The soccer news starts with the return of club soccer after the November international break, specifically that unpredictable Bundesliga table. Gladbach is still top with 25 points from 11 games. Three teams are chasing them four points back. That group has RB Leipzig in 2nd-place, Bayern Munich in 3rd, and Freiburg in 4th. Hoffenheim is a point behind them in 5th with 6th-place Borussia Dortmund and 7th-place Schalke tied on points at 19. The difference between 2nd-place and 10th currently stands at four points.
It's always the giants in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund easy picks to end up pushing aside Gladbach. The safe assumption would have that happening by now. Instead, Bayern Munich is looking for a coach and Dortmund is trying to figure out how to consistently win in this league.
An early red card disrupted Bayern's plans in their 5-1 away loss at Eintracht on November 2. Bayern coach Niko Kovac was gone the next day. Bayern regrouped under interim management, shutting out Dortmund 4-0 at home on November 9. That form is what they hope to maintain on Saturday at 13th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf. This is a season where few things come easy for any team in the Bundesliga, so there are no longer much in the way of easy games.
With Bayern now linked to ousted Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho off the market, the expectation is that they go with an established star coach. That's a short list of potential candidates at the moment.
Borussia Dortmund has its own problems, with this version of the club making what could be a final run at silverware this season. Their star winger Jadon Sancho is linked with a move. There's unrest with the team's position in the table and some of coach Lucien Favre's choices are already crashing against expectations. Dortmund can only drift for so long before the club makes changes.
Working to both Bayern and Dortmund's advantage is the quality gap between them and the rest of the league. Should Gladbach start shipping points, they're the likeliest to push past them. Where RB Leipzig is in that scenario is interesting. They might be the toughest team to figure out this season, undoubtedly a contender but also capable of drawing at Wolfsburg on October 19 when Wolfsburg was ahead of them near the top of the table and losing to upstarts Freiburg on October 26.
Gladbach and Wolfsburg finished 5th and 6th last season level on points at 55. Bayern won the league with 78 points to Dortmund's 76. There was a 10-point gap between 2nd and 3rd, the kind of separation that's expected at the top of the table. Normally, it's Bayern stacking up the points in 1st-place. Gladbach's story right now might be about disruption and taking advantage, but it's theirs to tell. Gladbach's two losses so far this season came at home to RB Leipzig and at Borussia Dortmund. If they can't beat the contenders, eventually that alone will reset the top of the Bundesliga table. Gladbach has two opportunities to shake that reputation, with home games against Freiburg on December 1 and mighty Bayern on the 7.
The Chicago Tribune's Jeremy Mikula with the Fire's new logo and dropping SC for FC as they move back to Soldier Field. Goal's Ryan Tolmich likes the latest MLS All-Star Game revamp. The LA Times Kevin Baxter on what the All-Star Game might mean for attracting Liga MX fans to MLS. The Austin American Statesman's Chris Bils reports that Claudio Reyna is leaving NYCFC to take the sporting director job with Austin.
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Logo courtesy of Gladbach