Bundesliga Midweek Preview Round 5: Bayern Munich Look To End Goal Drought

There's a northern derby between Hamburg and Wolfsburg while Schalke's quest for a point takes them to Freiburg.
Tuesday (all times local)
20:00 - Mainz - Koeln
20:00 - Hoffenheim - Bayern Munich
20:00 - Hannover - Werder Bremen


20:00 - Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
20:00 - Borussia Dortmund - Kaiserslautern
20:00 - Hamburg - Wolfsburg
20:00 - Borussia Moenchengladbach - St Pauli
20:00 - Freiburg - Schalke
20:00 - Nuernberg - Stuttgart

Mainz - Koeln

Mainz made it a perfect four wins from four matches last weekend, after earning a 2-0 victory away to Werder Bremen. The high-flying "oh-fives" will hope to continue their remarkable streak this weekend, but will have to do so without the services of Heinz Mueller. Otherwise, the league leaders will be at full strength.

A resolute Koeln defence held Bayern Munich for 90 minutes on Saturday, earning Zvonimir Soldo's men a deserved point. Currently in mid-table, die Geissboecke will probably not try to press their luck against red-hot Mainz. Soldo may use the same ultra-defensive line-up that featured against Bayern, or opt for a bit more forward-minded approach with more than one attacker. As the match approaches, Kevin McKenna, Manasseh Ishiaku, Adil Chihi, and Christopher Schorch have been ruled out.

Hoffenheim - Bayern Munich

Following last weekend's draw with Kaiserslautern, Hoffenheim have lost their grip on first place. The village side will hope to rebound in midweek, but face a difficult challenge in Bayern. Coach Ralf Rangnick has a couple of tough selection choices to make, but will certainly be without Matthias Jaissle, and Chinedu Obasi. Bosnian duo Vedad Ibisevic and Sejad Salihovic are also doubtful after picking up knocks at the weekend.

Bayern have gone 270 minutes without scoring in the Bundesliga, and are off to a rather dismal start to their domestic campaign, having taken just five points from four games. Winless since matchday one, coach Louis van Gaal will try to bring out the best of his faltering team against a very strong Hoffenheim side. Arjen Robben remains unavailable with a hamstring tear, and Breno is doubtful due to fitness concerns, but van Gaal should otherwise have a full squad available.

Hannover - Werder Bremen

Hannover had started the season in relatively excellent form, having gone undefeated for three matches. That streak ended with last weekend's defeat to Wolfsburg, however. Mirko Slomka's men will look to rebound at home against struggling Bremen, but will be without Leon Andreasen, Mario Eggimann, Altin Lala, and long-term casualty Carlitos.

The year hasn't begun well for Bremen. A host of injuries have left the northern side struggling to keep up with their rivals, and after four matches, Werder have just four points. They next face a tricky Hannover side that can be lethal on their day. Per Mertesacker and Claudio Pizarro are not quite fit enough to play, and additionally, coach Thomas Schaaf will have to do without Naldo and Sebastian Boenisch.

Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt

Leverkusen may have been convincing winners in the Europa League over Rosenborg but they found stubborn Nuernberg a tougher nut to crack, only managing a 0-0 draw at the Bay-Arena. Stefan Kiessling looks to be out for a while after picking up an injury to his left ankle, which forced him off the field during Sunday's game. Michael Ballack, Patrick Helmes and Renauto Augusto also miss out however, there is some relief for Jupp Heynckes who can name Simon Rolfes among the substitutes.

Frankfurt have endured a difficult start to the season with three defeats including a 1-0 home reverse against Freiburg, in which Michael Skibbe's side never got out of second gear. Die Adler do have an advantage of two days extra rest over Bayer, which could work in their favor. A number of players are missing including Zlatan Bajramovic, Ioannis Amanatidis, Aleksandar Vasoski and Sebastian Rode.

Borussia Dortmund - Kaiserslautern

Juergen Klopp's side were an irresistible force in the Revierderby as they brushed aside Schalke in a 3-1 demolition. Der BVB will be looking for a fourth successive win in the league and such is their recent form that it's a mystery how they lost so meekly on the opening day to Leverkusen. Sebastian Kehl is out for two months and so Sven Bender will continue to deputize alongside Nuri Sahin in central midfield. Mohamed Zidan, Dede and Hajnal Tamas are all absent with the Hungarian undergoing strength and conditioning work.

