Bayern blow to catch up, the 2: 5 against Nuremberg was a warning shot. Herbstmeister Leipzig wants to defend the top position, but the Saxons also have personnel problems.
How are the 18 teams feeling before the start of the second half of the season on Friday? The dpa has made a form check:
RB Leipzig: The autumn champion tested only once, won 2-0 against Osnabrück in camera. The departure of co-captain Diego Demme came as a surprise, but is manageable. The shoe presses more in the defense, as Willi Orban and Ibrahima Konaté are even longer. Desired candidate Benjamin Henrichs is still too expensive and suddenly becomes a regular at Monaco.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: After an intensive training week in Andalusia with a friendly against Almelo (1: 3) and a double test against SC Freiburg (2: 1, 2: 1), the Gladbachers are well equipped. Since there are hardly any injuries and the team has dropped out of the cup competitions, three players have been awarded so far.
FC Bayern Munich: Especially due to a few failures, the planned title attack will be a major challenge for the series champion. The justifiable 2: 5 in the test against Nuremberg was a warning signal before the duel with Klinsmanns Hertha. After the successful chase against BVB last year, Bayern are hot again this time.
Borussia Dortmund: In the test games against Liège (0: 0), Rotterdam (4: 2) and Mainz (0: 2), many wishes remained unfulfilled. Possible disadvantage: With Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard, Paco Alcacer, Jacob Bruun Larsen and newcomer Erling Haaland, a large part of the offensive in the training camp in Marbella could only train with care.
FC Schalke 04: The preparation of the royal blues was briefly disrupted by the announcement that goalkeeper Alexander Nübel had switched to Bayern in the summer. The latest 4-0 in the test game at HSV encourages. However, the defense staff remains thin due to the even longer absences of Benjamin Stambouli and Salif Sané.
Bayer Leverkusen: The great hope is Kai Havertz. With great support and new self-confidence, the 20-year-old should play a better second half of the season. Kerem Demirbay is also expected to improve performance. New signing Exequiel Palacios has to be patient: The midfielder is suspended for three games.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: In the preparation in Spain it suffered defeats against the Dutch clubs Feyenoord Rotterdam and ADO Den Haag. Goalkeeper Oliver Baumann is injured, ex-captain Kevin Vogt has been loaned to Bremen – especially in the back, the Kraichgauer have to sort themselves. In the front, winter transfer should help Munas Dabbur.
SC Freiburg: The two test games against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the training camp were lost by the sports club. Trainer Christian Streich was not satisfied with the performance of his professionals. Above all, the absence of Nicolas Höfler, who was suspended for the start of the second half of the season, had a negative impact on the surprise team of the Hinserie.
VfL Wolfsburg: During the winter break, the VfL Wolfsburg players have aggressively committed to their Europa League goal. Alone: The recent impression from the tests against Seoul (1: 1) and Geneva (1: 2) is disappointing. Sports director Schmadtke therefore said clearly: "We have to get going quickly – and best of all in Cologne."
FC Augsburg: The successful last weeks of the first half of the season give momentum for the back series. The dress rehearsal at 3: 3 against Cercle Brugge was not ideal, but that shouldn't be an issue for the steep start against Dortmund. Captain Baier's contract extension for another year can also provide motivation.
1. FC Union Berlin: Basically, the shape of the surprisingly strong climber is correct. In the three tests at the training camp, there were two wins and a draw. The otherwise strong defense revealed unknown gaps and worries. In defense, Schlotterbeck and Hübner still need time before starting against RB Leipzig.
Hertha BSC: The shape curve has recently risen sharply under Klinsmann thanks to regained stability. The start with the spicy duel against FC Bayern and the games in Wolfsburg and Schalke will be difficult. Thanks to the millions from investor Lars Windhorst, personnel planning has not yet been completed.
Eintracht Frankfurt: At the end of the back series, the Hessians could only get one point from seven games and are three points ahead of the relegation place. After the winter break, Eintracht hopes for a turn and the return of national keeper Trapp. Despite the blatant drop in performance, no new signings have been committed so far.
1. FSV Mainz 05: Mainz won confidence in the fight for relegation by winning the test game against Borussia Dortmund. They rely on the existing staff and the return of long-injured strikers Mateta, Dong-won Ji and defender Bell.
1. FC Köln: There have been three victories in the last three games of the second half of the season, but the three tests against Charleroi (1: 2), Mechelen (2: 2) and Genk (1: 1) were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, coach Gisdol was satisfied with the training camp in Benidorm. The main focus was on fitness. The new additions Uth and Rexhbecaj should raise the level.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Coach Friedhelm Funkel has two hopes of hope in the relegation battle: Firstly, the offensive reinforcement Steven Skrzybski from FC Schalke 04. The loan player scored in the first test. In addition, the long-injured midfielder Kevin Stöger is back after his cruciate ligament rupture. At the start, it will not be enough for the Austrian for the starting eleven.
Werder Bremen: The crash at 17th place was a shock in December. The hoped-for spirit of optimism has so far failed to materialize during the winter break. Because Werder still has major injury problems (Bargfrede, Toprak, Lang) – and so far has only brought in a new entry (Vogt / Hoffenheim). The opening game in Düsseldorf is extremely important.
SC Paderborn: Everyone is looking at Frankfurt, Cologne or Werder – and Paderborn can continue to work in peace. This is an advantage. The bottom of the table brought his dream striker Srbeny almost silently and dominated the most important friendly against Hannover. Only the departure of the Brazilian Cauly surprised during the preparation.