The Bundesliga is back in action from 16 May with Matchday 26 of the 2019/20 season. With all 18 teams and nine games involved from Saturday through Monday, we’re highlighting stars you should keep your eyes on.
Here are bundesliga.com’s stars to watch on Matchday 26…
Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke)
Two of the brightest young talents in European and world football. Haaland and Sancho (pictured above) have been a dynamite duo for Dortmund since the Norweigian striker’s arrival from Red Bull Salzburg in the winter transfer window. His nine goals in eight Bundesliga appearances, coupled with Sancho’s incredible 14 goals and 15 assists across 23 league games this season make them two of the most goal-happy players in the Bundesliga.
But Saturday, for Haaland at least, will be a new experience to tick off his footballing bucket list. The formidable striker will play in his first Revierderby against BVB’s arch-rivals Schalke. Haaland can certainly lean on Sancho’s short but relatively sweet experience in ‘the mother of all derbies’ – the Englishman scored the winning goal at the Veltins-Arena last season, in his first start against Schalke in the league.
And it won’t be just Haaland who is looking forward to being involved in such a game. “He’s a good player, we’re of a similar age,” Schalke’s on-loan Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo told bundesliga.com before the fixture. “He’s a finisher, he’s enjoyable to watch. I like facing good players like him.”
Suat Serdar and Weston McKennie (Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke)
On the other side of the Ruhr valley, the Royal Blues are gearing up for the Reviederby with two bright young talents of their own. Schalke’s central midfield pair of top-scorer Serdar and versatile American McKennie will be key to the blue side coming away with anything from the Signal Iduna Park.
Serdar, 23, has become a Germany international this season thanks to his outstanding box-to-box performances for Schalke which see him sit top of the club’s scoring charts in the Bundesliga with eight in total. McKennie, meanwhile, has played both on the right side of midfield and at centre-back this season, but has pinned down the spot next to Serdar in central midfield with his own strength on the ball and in a tackle – both of which will be key on Saturday.
Coming up against Dortmund’s powerful midfield pair of Axel Witsel and Emre Can, the Schalke duo will certainly have their work cut out to come out on top in what is always one of the most important areas of a pitch to control. If Serdar and McKennie can combine to overcome Dortmund’s opposition, it could be the first step towards derby success.
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig vs. Freiburg)
The second-top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with 21 goals from 25 appearances, Werner will be raring to go again when he and Leipzig take on Freiburg. The Germany forward’s form had stuttered before the Bundesliga’s pause in play, with just one goal in his last seven league games but remains just one goal from a new personal record in a single Bundesliga season.
And in recent months, the 24-year-old has become more of a winger than centre-forward for Leipzig under Julian Nagelsmann, with Patrik Schick leading the line. Goals are still very much at the front of his mind though as Werner told bundesliga.com back in February. “Not many players my age have scored 20 goals in a season once, and I’ve done it twice. I’d like to score 30 in a season.”
With Werner and Leipzig in action before top-scoring Robert Lewandowski is in action with Bayern Munich on Sunday, he has the perfect opportunity to make a statement against Freiburg, a task easier said than done against the talented Black Forrest side.
Alphonso Davies and Robert Lewandowski (Union Berlin vs. Bayern Munich)
One star who has been born in the last months of the 2019/20 season, and another who is primed and ready to return from injury, Davies and Lewandowski will be two players you won’t want to miss this weekend.
Davies has sprung into the eye-line of the footballing world with his performances this season for Bayern. The Canadian refugee has made 21 appearances in the Bundesliga so far in 2019/20, with 17 of those being starts, despite being 19, due to defensive injuries. Playing at left-back, Davies – who can also play further up the pitch – has shown off his remarkable speed and dribbling ability as a perfect replacement for David Alaba – who has been playing at centre-back due to other injuries.
For Lewandowski, the sharp-shooting striker – who usually requires no introduction – is returning from injury and will be chomping at the bit to continue his pursuit of yet another Bundesliga record. The Pole has scored 25 league goals so far this season, and with nine games to play, is on course to make Gerd Müller and his 40-goal season record nervous. Having missed two games through injury, Lewandowski will want to return with a goal – for the same reasons as Werner – to make a statement.
Kai Havertz (Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen)
Both Havertz and Leverkusen will have been disappointed with the timing of the Bundesliga’s enforced pause in play due to their form on the pitch. Leverkusen have suffered just one defeat in their last nine league outings, with an impressive 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund in between.
While Havertz – off the back of his breakout 17-goal season in 2018/19 – had made a slow start to the current campaign but has burst back into life in 2020. The 20-year-old playmaker has scored four goals and provided as many assists from eight league outings since the turn of the year and will – as always – be key to making Leverkusen tick this weekend.
Havertz had one of his most impressive performances of last season at the Weserstadion against Bremen, scoring twice in Leverkusen’s emphatic 6-2 win. And as one of the last teams to play in the first weekend back, Peter Bosz’s side will want to make sure they re-start the season in winning ways with hopes of a late push for the title still alive.
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