By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Last season’s top two FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund will seek a swift return to their winning ways on Matchday 3 of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season, which also features a Rhine derby as well as a pair of surprise frontrunners.
Treble winners FC Bayern will not be in action until Sunday, when Robert Lewandowski should be back in the starting line-up following their 4-1 defeat at the hands of TSG Hoffenheim last week. Visitors Hertha Berlin lost 3-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 2, but - with new Brazil senior squad member Matheus Cunha in their attack - they could pose problems in Munich.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, will be keen to put their 2-0 defeat against FC Augsburg behind them when they host SC Freiburg on Saturday. Goalkeeper Roman Bürki and England star Jadon Sancho were struggling with illness midweek and regardless of whether they recover or not, Lucien Favre knows his team face a tricky fixture.
Freiburg, after all, look set for another season of proving their doubters wrong, having followed up a 3-2 win at VfB Stuttgart with a 1-1 draw against VfL Wolfsburg.
One of the biggest games of the weekend, the Rhine derby, features two clubs still searching for their first victory of the campaign. 1. FC Köln have already lost to TSG Hoffenheim and Arminia Bielefeld, while Saturday’s visitors Borussia Mönchengladbach have registered just one point in their first two outings this season.
Table toppers Hoffenheim, meanwhile, have scored seven goals in two Bundesliga games under new boss Sebastian Hoeneß, and in-form striker Andrej Kramaric has five of them. The league’s leading goalscorer followed a hat-trick in Cologne with a brace against the defending champions, earning him Man of the Matchday honours in week two.
Hoffenheim’s opposition this weekend also have a forward who is not short of confidence. Andre Silva has netted on the opening two weekends of the season, and if the Portugal international does so again he could potentially lift Eintracht Frankfurt to top spot.
That’s assuming that a Frankfurt victory is coupled with Augsburg dropping points. Following their second home success against Dortmund in three seasons Heiko Herrlich’s outfit will be out to make it three wins from three when they visit VfL Wolfsburg, who have began the new season with two draws.
Matchday 3 kicks off in the capital on Friday, where Union Berlin host out-of-form 1. FSV Mainz 05. Union claimed their first point last week with a hard-earned 1-1 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach, and - with on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius now on their books - they’ll seek to condemn 1. FSV Mainz 05 to a third straight defeat.
The 05ers have promoted assistant coach Jan-Moritz Lichte to replace Achim Beierlorzer as head coach, while there’s also been a change at bottom club FC Schalke 04. The Royal Blues dismissed David Wagner after their 3-1 home loss to SV Werder Bremen, meaning new boss Manuel Baum’s first game in charge will be a daunting one away to Leipzig on Saturday evening. Julian Nagelsmann's home side will be set on taking home full points after last week's 1-1 draw against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Bundesliga's promoted teams in VfB Stuttgart and Arminia Bielefeld will be striving to cement their place in the top half of the table. Leverkusen travel to Stuttgart, who are fresh off a 4-1 victory in Mainz on Matchday 2, while Bielefeld hope their fairytale start can continue in Bremen.