Bundesliga preview: Everything that you need to know
The 2019-20 Bundesliga season returns this weekend behind closed doors with nine games to be played. The Bundesliga season was suspended back in March in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is the first European domestic competition set to start amid the COVID-19 crisis. After providing a season recap, here we look at the preview of this weekend's matches.
Saturday, May 16: Dortmund vs Schalke, RB Leipzig vs Freiburg, Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin, Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Paderborn, Augsburg vs Wolfsburg (7:00 PM IST), Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Monchengladbach (10:00 PM IST) Sunday, May 17: FC Köln vs Mainz (7:00 PM IST), Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich (9:30 PM IST) Tuesday, May 19: Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen (12:00 AM IST)
Second-placed Dortmund will be aiming to push leaders Bayern. They face sixth-placed Schalke at home in a crunch battle. Leipzig will be targeting a win against Freiburg, it's a crucial match for the third-placed side. Leipzig and Dortmund are separated by just one point and they cannot afford to slip here. Gladbach (49 points) and Leverkusen (47) will also be eyeing respective wins.
Bayern found a lease of life under manager Hansi Flick. The Bavarians soared back to the top of the table in mid-March after registering 10 wins and a draw from 11 league matches. The defending champions will be on their toes in order to seal an eighth successive Bundesliga title. Bayern need to start well against Union Berlin on Sunday.
Bundesliga teams will be allowed up to five substitutions per match when it restarts on Saturday. Players and staff on the sidelines must wear masks. Match balls need to be disinfected regularly. Also, minimal contact will be allowed between players with celebrations using elbows or feet. There will be appropriate security outside the stadiums to prevent potential gathering of fans.
Jadon Sancho's 14 goals and 15 assists mean he has contributed to more goals this season than any other player. Bayern stalwart Robert Lewandowski leads the show with 25 goals, whereas, Leipzig's Timo Werner (21 goals) is one goal shy of a personal record in the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen mid-fielder Kai Havertz has impressed with six goals and five assists so far.