With our first midweek league matches of the season behind us, the Bundesliga returns on Friday with an intriguing matchup, and the rest of the weekend has some other exciting matches to further your love for Europe's most entertaining league.
Friday, September 28
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Schalke - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
Düsseldorf have yet to concede a goal this season through their first five matches, but they haven't played an offense with the firepower that Schalke possesses. Fabian Giefer has been good in goal, but he hasn't been constantly tested by anyone yet. Düsseldorf's two center midfielders Oliver Fink and Adam Bodzek play very deep providing a lot of support to the defense. Schalke will be testing this backline throughout the match with a consistent attack. For them to break down the defense, Lewis Holtby is going to have to step up his game and provide a solid number 10 option behind Klaas Jan Huntelaar. He's still learning the position trying to replace Raul, but he's struggling a bit at this point. Huntelaar must also start chipping in goals, and he had a rough go of it Mainz.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 0 - 1 Schalke
Saturday, September 29
Bayer Leverkusen vs Greuther Fürth - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Bayer will be going into this match with the mindset that anything less than three points is a failure. Fürth is struggling to put things together in their debut season in the top flight. bayer looked solid Wednesday against Augsburg, but it was just Augsburg. They'll have to work a little harder against Fürth, but they have the players to put goals on the board.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 3 - 1 Greuther Fürth
Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Bayern Munich are sitting atop the table with impressive win after impressive win to start their campaign. Mario Mandzukic has fit in with the club seamlessly, and the Croatian currently leads the league with five goals. Thomas Müller has four goals and three assists through the first five matches and has benefitted from Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben missing time due to injuries. For Bremen, they'll be looking to Kevin De Bruyne to continue contributing to the attack. The Belgian midfielder has been instrumental in the majority of their scoring attacks this season.
Prediction: Werder Bremen 0 - 2 Bayern Munich
Nürnberg vs Stuttgart - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
After a brilliant start to their season, Nürnberg have lost their last two matches. Wednesday they were on the receiving end of a beatdown at the hands of Hannover 96. The play of Hiroshi Kiyotake has been key to the club's success so far this season, and he'll need to find that form again for them to be successful. Stuttgart's campaign so far has been an absolute disaster. The offense is nonexistence, and the defense has been the worst on the season. Bruno Labbadia needs to find that "switch" and flip it. Soon.
Prediction: Nürnberg 1 - 1 Stuttgart
Hoffenheim vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Hoffenheim have hit a great run of form in the last seven days with two big wins over Hannover 96 and Stuttgart. Takashi Usami looked very good against Stuttgart midweek and scored a brilliant goal. The fullbacks have been bombing forward in the last week, and there is no better example than the fact that leftback Fabian Johnson has two goals. Augsburg... I just don't know what to say. They've only scored twice while conceding ten goals. It might take a manager change to get them back on track.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 2 - 0 Augsburg
Hamburg vs Hannover 96 - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Hamburg finally started performing like a Bundesliga club in the last week with a big win against Borussia Dortmund and a draw away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Rafael Van der Vaart has been a sparkplug including a brilliant goal of the year candidate against Gladbach. The concern will continue to be the defense that has allowed ten goals so far this season. If the defense doesn't improve, it won't matter how well the offense is playing. Hannover has relied on Szabolcs Huszti for creativity out of the midfield, and the Hungarian has yet to disappoint. He has three goals and seven assists through five matches and hasn't shown any signs of slowing.
Prediction: Hamburg 1 - 2 Hannover 96
Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 18:30 CET / 12:30 PM EDT
The champions only picked up one point out of a possible six against Hamburg and Nürnberg this week. The attack has been competent, but they've been an absolute mess defensively over the last two matches. Conceding six goals in back to back matches isn't good enough. The poor performances caused an outburst from Mats Hummels after the midweek draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Gladbach picked up a stoppage time goal from Alvaro Dominguez against Hamburg on Wednesday to earn only their fifth point of the season. Lucien Favre's team has to figure out how to start winning games soon, or their dream of another top four finish.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2 - 0 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Sunday, September 30
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Freiburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Eintracht Frankfurt have been brilliant this season with contributions from all over the pitch. They can claim one of the signings of the season with Takashi Inui from from Bochum. Inui has three goals from the midfield in his first five matches and has been the engine to the side so far. Freiburg have an outside shot to end Frankfurt's unbeaten run. They exploded for five goals against Hoffenheim in Matchday 3, but they've only managed two goals in their four other contests. Oliver Baumann and the Freiburg defense hit a great run of form and keep the Frankfurt attack out, but I don't really like their chances.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 2 - 0 Freiburg
Wolfsburg vs Mainz - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
It's time for Felix Magath's team to win a game. They're hosting Mainz and, while neither side has scored many goals to start the season, Wolfsburg does have more weapons at their disposal. Bas Dost was a sought after player this summer, and Die Wolves did manage to sign him. Diego's return from his Spanish sabbatical has been a boost for the club, because he's been very good so far. Unfortunately, his teammates haven't quite caught up with him yet. If Mainz are going to find a goal in this one, it's going to come from Andreas Ivanschitz.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 0 Mainz