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Bayern Munich’s entertaining 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig last weekend opened space for the chasing pack to catch up with the champions, and yet only Bayer Leverkusen managed to do so. Their 3-0 win at Schalke brings Leverkusen to within a single point, yet the more likely challenger - Borussia Dortmund - remains four points adrift.
Lucien Favre’s side dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Frankfurt, a crushing blow to their hopes given that Bayern are unlikely to keep playing this poorly for much longer. Dortmund just cannot seem to find consistency this season, but at least RB Leipzig - who looked the better team in the 3-3 draw with Bayern - seem set to challenge for the whole season.
And Bayern’s poor defending in that game offers hope to others, including their opponents this weekend…
Round 11 action
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
Union have only lost one of their home games this season thanks to a sturdy defensive record and their old-fashioned direct approach. Their negative system is just what is needed to sit deep against Bayern, absorb pressure, and look to hit them on the break. However, Union’s 3-1 defeat to rivals Hertha Berlin last weekend makes it six goals conceded in their last two.
Bayern’s forwards are in good form even as they drop points, with Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski performing well to let their error-prone team-mates off the hook. Kingsley Coman is likely to find the space he needs to break through the deep Union defence, ensuring this is a simpler game for the champions than it would have been just a fortnight ago.
But Union do have the firepower to cause problems for Manuel Neuer. They have scored 14 goals in five home games in the Bundesliga, with Max Kruse scoring six goals and assisting five more. He is likely to get on the score sheet in an entertaining game.
Back Bayern to win and over 4.5 goals.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hertha Berlin
This should be a high-scoring game, too. Borussia Monchengladbach’s commitment to high-tempo attacking football means their matches often become stretched, with plenty of runners bursting forward and opportunities for the opponent to counter-attack. Hertha Berlin will likely get sucked into this situation due to their strength on the left, thanks to Matheus Cunha.
Cunha, who has scored six goals and assisted two more this season, will probably be very effective down the left wing, where right-back Valentino Lazaro has struggled recently. Monchengladbach have continually conceded goals and offered up high-quality chances down this wing, with Inter Milan, Freiburg and Schalke all putting them under pressure.
But with Marcus Thuram, Breel Embolo and Alassane Plea exploding forward in attack, Hertha - who have conceded an average of two goals per game - are unlikely, in our view, to come out on top in an end-to-end match. We expect a high-scoring contest, but with the hosts winning fairly comfortably.
Back Monchengladbach to win and over 2.5 goals.
Borussia Dortmund v Stuttgart
Stuttgart have proven very hard to beat this season - unbeaten on their travels in five Bundesliga games and, following the combative 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen earlier this season, were unlucky to lose 3-1 to Bayern Munich recently. Stuttgart were arguably the better team, out-shooting the champions.
Dortmund, then, will struggle to assert themselves. Lucien Favre’s side have only scored once in each of their last three games, struggling for fluency in the face of a congested fixture list. The power and tactical strength in Stuttgart’s team tells us this will be a low-scoring game, with the visitors frustrating Dortmund for long periods.
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