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Timo Werner will likely be determined to stay RB Leipzig on the height of the pack

The Bundesliga returned with a bang last weekend as Erling Braut Haaland formally introduced himself to Borussia Dortmund with a hat-trick on his debut.

Elsewhere, there were wins for top two sides RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich while Cologne and Schalke recorded important victories.

Sportsmail assesses the upcoming games this weekend.

Erling Braut Haaland scored a debut hat-trick off the bench for Borussia Dortmund last week

Erling Braut Haaland scored a debut hat-trick off the bench for Borussia Dortmund last week

FRIDAY

Borussia Dortmund v Cologne – 7:30pm

Dortmund are in the middle of an exciting battle for the Champions League places with seven points separating six teams from second down to seventh. Dortmund are in centre of that in fourth, with 33 points.

On the surface, a home match against the team in 13th is as routine as you get but Cologne have won their last four matches in a row and head to the Westfalenstadion with a lot of confidence.

But not as much as Haaland, Dortmund’s new signing from Salzburg, has. His electrifying debut means he is surely nailed on to start Friday’s match. 

He has 27 goals in 23 games in all competitions for club and country and appears to have already had all the time he needs to settle in his new surroundings in Germany. Starting in a front three alongside Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus will be something to behold.

Haaland is in line to make his first start for Dortmund in Friday's match against Cologne

Haaland is in line to make his first start for Dortmund in Friday’s match against Cologne 

SATURDAY 

Freibrug v Paderborn – 2:30pm

Seventh-placed Freiburg host basement boys Paderborn looking to keep their Champions League dreams going. They defeated Mainz 2-1 last weekend as they aim to maintain their push to try and break into the top four.

Paderborn, meanwhile, will be licking their wounds following a heavy 4-1 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen last Sunday but their was a debut goal for striker Dennis Srbeny following his move from Premier League strugglers Norwich.

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Srbeny is in his second spell with the German side after leaving for Norwich back in 2018.

Former Norwich striker Dennis Srbeny scored on his debut for Paderborn in their 4-1 loss

Former Norwich striker Dennis Srbeny scored on his debut for Paderborn in their 4-1 loss

Borussia Monchengaldbach v Mainz 

Borussia Monchengladbach are only five points behind leaders Leipzig and trail Bayern Munich by a solitary point heading into Saturday’s match. 

Last weekend, they fell to a 2-0 defeat against David Wagner’s Schalke and lost ground on the top two Bundesliga teams.

Mainz are also bidding to return to winning ways after their narrow defeat against Freiburg. They are only one point above the drop zone in 15th place but a win could see them rise up to 12th if other results end up going their way.

Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin

Jurgen Klinsmann has had a steady impact at Hertha Berlin since taking over as manager but it has not been without its bumps in the road. 

Last week Klinsmann, a former Germany manager, had to prove he had the relevant coaching qualifications ahead of his team’s match against Bayern Munich, which they lost 4-0. Hertha are still only two points above the drop zone in Germany.

The travel to play Wolfsburg this weekend, who have lost their last two matches and are down in ninth in the standings. They were emphatically beaten 3-1 by Cologne last week.

Jurgen Klinsmann has had a slow impact on Hertha Berlin - they are two points above the drop

Jurgen Klinsmann has had a slow impact on Hertha Berlin – they are two points above the drop

Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig

An away trip for the leaders this weekend but ultimately one that should not pose too many problems. Julian Nagelsmann’s men recorded a 3-1 win against Union Berlin with Liverpool and Chelsea target Timo Werner scoring twice.

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It took his tally for the season to 25 in all competitions and 20 in the Bundesliga, level with Robert Lewandowski. The Germany striker isn’t expected to depart Leipzig in the January window but as Werner’s form continues to improve, there will be eyes from across the continent watching him in action.

Frankfurt are 11th in the Bundesliga after an impressive 2-1 win at Hoffenheim last weekend, snapping a run of three straight defeats.

Timo Werner has matched Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga scoring charts this season

Timo Werner has matched Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga scoring charts this season

Union Berlin v Augsburg 

Something has to give as two teams on losing runs meet in Berlin on Saturday. Union have lost their last three and are winless in four, while Augsburg have lost their last two after winning three in a row.

There is greater pressure on the hosts, whose losing streak has seen them reeled in by the bottom three and they are only three points ahead of the drop zone. Next week, they face Borussia Dortmund so need to salvage some confidence from somewhere.

Bayern Munich v Schalke – 5:30pm

It’s four straight wins for the reigning champions but Schalke will provide tricky opposition in Saturday’s late Bundesliga kick-off. 

David Wagner’s men had an impressive 2-0 win over title contenders Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend and head into the Bayern encounter with a heightening sense of optimism. Victory at the Allianz Arena would put Schalke level on points with Bayern and would galvanise their top-four aspirations.

But Bayern look in imperious form and last week demolished Hertha Berlin with a ruthless second half display that yielded all four goals.

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They are Bundesliga winners for seven consecutive seasons now and will need to string together a relentless winning run to haul Leipzig off of top spot. This will be a true test of just how much they have clicked into gear.

Robert Lewandowski scored once again as Bayern Munich beat Hertha Berlin 4-0

Robert Lewandowski scored once again as Bayern Munich beat Hertha Berlin 4-0

SUNDAY 

Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim – 2:30pm

The first tentative signs of life are there for Werder after they eked out a slender 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Fortuna Dusseldorf to claim their first win in five. They now sit 16th but have five teams withing four points of them.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, need to hit back after their surprise defeat at home to Eintracht last weekend. They sit four points off of the top six and can’t afford to stutter again. 

Bayer Leverkusen v Fortuna Dusseldorf 

A home match against a side threatened by relegation, as well as two of the teams above them playing each other, hands Leverkusen a chance to climb up from sixth place this weekend.

They thrashed Paderborn 4-1 last weekend, with star man Kai Haverts netting the fourth and Leverkusen could rise up to fourth if other results go their way. 

For Fortuna, they have to upset the odds in order to hit back after succumbing to a home defeat against Werder Bremen. 

Kai Havertz was among the scorers as Bayern Leverkusen beat Paderborn 4-1

Kai Havertz was among the scorers as Bayern Leverkusen beat Paderborn 4-1

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