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Round Six action
RB Leipzig’s 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin last weekend, which kept them top of the Bundesliga as the only side yet to lose, has all but confirmed they are now ready to challenge Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table. This is now a division with three major clubs, or at least that is the impression one gets from watching this talented and tactically astute Julien Nagelsmann team.
Dortmund and Bayern also won comfortably to help this trio pull away from the competition in these early stages, and with Dortmund facing Bayern in Der Klassiker in a fortnight, it's vital neither club slips up this weekend.
At the bottom end of the table, things are taking shape with five clubs all struggling to amass points. Many expected Arminia Bielefield and FC Koln to be near the relegation zone, but it has been an alarming start for Hertha Berlin, Schalke 04 and Mainz 05.
Arminia Bielefield v Borussia Dortmund
This should be a straightforward win for the visitors. Dortmund have impressed this season with a new batch of teenagers coming through to provide fresh energy in the middle of the park, and after holding on to their star players over the summer, that puts Lucien Favre’s side in an enviable position. The likes of Arminia Bielefield just don’t have the defensive clout to stop Erling Haaland or Jadon Sancho.
Dortmund have won three of their five Bundesliga games this season by a three-goal margin, most recently dispatching Schalke 3-0 with another emphatic display from youngster Giovanni Reyna and Haaland, who has scored five goals in five games.
Arminia Bielefield, by contrast, have lost three in a row and were recently hammered 4-1 by Bayern Munich. In that game, Bayern were 1-0 up within eight minutes and took it easy; Dortmund are expected to be similarly comfortable here, giving them the chance of improving their goal difference.
Back Dortmund to win with a -2 handicap.
Dortmund are also favourites over Zenit St. Petersburg in their midweek UCL group match.
Borussia Monchengladbach v RB Leipzig
Borussia Monchengladbach have stabilised after a difficult start to the season, but they remain a little bit clumsy and open at the moment. Marco Rose’s fiery style of football - with hard pressing and vertical possession football - is highly entertaining, but vulnerable to descending into open, end-to-end contests. Five of Gladbach’s eight games in all competitions this season have seen four or more goals.
That means RB Leipzig will fancy their chances of bursting through the Gladbach defence to continue their good form. This should be a very entertaining game between sides with relatively similar tactical set-ups, in which sudden bursts of pace and quick counter-attacks are super-charged by some intricate work on the training field to get their attacking lines synced.
However, Leipzig have only conceded three goals this season and are full of confidence, sitting atop the table. They should edge this one.
Leipzig will have to perform again after a tough midweek match against Manchester United in the UCL.
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen (zero margin game - offering the fairest odds)
This game comes at an unfortunate time for the hosts, and indeed the form guide is our best method of analysing who will come out on top. Freiburg have nose-dived this season, failing to win any of their last four Bundesliga matches and looking particularly disappointing in their 4-0 defeat to Dortmund.
Leverkusen are on fire, winning three on the trot in all competitions, including an impressive 6-2 victory over Nice in the Europa League last week. Lucas Alario is off to a fine start and will expect to add to his goal tally against this leaky Freiburg defence.
The sides might only be separated by three points in the table, but they are decisively moving in opposite directions. The Away team really ought to collect three points.
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