of these games and the outbreak in Germany has been largely controlled due to widespread testing.
[ MORE: Bundesliga latest news ]
Borussia Dortmund v. Schalke: 9:30 a.m. ET, Saturday
Focusing on this weekend, Borussia Dortmund host bitter rivals Schalke with both teams desperate for the win. Schalke are in sixth place and ahead of a cluster of teams in the race for a Europa League spot, while Dortmund are in second and four points off leaders Bayern Munich.
USMNT fans will have a close eye on this game with Giovanni Reyna, 17, a rising star for Dortmund, while Weston McKennie is a regular for David Wagner’s Schalke. Even without fans the atmosphere will be intense for this huge rivalry, especially with so much on the line and especially because games have been suspended for over two months. Lucien Favre has a stacked young squad to choose from, as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Reyna and Mario Gotze give him plenty of options in attack. Marco Reus, Emre Can and Axel Witsel are all said to be out of this clash as they work their way back to full fitness. The Revierderby is a great way to get things going again.
Union Berlin v. Bayern Munich: 12 p.m. ET, Sunday
The newly-promoted upstarts have settled into life in the Bundesliga extremely well as Union Berlin sit pretty in midtable. Bayern are top of the table but have a host of challengers and Hansi Flick’s side have a tough remaining schedule. Flick was handed a long-term contract after doing a fine job to turn things around but there’s no doubt the suspension hit Bayern’s momentum hard as Alphonso Davies and Co. were in fine form in March as they tried to surge towards an eighth-straight title. Bayern can’t afford to drop points with big games against Leverkusen, Dortmund and ‘Gladbach to come.
Quick look at the other games…
Plenty of USMNT stars are in action around the Bundesliga with Timmy Chandler having a great season for topsy-turvy Eintracht Frankfurt who host Fabian Johnson’s Borussia Monchengladbach who are fourth. Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig have great momentum and are challenging for the title and in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League. Julian Nagelsmann’s talented side host SC Freiburg who are battling for European qualification. John Brooks’ Wolfsburg are in the hunt for Europe too and they host struggling Augsburg. Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn square off in a huge game at the bottom as USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales will be key for the home side, while goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been struggling with a knee injury. Josh Sargent’s struggling Werder Bremen host Bayer Leverkusen who are in the top four hunt as all eyes will be on the host of young Americans in the Bundesliga.
Saturday, May 16
9:30 a.m. ET: Augsburg v. Wolfsburg
9:30 a.m. ET: Borussia Dortmund v. Schalke
9:30 a.m. ET: Fortuna Dusseldorf v. Paderborn
9:30 a.m. ET: Hoffenheim v. Hertha Berlin
9:30 a.m. ET: RB Leipzig v. SC Freiburg
12:30 p.m. ET: Eintracht Frankfurt v. Borussia Monchengladbach
Sunday, May 17
9:30 a.m. ET: Cologne v. Mainz
12 p.m. ET: Union Berlin v. Bayern Munich
Monday, May 18
2:30 p.m. ET: Werder Bremen v. Bayer Leverkusen