Soccer has returned for the second consecutive weekend without spectators. The first weekend saw only one home team win and only two this weekend. With this being the matchday preceding the Der Klassiker between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, here are my takeaways from the action this Memorial Day weekend.
- Bayern Munich and Dortmund are in great form heading into Tuesday’s showdown
The top two teams in the Bundesliga are separated by four points (Bayern in front) in the table with both Bayern and Dortmund winning both games since the two months with play suspended. Bayern defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 to avenge their worst loss of the season in their reverse fixture. On November 2, 2019, Frankfurt thrashed Bayern 5-1, and the loss saw manager Niko Kovac’s dismissal the next day. They are in great form and that’s part in due to rising superstar in Canadian fullback Alphonso Davies, who notched a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win.
As for Dortmund, they took care of business against Wolfsburg 2-0 to notch their second consecutive clean sheet since play resumed. Their offense wasn’t as crisp as last weekend when they defeated rival Schalke 04 4-0, but they still got the job done today. Despite midfielders Axel Witzel and Marco Reus still out with injury, Dortmund is still in fine form. Mahmoud Dahoud is a force at the midfield and winger Thorgan Hazard continues to produce with assists as he notched his 12th league assist in Saturday’s game. Tuesday’s matchup could either seal the title for Bayern or make the race closer as Dortmund would only trail Bayern by one point if they win.
- Schalke is playing its worst at the worst time
Schalke is a team that usually hangs around the top four or, at least, top six in the Bundesliga table year after year. However, last season they finished 14th despite making it to the Champions League knockout round and were looking to get back to European play this season. Heading into the long suspension, Schalke was sixth and competing for Europa League play next season. In the two games since play resumed, they have looked awful. They were crushed by Dortmund 4-0 and this Saturday, they were blown out 3-0 at home by FC Augsburg, who entered this weekend in 14th place. Schalke hasn’t scored a road goal in six matches and have not won a match since Jan. 17 when they defeated Monchengladbach 2-0. With their current form, it is hard to picture Schalke playing in European competition next season.
- Bayer Leverkusen had most important win of the weekend
No team had a more important win this weekend than Bayer Leverkusen. They entered this weekend outside the top four and played third-place Monchengladbach. Leverkusen needed to win to keep their Champions League hopes alive and they did so in impressive fashion. Attacking midfielder Kai Havertz has taken over for the injured forward Kevin Volland as the go-to scorer and he delivered with two goals in their 3-1 win. Leverkusen is now fourth and with RP Leipzig’s 5-0 win over FSV Mainz 05, Monchengladbach fell to fifth place. While the gap between third and fifth is two points, this was a huge weekend for Leverkusen.