5 questions forward of the restart – DW – 01/19/2023

How a lot will Bayern Munich miss Manuel Neuer?

With Swiss stopper Yann Sommer reportedly near becoming a member of the defending Bundesliga champions from Borussia Mönchengladbach, the reply to that is extra constructive than initially anticipated.

Although many media retailers in Munich remarked on Sommer’s stature — at 1.83 meters (6 toes) tall, he is 10 centimeters shorter than Neuer — his ability is plain. His 19 saves in opposition to Bayern of their 1-1 draw in opposition to Gladbach earlier this season had been proof sufficient.

There may be one factor Sommer hasn’t completed since transferring to Germany in 2014: win a trophy. He could be more likely to accumulate at the very least one in Bavaria — Bayern have a four-point lead atop the Bundesliga desk and are nonetheless within the German Cup — however whether or not he can cause them to the European heights the membership wishes stays an open query.

Although he’ll sit behind a stout protection which options World Cup finalist Dayot Upamecano and Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern’s excessive line of defense may be one thing Sommer would possibly want to regulate to. However as a 34-year-old who has expertise on the worldwide stage with Gladbach and the Swiss nationwide staff, any adjustment should not take too lengthy.

Whether or not Sommer will settle for a backup position is an issue for an additional day, however proper now, the Swiss keeper has an intriguing alternative he has in any other case not had in his profession.

Vincenzo Grifo (center) celebrates a objective for Freiburg along with his teammatesPicture: Robin Rudel/IMAGO

Can Freiburg maintain the tempo?

This season has seen two of the Bundesliga’s cult golf equipment, SC Freiburg and Union Berlin, ascend to beforehand unimaginable heights. Union led the Bundesliga for seven weeks, whereas Freiburg entered the brand new yr in second place.

Sustaining a title problem is tough, although, and Union have already fallen off the tempo, gathering only one level of their closing three video games forward of the World Cup break. Whether or not Freiburg will undergo the same destiny stays to be seen, although FiveThirtyEight, a sports activities evaluation web site, nonetheless offers them a 56% likelihood of remaining within the top-four.

Head coach Christian Streich, who has led the membership for 11 years, will undoubtedly proceed to maintain the expectations low, particularly with the membership additionally having to take care of Europa League fixtures. That stated, Freiburg followers have each motive to dream their aspect can qualify for his or her maiden Champions League marketing campaign.

Edin Terzic stands holding his fist in the air in front of Dortmund's bench
Dortmund have but to search out success because the return of Edin Terzic (center)Picture: Neundorf/Kirchner-Media/image alliance

Can Edin Terzic steer Borussia Dortmund again on the right track?

When Edin Terzic returned to the dugout to interchange Marco Rose, the hope was for Borussia Dortmund to return to the heavy metallic soccer that gained them the German Cup in 2021. That aspiration has to this point turned out to be a pipe dream, with BVB sitting in sixth place an 9 factors off Bayern Munich.

Dortmund have run into their justifiable share of exhausting luck underneath Terzic. Sebastien Haller, their chosen substitute for Erling Haaland, has but to play as a consequence of a most cancers operation. Oft-injured captain Marco Reus was additionally unviable with a calf challenge, although he may make his return quickly.

That stated, Terzic has not acquired the very best out of the expertise at his disposal. Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen, two latest big-money signings, have but to hit the bottom operating, nor has Anthony Modeste, who scored 20 targets final season for Cologne however has discovered the again of the online simply twice this season.

Dortmund’s defence, which was presupposed to obtain a lift from signings Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle, has conceded two targets or extra in seven of their 15 Bundesliga matches.

All this has occurred whereas Rose, who was let go after only one season, has breathed new life into RB Leipzig. Dortmund can nonetheless be a top-four staff this season, however Terzic certainly has his work minimize out for him.

Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug holds his right fist in the air
Niclas Füllkrug celebrates one among his 10 targets for Werder Bremen this seasonPicture: Carmen Jaspersen/dpa/image alliance

Will Niclas Füllkrug keep his scoring tempo?

The Werder Bremen striker’s 10 targets this season earned him a well-deserved spot in Germany’s World Cup squad. With two targets and an help in three video games, he was one of many nation’s lone vibrant spots in what was in any other case a catastrophic group stage exit.

However now that he is again within the Bundesliga, can the 29-year-old sustain the tempo? Some statistics would counsel he is been a bit fortunate, however given his shot quantity — 46 in 14 appearances, second most within the league behind Gladbach’s Marcus Thuram based on Bundesliga.com — means that he may proceed to search out the again of the online even when luck would not fall his means.

His finest Bundesliga season got here in 2017-18, when he bagged 14 targets for Hannover, although that was additionally the one season in his profession through which he performed in all 34 league video games. If wholesome, Füllkrug, who will flip 30 subsequent month, may nicely surpass that on his method to the coveted Torjägerkanone, Germany’s prize for the Bundesliga’s high goalscorer.

And in doing so, he would certainly contribute to newly-promoted Werder Bremen staying up.

Schalke defender Maya Yoshida kneels on both knees in the penalty box
Schalke’s return to the Bundesliga could possibly be short-lived if they do not enhancePicture: David Inderlied/dpa/image alliance

Can Schalke save their season?

After their disastrous relegation two years in the past, Schalke are stuggling as soon as extra of their return to the Bundesliga. Not solely are they all-time low of the desk, they’re 5 factors away from fifteenth place, the final spot for automated survival.

Their sluggish begin to the season value head coach Frank Kramer his job. His substitute, Thomas Reis, additionally appeared uninspiring, having simply been let go by equally struggling membership Bochum.

The squad has many gamers who had been essential to their promotion from the second division final season, however many have but to show they’re ok to stay round within the top-flight. The truth that seven of their 9 factors have come at residence supplies some type of optimism, but when they intend to proceed within the first division, enchancment wants to return in nearly all areas.

However with the Royal Blues’ coffers empty, that enchancment should come from inside.

Bundesliga fixtures:

RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich (Friday 20:30 CET)

Bochum vs. Hertha Berlin (Saturday 15:30)
Stuttgart vs. Mainz 05
Wolfsburg vs. Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Schalke 04
Union Berlin vs. Hoffenheim
Cologne vs. Werder Bremen (Saturday 18:30)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Augsburg (Sunday 15:30)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday 17:30)

Edited by Matt Ford

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