Round 32 action
The big news that has shaken the Bundesliga - Bayern Munich’s announcement that Julian Nagelsmann will be leaving RB Leipzig to take over in the summer. It is typical of Germany’s most dominant club in recent years to take the best parts of their closest rivals, a policy that stretches back to the days when Borussia Dortmund’s star players would be poached each summer while Jurgen Klopp was in charge.
It leaves a bitter taste, not least because Bayern are already on the verge of a ninth consecutive title - albeit acknowledging how impressive that achievement is; a win at home to Borussia Monchengladbach this weekend would do it. How exactly are Germany’s other clubs supposed to catch Bayern if every challenge to their supremacy is immediately quashed by absorbing their most valuable assets?
The title race might be over, but things remain very interesting in the race for top four. Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 win at Wolfsburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, closed the gap to just two points. Dortmund’s season looked dead just a few weeks ago, but now they are favourites to secure Champions League football.
Here are three previews ahead of the weekend games.
Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig
Leipzig have crumbled at just the wrong moment, winning just two of their last five Bundesliga matches to hand Bayern the title. The main issue that had threatened them throughout the season - the lack of a goalscorer following Timo Werner’s departure - finally became decisive, with Nagelsmann’s side now regularly failing to score.
Worse still, the news of the manager’s imminent departure could see the bottom fall out. Leipzig have nothing left to play for and are feeling low, while by contrast Dortmund are flying high after four consecutive league wins. Expect Erling Haaland, with a brace last time out, to lead a fully charged Dortmund side to victory over a team without motivation.
Bayern Munich v Borussia Monchengladbach
It is likely then, that Bayern will already have won the title before their Saturday evening game kicks off, making it a victory parade for their players. However, that is no guarantee of success: defeat in Bayern’s last game spoke to the developing psychological problems since Hans-Dieter Flick’s departure was confirmed. This is a moment of flux at the top of the Bundesliga and there's a chance Monchengladbach could capitalise.
Speaking of flux, Marco Rose has already agreed to be the Dortmund coach next season, although that doesn’t seem to have fazed his team. Their 5-0 win last weekend was characterised by further electric performances from Breel Embolo and Marcus Thuram, both of whom can expect to find joy against Bayern’s high line. It’s never easy visiting the Allianz, but Monchengladbach can at least get on the score sheet.
Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen
Werder Bremen are getting more desperate with each passing week. The bottom clubs keep picking up points while Florian Kohfeldt’s side - who looked completely safe just a few weeks ago - are hurtling towards the danger zone. They have now lost seven consecutive league games, an incredible record that has resulted from total disorganisation at the back.
Their leaky defence surely won’t hold out against the pace and dynamism of Leverkusen, who are the fourth highest goalscorers in the league thanks to Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey. The latter has five goals or assists in his last three games; Bremen’s back three will be quaking in their boots.