Bundesliga 2015-16: Gameweek 4 – Preview
Thomas Tuchel`s arrival at Borussia Dortmund following the departure of Juergen Klopp has revitalised the Westphalian club after a very underwhelming 2014-15 campaign.
Berlin: Thomas Tuchel`s arrival at Borussia Dortmund following the departure of Juergen Klopp has revitalised the Westphalian club after a very underwhelming 2014-15 campaign.
Dortmund are the league`s early pacesetters, above Bayern Munich on goal difference, after thumping wins over Borussia Moenchengladbach, newcomers Ingolstadt and Hertha Berlin with a trip to lowly Hanover awaiting them on Saturday.
However, Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lukasz Piszczek all returned prematurely from international duty due to injury with their status for the weekend up in the air.
Bayern outclassed Bayer Leverkusen, one of Germany`s four Champions League representative, last time out to maintain their perfect start this term and have a Bavarian derby against Augsburg to contend with on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola will be without Arjen Robben for a month though after the Dutchman picked up a groin strain during his country`s shock 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat at home to Iceland.
Augsburg have beaten Bayern twice in their last three meetings, albeit when Guardiola`s men had already wrapped up the title, but Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm is keen to set the record straight.
"We`re the home team, and we want the next three points," Lahm said, in quotes published on the Bundesliga`s official website.
"We`ve started the season well and we want to carry on this way."
Borussia Moenchengladbach will look to belatedly breathe life into their Bundesliga campaign on Friday when they take on Hamburg ahead of next week`s first foray into the Champions League group stage.
Three straight defeats to start the season, including a heavy 4-0 reverse at Dortmund in their season opener, have left Lucien Favre`s Gladbach rock bottom and desperate for a morale boost going into next Tuesday`s Group D clash away to Sevilla.
The Foals, who sealed a return to Europe`s elite after a near 40-year absence by virtue of last season`s third-place finish, are expected to welcome back captain Martin Stranzl with the Austrian defender having missed the last six months through injury.
"We have to make sure we produce good results so that we can get our confidence back again," Stranzl, who has seen his team-mates leak eight goals already this term in his absence, told the club`s official website.
"We need to do this as quickly as possible, so that any negative thoughts aren`t allowed to linger.
"After the game against Hamburg, we`ve got a lot of mid-week games and there won`t be much time to rest. For that reason, a win at this stage would be very important," added the veteran centre-half.
Hamburg, the Bundesliga`s only ever-present club, have narrowly escaped relegation twice the past two seasons after coming through a play-off.
Bruno Labbadia`s men again find themselves in the bottom half, a 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Stuttgart representing their lone three points so far.
Julian Draxler and Dante are in line to make their Wolfsburg debuts as last season`s runners-up visit Ingolstadt, who have just one point fewer than Dieter Hecking`s men after two wins in their first three outings.
Leverkusen will try to bounce back from their first loss as promoted Darmstadt, who have drawn their opening three games, make the trip to the BayArena.
Unbeaten Cologne go to Eintracht Frankfurt with Schalke hosting fifth-placed Mainz on Sunday.
Fixtures (kick-offs 1330 GMT unless stated):
Borussia Moenchengladbach v Hamburg (1830 GMT)
Bayern Munich v Augsburg, Bayer Leverkusen v Darmstadt, Hertha Berlin v Stuttgart, Hanover v Borussia Dortmund, Ingolstadt v Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt v Cologne (1630 GMT)
Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen (1330 GMT), Schalke v Mainz (1530 GMT)