Ranking the Bundesliga's Matchday 26 Return Fixtures in Order of Watchability

FC Bayern Muenchen v Hertha BSC - Bundesliga
The Bundesliga shield. | Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

At long, long last, football is back in the form of the Bundesliga. Over two months since Mainz drew 1-1 with Fortuna Düsseldorf, matchday 26 is finally upon us after an agonising period with no football whatsoever.

With Germany managing to control their coronavirus outbreak, the German top flight can finally resume - albeit in the form of Geisterspiele, behind closed doors. With the title race more open than ever and the relegation battle in a crucial stage, there’s so much to be settled.

As football gets set to return in style, 90min ranks the nine Bundesliga fixtures taking place this weekend, in terms of their watchability and potential.

9. Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin

Pavel Kaderabek, Davie Selke
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim face Hertha BSC. | TF-Images/Getty Images

First up is Hoffenheim, who host Hertha Berlin in their return to action. Alfred Schreuder’s are bang in the middle of the table in ninth, while the visitors from Berlin are languishing mid-table in 13th, too far from the European spots.

Hoffenheim will be determined for a win, sitting just two points off the Bundesliga’s European places. They will have to keep tight at the back, with the second-most goals conceded among the top 12 teams contributing to their negative goal difference.

On the other hand, Hertha are just looking to steer further clear from the relegation zone, though currently sit in a neutral position in the table. They will hope to record just their eighth win of the season, which would be their fifth on the road.

When Is Kickoff?: Saturday 16 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: PreZero Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 3 (UK)

8. Augsburg vs Wolfsburg

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-WOLFSBURG-AUGSBURG
Wolfsburg meet Augsburg. | JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty Images

Another clash with teams at opposite ends of the table, Augsburg and Wolfsburg will hopefully provide more entertainment this time round after playing out a drab 0-0 draw at the Volkswagen Arena in October.

After a rocky start to the season, Augsburg managed to climb out of the relegation spots and up to mid-table, though are now just five points from safety. After surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, the Fuggerstädter need to get the ball rolling.

Wolfsburg are currently in contention for one of the Europa League qualifying spots, just a single point off sixth. They will be vying for European success after the suspension of this year’s tournament, where they had a round of 16 meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in store.

When Is Kickoff?: Saturday 16 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: WWK Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport Extra 1 (UK)

7. Köln vs Mainz

Moussa Niakhate, Simon Terodde
1. FSV Mainz 05 face 1. FC Köln. | TF-Images/Getty Images

Separated by six points and six positions, a win for either Köln or Mainz would mean very different outcomes. The hosts could move towards the European spots and gain much-needed momentum, whereas Mainz could soon drop into the relegation playoff spot.

Following promotion from the 2. Bundesliga last season, Köln eventually managed to settle back into life in the top flight. Markus Gisdol’s squad won eight of their last 11 games before the league’s suspension, rising up from bottom to tenth.

Meanwhile, Mainz’s irregular form has been them go up and down the table all season, albeit inside the bottom half. They’ve only won one away game in 2020, though could make it three games unbeaten when they travel to Cologne.

When Is Kickoff?: Sunday 17 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: RheinEnergieStadion
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)

6. Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen

Kevin Volland, Theodor Gebre Selassie
Werder Bremen against Bayer Leverkusen. | TF-Images/Getty Images

The final game of matchday 26 will fall on Monday night, when Werder Bremen welcome Bayer Leverkusen to the Weserstadion. The two sides have the biggest gap between them out of all of the weekend’s fixtures, with a remarkable 12 places separating them.

It’s been a season to forget for Werder, who desperately need to climb out of the relegation zone. They haven’t won since the first matchday after the winter break, and are six points off safety at the foot of the Bundesliga table.

Bayer Leverkusen’s fortunes couldn’t be more contrasting, flying high in fifth. Spearheaded by German starlet Kai Havertz, Leverkusen are eight points off the top with 14 wins to their name, looking to continue their push at the top.

When Is Kickoff?: Monday 18 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 19:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: Weserstadion
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)

5. RB Leipzig vs Freiburg

Timo Werner, Nils Petersen
Sport-Club Freiburg meet RB Leipzig. | TF-Images/Getty Images

RB Leipzig return to action with the aim of continuing their title pursuit, with Freiburg the visitors in Leipzig. With the reverse fixture ending 2-1 to Freiburg, revenge will be on the minds of the Red Bull-backed club when the two meet this weekend.

