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Bayern heads to Wolfsburg, Dortmund hosts Hoffenheim

25 February 2016, 20:45

Frankfurt - Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller have combined for a record 39 goals so far this season, more than the entire team of Wolfsburg.

That's enough to give Wolfsburg plenty to worry about ahead of their match Saturday in the Bundesliga.

Lewandowski in particular brings back harrowing memories for Wolfsburg. In their match in Munich in the fall, the Poland striker netted all five goals in a 5-1 win, and he only played in the second half. He scored the five inside a nine-minute spell, breaking a Bundesliga record that also included the fastest hat trick.

Lewandowski has a league-high 22 goals so far this season, while Mueller has contributed 17. Their tally of 39 is the highest after 22 matches in the league's history. Mueller may be even more talismanic, Bayern has won its last 50 games in which Mueller scored, according to league statistics.

Wolfsburg was the runner-up to Bayern last season in the Bundesliga and won the German Cup, but it is struggling this season after the departure of key players Kevin de Bruyne and Ivan Perisic and the long-term injury of striker Bas Dost.

Dieter Hecking's team is only eighth and in danger of missing out on a European competition next season. It has scored 32 goals so far, compared to Bayern's 56. It finished last season with 72 goals, 54 coming from the missing trio.

Here are some things to know ahead of this weekend's matches:


Bayern's eight-point lead makes for an apparently safe bet for an unprecedented fourth straight Bundesliga title. No team has squandered such a big advantage in league history.

Bayern has not shone in every match of coach Pep Guardiola's farewell tour, but Mueller and Lewandowski usually come through when needed.

With only one loss and two draws, Bayern needs to keep a safe distance to second-ranked Borussia Dortmund.


Both Bayern and Wolfsburg are missing several players because of injury. Bayern is missing its central defenders and right back Rafinha is suspended.

Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio is struggling to overcome a rib injury, while forward Andre Schuerrle is nursing a groin injury.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is right behind Robert Lewandowski with 21 goals this season. The Gabon striker is chasing a Bundesliga record: Aubameyang has scored in the last 10 home matches and is two games short of the Bundesliga record set more than 40 years ago by Gerd Mueller and Jupp Heynckes.

Dortmund hosts Hoffenheim on Sunday and coach Thomas Tuchel will reunite with someone he knows. Tuchel was in charge of Augsburg's reserve side in 2008, when Julian Nagelsmann played there. Nagelsmann suffered a career-ending injury, was a scout for Tuchel and is now the youngest Bundesliga coach at Hoffenheim.

The 28-year-old Nagelsmann has earned four points from the six possible since taking the job and Hoffehneim could escape from the relegation zone with a win in Dortmund.

Dortmund is undefeated at home this season, earning 28 of the possible 30 points.


After losing all five matches under new coach Thomas Schaaf to start the second half of the season, Hannover is already planning for relegation.

Four points behind Hoffenheim in last place, Hannover appears doomed. It could fall further behind after this weekend and its trip to in-form Stuttgart.

Stuttgart has earned 13 points from its last five matches, the best record since the league returned from its winter break. Stuttgart is now eight points clear of the relegation zone and can even hope for a place in the Europa League next season.


Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt says he has learned his lesson after being banned for three matches from the sideline.

"It's a hard penalty but I accept it and I will try to learn something from it," Schmidt said.

Schmidt refused the leave the coaching zone after being sent off in his team's loss at Borussia Dortmund last weekend, causing an eight-minute interruption as the referee temporarily abandoned the game and sent both teams to the dressing room.

A German soccer federation tribunal on Wednesday imposed the ban for "repeated unsportsmanlike behavior." Schmidt has to serve the three-match ban immediately, and another ban of two matches is suspended.

Schmidt said later he regretted his actions, adding he had wanted an "explanation." He loudly protested over the positioning of a free kick in the buildup to Dortmund's winning goal.

- AP


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