Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen If last week’s return of the Bundesliga had a ceremonial, prodigal son feel to it, this weekend’s offering promises to cut through the red tape straight to the serious stuff.
The “new normal” may still be feeling significantly nearer to the “new” end of the scale than the “normal”, but amidst the social distancing, the echoing arenas, the swathe of testing and the bellyful of coronavirus anxiety, there are high stakes to be played for this weekend in the only one of Europe’s top leagues to have taken the plunge back into action.
Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach might only be the longest of long shots for the title between them, but the race for the Champions League is promising to be a mightily close affair of the season’s final eight games.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Werder Bremen: Preview
Football — or soccer, although we should really call it “fussball” in this case — is back, and every sports fan should be excited. “Fussball” is (as you probably have figured out by now) the German word for football, and it’s the only major soccer league in the world that’s resumed play. Thanks to the German FA, we get fussball for three whole days, and trust those that keep up their interest in the Bundesliga . . . this game may look like it’s been shuttled til Monday because it’ll be a boring match up, but the league is smart, and knowing it’s the only top league playing means they’re bringing their A-game to Monday night (well, midday on the other half of the globe, including the United States).
We start with Leverkusen, who despite having qualified for a Champions League position last season (then losing out on the Group Stage, dropping down to Europa League, where they hold a 3-1 league over Rangers) are fighting for that same Champions League spot, and they only have to beat Werder — and hope that Borussia Mönchengladbach don’t take all three points from Eintracht Frankfurt. In fact, this game feels like a warmup for next week, when Leverkusen and Gladbach face off in what could end up being the match that decides fourth place.
Bayer Leverkusen may be hot hot hot right now — since returning from the winter break, they’ve lost just once (to Hoffenheim, of all sides) while beating Dortmund in a 4-3 thriller and holding RB Leipzig to a point — but Werder are desperate.
Yes, that’s a position Werder Bremen almost always find itself in two-thirds of the way into the season. But this year, they’re eight points from safety, and four from even making the relegation playoffs. This time, their fans are justified in freaking out a little. Bremen have scored just two goals since the end of the winter break, however, and even those gave them just a draw against Hertha Berlin. Perhaps red-headed 20-year-old American striker Josh Sargent can be the one to get Die Grun-Weissen back on the scoreboard.