The 1. Bundesliga’s Rückrunde opened on Friday with a 2:0 win for hosts FC Schalke 04 over visiting Borussia Mönchengladbach. Schalke’s Suat Serdar became the club’s leading goalscorer when he scored the match’s 1st goal in the 48th minute, and was followed by Michael Gregoritsch, who just signed with the club this month, who scored his 1st Schalke goal in the 58th minute. Schalke are now unbeaten in their last 9 matches on home soil, and the win ties them in points with Bayern München going into the rest of the weekend’s matches - and the 2 clubs will face off directly next weekend. Saturday’s key contest may likely be that between Düsseldorf and Bremen, who have both struggled this season and who both sit in the relegation zone, separated by just 1 point. Düsseldorf had been on a run of 6 matches without a win at the end of 2019, but managed to defeat Union Berlin 2:1 on Matchday 17, moving them a point ahead of Bremen. The club signed Steven Skrzybski on loan from Schalke in the January transfer window, who is likely to make his debut on Saturday. Werder lost to Cologne on the final matchday of 2019, their 4th consecutive defeat. Werder signed ex-Hoffenheim captain Kevin Vogt, who will remain until the end of the season, and will need him to reinforce a defense that has conceded 12 goals in the last 3 matches. Bremen is without the services of Niclas Füllkrug, Kevin Möhwald, Theodor Gebre Selassie, Philipp Bargfrede, and Michael Lang, who are all injured. Another concern for Bremen is their record against Düsseldorf: Fortuna have won both of the last 2 contests between the 2 clubs, and Fortuna has won more often against Bremen than against any other club. Looking ahead to Sunday, Bayern expect to start striker Robert Lewandowski, who underwent minor groin surgery soon after the club’s 2:0 win over Wolfsburg on Matchday 17, but will be without the suspended Joshua Kimmich. Hertha Berlin are unbeaten so far under interim coach Jürgen Klinsmann, and have picked up Argentina international Santiago Ascacibar from VfB Stuttgart. Ascacibar is likely to start in the midfield, replacing Per Skjelbred. While Hertha have only lost 1 of their last 5 matches against Bayern, they have only won 1 of their last 8 home matches against Bayern.
The 2. Bundesliga remain on winter break, and will not resume play until Tuesday, January 28.