LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 01: Philipp Wollscheid of Leverkusen celebrates with team mates after scoring his teams second goal during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and SC Freiburg at BayArena on September 1, 2012 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
The Bundesliga returns with a message of integration through diversity.
The international break is over and the Bundesliga returns this weekend!
This weekend the Bundesliga is partnering with the "Geh' Deinen Weg" (Go Your Way) campaign. The slogan is similar to a "Mein Freund ist Ausländer" (My friend is a foreigner) campaign that took place throughout Germany in 1992. The goal is to promote diversity throughout the country through the football clubs. For the first time since that 1992 campaign, the clubs and their sponsors have agreed this weekend to swap their logos with the "Geh' Deinen Weg" logo for this weekend's matches. The German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel will be in Dortmund for the match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen in support of the cause.
On to the matches...
Friday, September 13
Augsburg vs Wolfsburg - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
Both clubs will be looking to put disappointing losses in the last matchday behind them in Friday's game. Augsburg struggled to put together a consistent attack away to Schalke. Wolfsburg were worse and found themselves throttled by Hannover. After Wolfsburg's opening victory away to Stuttgart, I thought they'd put in a much better showing last week against Hannover. Felix Magath's side has enough talent that they should leave the SGL Arena with all three points. Augsburg won't make things easy for them. They have zero points after their first two matches. They'll need to put together some good performances soon, or we may see the supporters calling for the head of manager Markus Weinzierl.
Prediction: Augsburg 0 - 1 WolfsburgSaturday, September 14
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
The champions will attempt to to extend their unbeaten run in league matches to 31 matches. Bayer Leverkusen is coming to the Westfalenstadion, but I don't think BVB will have many problems. With Mario Götze rounding more and more into full fitness, I can't wait for BVB to "unleash" their full offensive attack against someone. I'm sorry, Leverkusen, but it looks like it's going to be you. After falling in their opening match to Eintracht Frankfurt, Leverkusen bounced back and put Freiburg to the sword in their match. BVB aren't going to drop points in front of the home crowd this weekend.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich vs Mainz - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
I don't like Mainz's chances this weekend as they go to the Allianz Arena. Bayern will be without Arjen Robben who was injured on international duty with the Netherlands this week, but it shouldn't be an issue with Xherdan Shaqiri prepared to step right into the lineup. Look for Bayern to ratchet up their attack early. Mario Mandzukic has been in outstanding form at the beginning of the season for Bayern and has scored in both matches already this season.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3 - 0 Mainz
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Gladbach's big summer signing Luuk de Jong has failed to find the back of the net since joining the club. In their first outing, Juan Arango's brilliant play helped Gladbach to all three points. They were held scoreless by newly promoted Düsseldorf in their last match. They need to get De Jong off the mark this weekend to kickstart his season. Nürnberg's last outing saw them hold the champions Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw. Der Club's defense has been very solid so far this year, and they'll be tested once again this weekend.
Prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 1 Nürnberg
Stuttgart vs Fortuna Düsseldorf - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
With two devastatingly disappointing losses to begin their season, Stuttgart are needing to take all three points at home against Düsseldorf this weekend. Their last match against Bayern Munich saw the defense ship six goals in a major defeat. Düsseldorf have picked up four points this season with a win over Augsburg and a draw against Gladbach. With Stuttgart sitting on zero points after their first two matches, Düsseldorf will have to step up their defense to absorb all of the pressure from the attack.
Prediction: Stuttgart 2 - 0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Hannover vs Werder Bremen - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Hannover have put together two impressive performances so far in the Bundesliga season with a 2-2 draw against Schalke and a dominant 4-0 victory against Wolfsburg where Szabolcs Huszti made his presence felt with four assists. Bremen's performance in their opening match against BVB turned a lot of heads even though they lost. They handled their business in Matchday 2 against Hamburg. Thoma Schaaf's summer additions have come into the club and immediately made a difference. I'm impressed by both teams so far this season, but the advantage goes to Hannover at home.
Prediction: Hannover 2 - 1 Werder Bremen
Greuther Fürth vs Schalke - 18:30 CET / 12:30 PM EDT
Fürth scored their first ever Bundesliga goal, point, and win in Matchday 2 against Mainz. Unfortunately for Fürth, Matchday 3 pits them against Schalke. It will be interesting to see if Ibrahim Afellay gets the start for Schalke, or if Huub Stevens feels he's better as a super sub.
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 0 - 2 Schalke
Sunday, September 15
Freiburg vs Hoffenheim - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
The start of the season has not been going well for either club. Freiburg have one point after an opening day draw, and Hoffenheim have yet to gain one. The Hoff was humiliated in Matchday 2 after a 4-0 beatdown at the hands of newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt. If Markus Babbel cannot get his team performing at a quality level, he could find his way out the door sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Freiburg 1 - 1 Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hamburg - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Frankfurt's return to the Bundesliga has started brilliantly with six points out of two matches. Hamburg have yet to earn a point. Both of these statistics were destined to go down at one point, and both will end this weekend. Frankfurt's Alexander Meier has been in outstanding form to begin the season. Both Leverkusen and Hoffenheim were unable to stop his penetrating runs through their defenses. Thorsten Fink needs a result this weekend, or Hamburg supporters will begin turning against him.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 0 - 1 Hamburg