Borussia Dortmund: No Götze? No Kagawa? No problem.
This weekend the league leaders will be without midfielders Mario Götze and Shinji Kagawa. Götze is still out from his pubic bone injury, and Kagawa is now out with an ankle injury. This weekend they travel to Berlin in an attempt to avenge one of their three losses this season. Berlin have been in an absolute freefall since the new year, and Dortmund should still make easy work of them without Kagawa.
There are several moves that we could see from Jürgen Klopp this weekend, but two stand out from the rest. The first would be to drop Robert Lewandowski deeper and start Lucas Barrios up top. Barrios hasn't been the number one choice in some time with the rise of Lewandowski. The second option would be to to plug Ivan Perisic into the hole behind Lewandowski.
Whatever Klopp decides to do more than likely will get the job done against Hertha. There's no reason to be worried, Dortmund supporters.
Hamburg Thinking Of Europe?
The resurgence of Hamburg after what can only be described as a disaster of all starts is quite impressive. The appointment of Thorsten Fink appears to have been a master stroke of brilliance on the part of chairman Carl-Edgar Jarchow and sporting director Frank Arnesen.
The club lost six of their first eight matches, and since the appointment of Fink they've only lost one match in their last twelve. If they can turn some of the seven draws in those twelve matches into wins, they will likely continue to rise in the table as the season progresses. They have a huge opportunity this weekend when they host 5th place Werder Bremen. Hamburg are seven points behind Bremen, and the win would be massive for a club that was beyond abysmal a few months ago.
Schalke Need A Victory
Schalke hasn't been in great form over the last several weeks. A draw with Mainz and a thrashing from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the league and a draw with Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League have left the team needing answers.
The first half performance against Gladbach was something that every supporter wants to forget. Schalke have been all over the park defensively and finding a back four that shares a mutual confidence with goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall. Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Benedikt Höwedes are competent enough centerbacks but can Schalke supporters count on them week after week in a title race?
Scoring goals has not been a problem for the club all season. Only Bayern Munich has found the back of the net more times. Wolfsburg have had their own defensive struggles this season and are the perfect side for Schalke to get back on track against.
Friday, February 17
Hoffenheim vs Mainz
Saturday, February 18
Nürnberg vs Köln
Kaiserslautern vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen vs Augsburg
Hamburg vs Werder Bremen
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich
Sunday, February 19
Schalke vs Wolfsburg
Hannover 96 vs Stuttgart