Leipzig have had a superb season, and are just five points off first place having spent a stint there earlier this season. Die Roten Bullen have been an electrifying force in German football, with just one defeat in their previous 16 Bundesliga matches.

Nevertheless, Freiburg won’t be an easy opposition. Their victory last time out at the Schwarzwald-Stadion shows that they mean business, sitting in eighth eager to break into the European spots in the final stretch of the league season.

When Is Kickoff?: Saturday 16 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: Red Bull Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 2 (UK)

4. Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Paderborn

Christopher Antwi-Adjei, Matthias Zimmermann
SC Paderborn 07 face Fortuna Düsseldorf. | TF-Images/Getty Images

You wouldn’t expect to see this fixture so high up in a list of watchability, given the two sides’ form throughout the season – but Fortuna Düsseldorf’s meeting with Paderborn will be a crucial battle in the fight for Bundesliga survival.

Düsseldorf sat bottom of the table at the time of Friedhelm Funkel’s dismissal, with one solitary win in their last nine games. While Uwe Rösler has improved their form – Fortuna have lost a single league game under him – they are still in the relegation playoff spot.

It’s clear that Düsseldorf have had a season to forget, but Paderborn’s fortunes have been even worse. After earning promotion back to the Bundesliga, they are rooted to the bottom of the table, absolutely desperate for the win in a huge six pointer.

When Is Kickoff?: Saturday 16 May
What Time Is Kickoff?: 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: Merkur Spiel-Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport Extra 2 (UK)

3. Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Mönchengladbach

Marcus Thuram, Oscar Wendt, Danny da Costa
Borussia Mönchengladbach play Eintracht Frankfurt. | TF-Images/Getty Images

Saturday’s late kickoff sees an enticing clash, when high-flying Borussia Mönchengladbach travel down to Eintracht Frankfurt. This meeting has the potential to be an absolute classic, as the Eagles meet the Foals at the Commerzbank-Arena.

Frankfurt’s season has been rather underwhelming, following last year’s seventh-placed finish and Europa League semi-final run last year. Being ten points clear of the bottom two puts Adi Hütter’s side in a safe position, though they now seem to simply be playing for pride.

On the other hand, the situation couldn’t be more different for Mönchengladbach. One of the surprise successes of the season, the Foals sit fourth and six points off the top, and will be determined to make it three consecutive wins on the road.

When Is Kick Off?: Saturday 16 May
What Time Is Kick Off?: 17:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?: Commerzbank-Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)

2. Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich

Sebastian Andersson, Benjamin Pavard
FC Bayern München meet 1. FC Union Berlin. | TF-Images/Getty Images

One of the standout ties of the weekend – and in fact the season – is German giants’ Bayern Munich making their first ever Bundesliga trip to Union Berlin. A 2-1 Bayern win at the Allianz Arena proved to be a close encounter, giving a good indication of what to expect this time round.

Union Berlin have been the feel-good story of the Bundesliga season, recording monumental victories over Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin. Die Eisernen are 11th in the table, and a good run of results could see them push for the European spots.

League leaders and reigning champions Bayern have all the expectations on them, as Die Roten look to win a record 30th league title. Hans-Dieter Flick’s side are contending the tightest title rice of recent years, and Sunday’s win will be key to continuing their lead at the top.

When is Kick Off?: Sunday 17 May
What Time is Kick Off?: 17:00 (BST)
Where is it Played?: Stadion An der Alten Försterei
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)

1. Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke

Omar Mascarell, Marco Reus
FC Schalke 04 play Borussia Dortmund. | TF-Images/Getty Images

For the Bundesliga’s return, all eyes will be on the Signal Iduna Park for the mouth-watering prospect of the Revierderby. The eyes of the world will turn to North Rhine-Westphalia, when Borussia Dortmund host bitter rivals Schalke.

Borussia Dortmund are determined to bring the Bundesliga title back to Dortmund for the first time in eight years, and are just four points off Bayern. Lucien Favre will have all his attacking power ready for the derby, with the return of Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and more.

Meanwhile, Schalke will hope to repeat the fantastic 4-2 victory in the same fixture last year. With S04 sitting in sixth and miles off the Champions League spots, Saturday’s Revierderby will be a welcome return to the thrills, spills and drama of the Bundesliga.

When is Kick Off?: Saturday 16 May
What Time is Kick Off?: 14:30 BST (BST)
Where is it Played?: Signal Iduna Park
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)

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