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14 Apr 2023 / admin

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Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim - Match Preview

⚽ 15 April 2023 - 13:30 GMT +0

After a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City in midweek UEFA Champions League action left Bayern Munich staring down the barrel of a quarter-final exit, new boss Thomas Tuchel has his work cut out not only to get his troops back on track quickly but also ensure a dressing room rift that resulted in the suspension of Sadio Mané doesn’t derail their season. Holding just a two-point lead at the Bundesliga summit, it’s by no means assured just yet that Bayern will secure a record-extending 11th straight German top-flight crown.

Having secured back-to-back Bundesliga victories in the infancy of his reign, Tuchel now has the chance to become just the fourth Bayern coach since the turn of the century to win his first three league games in charge. With Bayern boasting 11 wins from their last 14 Bundesliga home outings against Hoffenheim (D2, L1) you’d fully expect him to secure that feat and ensure his side ends the weekend still on top.

However, this game has developed an interesting sub-plot which throws the cat amongst the pigeons as far as Bayern’s hopes of an easy afternoon go, with Hoffenheim piecing together an eye-catching three-match winning run. Those priceless nine points have helped steer them clear of the immediate clutches of relegation, but with just a five-point cushion to the drop zone ahead of the round, the job is far from done yet.

Not to downplay Hoffenheim’s winning run, but all three victories did come against sides starting this round in the bottom half of the table. It’s not been quite as plain-sailing for them against the division’s better sides though, winning just two of their 15 Bundesliga games so far this season against teams starting the round tenth or higher, a record that looks ominous as they travel to face high-flying Bayern.

📋 Players to watch: As he has done in three of their last four home league games, Bayern will hope Kingsley Coman can get on the scoresheet given he has never lost on a first-team goalscoring appearance in his career (W49, D3)! Andrej Kramarić has been instrumental to Hoffenheim’s winning run of late, opening the scoring in two of their three successive victories.

Hot stat: Bayern have led at half-time in a league-high 21 of their 27 Bundesliga games this term (HT: D4, L2).

RB Leipzig vs Augsburg - Match Preview

⚽ 15 April 2023 - 13:30 GMT +0

RB Leipzig have a cup semi-final to look forward to and are back in the hunt for a top-three Bundesliga finish following their 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin at the weekend, meaning they’ve everything to play for as the season reaches its climax. It’s as if Leipzig gave up league draws for Lent though, because since early February they’ve won or lost each of their eight Bundesliga fixtures (W4, L4)!

Neutrals will then hope that the passing of Easter won’t give way to a more conservative approach as each of their last five home league fixtures (W3, L2) produced exactly three goals. There’s every chance the goals will keep coming here, as Leipzig have won their last three home H2Hs against Augsburg with each of those games producing at least three goals, playing part to an impressive run of having never lost a Bundesliga meeting here (W5, D1).

That all makes depressing reading for the visitors, who are not yet out of relegation danger themselves following a four-match winless run in the league (D2, L2), bookended by last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Cologne in which they were 2-0 down inside the first 20 minutes. Captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw admitted afterwards that his side simply made “too many mistakes,” and given their historical plight here, a repeat performance will likely see those mistakes punished again.

Their awful record in Leipzig, coupled with a run of nine winless league away games (D2, L7), will see them priced as big outsiders for this contest, even though Augsburg managed to score first in each of their last two Bundesliga road games (D1, L1). Look out for more entertainment though, as Augsburg’s Bundesliga away fixtures this term have produced an eye-catching league-high average of 3.92 goals per game!

📋 Players to watch: Quick out of the blocks, each of Timo Werner’s last three goals for Leipzig opened the scoring. More a fan of growing into the game, four of the last five goals Ruben Vargas netted for Augsburg arrived between the 55th and 65th minute, including one in October’s reverse fixture.

Hot stat: Augsburg are the league’s least disciplined team, collecting an average of 2.85 cards of any colour per game this term.

Stuttgart vs Dortmund - Match Preview

⚽ 15 April 2023 - 13:30 GMT +0

It was a last-gasp goal on the final day of 2021/22 that secured Stuttgart’s top-flight status for another year and they find themselves in a similarly tricky situation this season, although they boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop with a hard-fought 3-2 win away to Bochum last weekend. There’s still a lot of work to be done, although victory here would provisionally move Stuttgart out of the bottom three with Bochum playing the following day.

The Swabians remain in the dreaded relegation play-off spot ahead of this round, yet the outlook is much brighter after the introduction of Sebastian Hoeneß as manager. His two victories from as many games have seen them into the DFB Pokal semi-finals as well as edging them ever closer to safety, although four straight defeats and 12 goals conceded against Borussia Dortmund is enough to temper the expectations of even the most optimistic Stuttgart fan.

After being knocked out of Europe and more recently the DFB Pokal, Dortmund can put their full focus into their faltering title charge. A 2-1 win over Union Berlin last time out kept Bayern within their reach, although they’ll need all three points as well as a slip-up from the ten-time consecutive champions in their game against Hoffenheim if they’re to retake the lead this weekend.

Edin Terzić’s men posted a stunning run of ten straight competitive victories to begin 2023, although they’ve faltered across their last four away games (D1, L3). Despite their travel sickness, Dortmund head into this round having picked up more Bundesliga points in this calendar year than any other side (W10, D1, L1) and so their title challenge remains well and truly on.

📋 Players to watch: Hiroki Ito had a hand in Stuttgart’s opening goal in both of Hoeneß’s games in charge so far (G1, A1), which is impressive seeing as his prior goal involvement came back in October. As for Dortmund, Donyell Malen secured his best-ever scoring streak in the Bundesliga after his match opener last time out made it his third consecutive scoring appearance.

Hot stat: Dortmund has won more Bundesliga away games against Stuttgart (16) than any other side.

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