It will come as no surprise to many that it is the Germans who will be the first to kick off amongst Europe’s major football leagues this weekend.
Though the fact remains that the situation at present is unchartered territory, not just for the country or for the Bundesliga, but for the very teams who are now attempting a hastily enforced resumption of play.
Where they left off
This year’s Bundesliga title race looked wide open until Bayern started to claw their way back up the table as they regained form following the sacking of Nico Kovac. Since December the Bavarians remain unbeaten in the league, with only a sole draw to title contenders RB Leipzig any instance of points dropped.
After leading the line for much of the autumn and winter period, Leipzig will be kicking themselves for letting their title lead slip in similar fashion to yours truly last season. Out of the top four contenders, Leipzig went into the break in March with less than ideal form. With four draws from the last six, the eastern up-and-comers have found it difficult to break teams down as of late.
Similarly Mönchengladbach capitulated their early Bundesliga lead and are now clinging to a top four Champions League spot.
Hit the ground running
Dortmund very much need to pick up where they left off. An impressive spate of domestic form has brought only one defeat in the past eight league fixtures since the turn of the year. Free scoring and tight at the back, Die Borussen have finished half of those games with clean sheets and have scored three or more in five of the last eight.
While many have grumbled that the unexpected pause to the season will have interrupted this rich vein of form, Dortmund have clawed their way back into the title race. Since sitting a lowly fifth place at the end of last year, their present predicament will provide a deep and experienced squad something solid and tangible to fight for in seeking revenge over Bayern for last season’s disappointing finish.
A Revierderby to remember?
Although it comes under less than auspicious circumstances, a battle against Schalke could be the perfect place to resume a potentially tumultuous title fight.
This season’s home edition of Germany’s biggest derby is unprecedented by the fact that it will take place behind closed doors, with much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the event.
Team captain Marco Reus is definitely ruled out, still suffering from a thigh complaint from Bremen back in March, while Dan- Axel Zagadou is out with knee ligament issues.
A number of key players such as Witsel, Can, Sancho and Götze have all missed recent training sessions in the immediate build up to the match which does raise cause for concern.
Despite these deficiencies, rivals Schalke find themselves at a loose end, enduring a miserable 2020 so far. Although Revier derbies don’t often follow the script, both sides entered the break in completely different fashion and it’s hoped that Schake haven’t found the answers they need over the break.
You can follow Dortmund’s exploits this weekend in the Bundesliga as well as expert league coverage throughout the season with Bundesliga betting tips.
Can youth be the key to unlock Dortmund’s title hunt?
The resurgence of Dortmund’s season isn’t down to just one man, but if forced you’d have to single out the appearance of Erling Haaland as the vital factor behind a Dortmund side re-energised.
Alongside England international Jadon Sancho, Dortmund have arguably the Bundesliga’s most threatening attack. That youthful exuberance, and at times wilful arrogance, could be the key factor that can lead Dortmund to shrugging off these less than ideal circumstances to make a positive charge forward in the coming weeks.