Dortmund, Bayern still charging ahead in Bundesliga
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are leading the charge in the German league. No two teams have ever before started the Bundesliga with five wins at the same time.
The sixth round see midweek games taking place, with defending champion Bayern hosting runner-up Wolfsburg on Tuesday, before Dortmund - which leads Bayern on goal difference - visits Hoffenheim on Wednesday.
Borussia Moenchengladbach and Stuttgart are still looking for their first points after dismal starts to the season. ’Gladbach will have to find a new coach after Lucien Favre resigned Sunday night.
Here are some things to know about the round:
DORTMUND ON SONG
Dortmund’s fans are already singing about the title following the club’s best ever start to the season. The side is reinvigorated under new coach Thomas Tuchel, with 11 straight wins from 11 games across all competitions so far, the latest an impressive 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
No team has ever made such a good start in the Bundesliga, where Dortmund has scored 18 goals and conceded three in its five straight wins.
Hoffenheim has often proved a thorn in Dortmund’s side and there remains an element of bad feeling between the clubs.
This season, however, has not gone according to plan. Hoffenheim has just one point after four defeats in its opening five games.
CHAMPION VS. VICE-CHAMPION
Wolfsburg defeated Bayern 4-1 when the sides last met in January but the team hasn’t fully clicked yet this season following the departure of Kevin de Bruyne and the arrivals of Julian Draxler and Brazilian defender Dante.
Dante will be keen to impress against his former colleagues after being found surplus to requirements at Bayern. Wolfsburg hasn’t conceded in three games.
But Wolfsburg’s 2-0 home win over Hertha Berlin was somewhat fortunate on Saturday, and Bayern will present a far greater challenge on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola was able to rotate his side in the 3-0 win at Darmstadt, with Thomas Mueller, Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm and Thiago Alcantara all starting on the bench, while Robert Lewandowski was left out to recover from a knock.
FROM ’GLADBACH TO WORSE
Moenchengladbach’s bad start to the season took an unexpected turn for the worse Sunday when Lucien Favre decided he’d had enough. Favre saved the club from relegation after taking over in 2011 and led it to the Champions League last season.
But the 57-year-old felt he was no longer the “perfect coach” for ’Gladbach despite strong attempts from sporting director Max Eberl to convince him otherwise. Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Cologne in the Rhine derby proved the final straw.
Former under-23 coach Andre Schubert was to take charge on an interim basis before Augsburg’s visit on Wednesday. Eberl said the club would take its time to find Favre’s replacement.
“We want the best solution for Borussia and won’t panic,” Eberl said on Monday.
STUTTGART’S SIGNS OF LIFE
Despite starting with five straight defeats, Stuttgart has been showing signs of life under new coach Alexander Zorniger.
His side dominated against Schalke on Sunday and created a host of chances to score, only to find Ralf Faehrmann in inspired form in the visiting goal.
Zorniger and the team still have the Stuttgart fans’ support, even if they have no points to show for their efforts.
“Everything can’t be that bad if we’re still being applauded after five losses,” captain Christian Gentner said after the latest one.
On Sunday, Stuttgart visits Hannover, another side desperate for points after four defeats and a draw.
Bayer Leverkusen is also wondering what has gone wrong after three consecutive defeats in the league. Sporting director Rudi Voeller said the side was like a “sleeping beauty” after the loss in Dortmund.
Roger Schmidt’s side hasn’t scored in three games and its defense looks suspect ahead of the visit of Mainz on Wednesday.
Mainz was third, albeit for one night only, after beating Hoffenheim 3-1 on Friday with Yunus Malli scoring a hat trick.
“We didn’t extend his contract (to 2018) to sell him again two days later,” Mainz general manager Christian Heidel said.