Kaiserslautern can be an intimidating side to play up on the hill in the Fritz-Walter Stadion and they stopped Hoffenheim in their tracks at the weekend, drawing 2-2. Die roten Teufel, last season's 2. Bundesliga champions are currently in sixth spot and count Bayern Munich among their victims this campaign. Their only absentee is center-half Jan Simunek who has an abdominal strain.

Hamburg - Wolfsburg

Another northern derby beckons for these sides in arguably the match of this midweek round. Hamburg have started the season well and though die Rothosen have only drawn their last two games against Nuernberg and St Pauli, they are in fifth spot and crucially remain unbeaten. In a curious case of musical chairs at right-back, Guy Demel looks set to replace Tomas Rincon but Paolo Guerrero and Elijero Elia should hold onto their spots at the expense of Mladen Petric and Piotr Trochowski respectively.

At long last Steve McClaren recorded his first win in the Bundesliga as a Diego-inspired Wolfsburg overcame Hannover 2-0 on Saturday. Given the quality at the Englishman's disposal, it is not inconceivable that this will spark a good run of form for die Woelfe, although their still fragile defense will be tested by the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The big worry is that Diego will not shake off a rib injury and Cicero is on standby to play behind Edin Dzeko and Grafite.

Borussia Moenchengladbach - St Pauli

Very much a Jekyll and Hyde team, the same Gladbach side who put six past Bayer in Leverkusen shipped seven against Stuttgart on Saturday. As a result, Michael Frontzeck's side have conceded a staggering fifteen goals already, comfortably the most in the top flight and they will need to drastically tighten up against St Pauli. Die Fohlen are without Belgian striker Igor De Camargo as well as Jean-Sebastien Jaures, Christian Dorda and Tony Jatschke.

St Pauli were two minutes from only their second ever win against Hamburg but in truth neither side deserved to come away with a win in a game that understandably never lived up to the pre-game hype. Nevertheless, Holger Stanislawski will take heart from the performance and fancy his team's chances of a second away win. Their only absentees are goalkeeper Mathias Hain and striker Richard Sukuta-Pasu who will be out for a few weeks.

Freiburg - Schalke

Despite being tipped to struggle by many this season, the Bundesliga's most southern club are proudly occupying fourth spot after four games. Robin Dutt's side were impressive in their 1-0 win in Frankfurt, controlling the game from start to finish. Papiss Demba Cisse has stepped into the breach left by Mohamadou Idrissou with four goals this term. Freiburg are without first-choice 'keeper Simon Pouplin (though Nicolas Baumann is an able deputy), Johannes Flum, Pavel Krmas, Jonathan Jaeger and Tommy Bechmann.

What more can go wrong for Schalke? Felix Magath could not comprehend just how badly die Koenigsblauen were outclassed in the derby against Dortmund as they appear to lurch from one crisis to another. However, a maiden Bundesliga goal for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar may pave the way for better times ahead and crucially, Jermaine Jones returns in central midfield. Long-term injury casualties Levan Kenia, Christian Pander and Tim Hoogland are all out, as is Christoph Metzelder who has an adductor problem. Additionally, Nicolas Plestan is serving a ban after his dismissal on Sunday.

Nuernberg - Stuttgart

Nuernberg may only have three points on the board this season but they have proved to be difficult to beat with three draws from four games, including points against more fancied sides Hamburg and Leverkusen, with whom they drew 0-0 on Sunday. Dieter Hecking is missing Swiss striker Albert Bunjaku and Rubin Okotie.

Stuttgart had been dead last after three games but they burst into life with a thumping 7-0 win against Gladbach's porous defense. Pavel Pogrebnyak's hat-trick may prove to be the catalyst for the Russian to return to the form, which fired Zenit to the UEFA Cup two years ago. Die Schwaben are without defensive duo Philipp Degen and Serdar Tasci as well as the French winger Johan Audel.

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