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Looking Around the League: Leverkusen Top Leipzig, and Freiburg’s Regression Continues

RB Leipzig continue to struggle as the race for the top four thickens.

RB Leipzig v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images

With Der Klassiker on the horizon, all eyes are on the top of the Bundesliga table, where a single point separates Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund. BVB briefly led the league by two points on Saturday before Bayern won their game in hand to leapfrog back on top. With both teams winning over the weekend, they both ensured that whichever club emerges victorious on Saturday evening will lead the league.

Meanwhile, after a mesmerizing start to the season, largely propped up by narrow results and expected goal overperformance, it looks like SC Freiburg’s cinderella run is coming to an end. A more familiar face, Bayer Leverkusen, is now back in third place. All that’s needed is for Monchengladbach to climb up to fourth place, and it will be like nothing has changed since 2016.

There was also interesting movement at the bottom of the table. Augsburg blew a chance to climb out of the relegation zone by failing to beat Hertha Berlin, who are now clinging onto safety for dear life by a single point. Stuttgart climbed out of the relegation zone with a win against Mainz, and Bochum climbed further up the table with their win against Freiburg.

Overall, the table is still wide open. It’s hard to see anyone other than Bayern or Dortmund winning the league, but the race for the top four is anybody’s game. Only four points separate Freiburg, in fourth, from Eintracht Frankfurt in 12th. Any of the teams within this range, including but not limited to Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Monchenglabach, or Union Berlin, could conceivable fight for those final two spots.

Results

VFB Stuttgart 2-1 Mainz 05

Hertha Berlin 1-1 FC Augsburg

VFL Bochum 2-1 SC Freiburg

FC Koln 4-1 Borussia Monchengladbach

Greuther Furth 3-6 TSG Hoffenheim

VFL Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich 1-0 Arminia Bielefeld

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Union Berlin

RB Leipzig 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Standings

Leverkusen > Leipzig

Before the season began, I was a bit skeptical of Bayer Leverkusen. I liked the hiring of Gerardo Seoane, who had been enormously successful with Young Boys in Switzerland, but I was skeptical that they could make up for the loss of Leon Bailey. While like Freiburg, Leverkusen have also benefited from a lot of xG overperformance, their results have been very consistently good. This weekend was emblematic of this trend. Although they won the xG battle narrowly 1.8-1.6, the result was a convincing 3-1 win.

Borussia Monchengladbach have continued to sputter along, getting blown out by FC Koln 4-1. The game was actually a lot closer than the scoreline portrays. The first half actually ended 0-0, and Gladbach had just equalized in the 74th minute, when they conceded goals in consecutive minute to Mark Uth and Ondrej Duda to put the match suddenly beyond their reach.

Meanwhile, Freiburg’s fortunes have continued to reverse. Their latest defeat came at the hands of VFL Bochum, who escaped with three points courtesy of a ridiculous lobbed chip from Milos Pantovic, who caught Freiburg Keeper Mark Flekken off his line.

Your Thoughts

Will Bayer Leverkusen be able to stay above the pack of clubs chomping at their heels?