Bundesliga 2020-21 Matchday 1: What you need to know

Gene Principe is joined by Dan Riccio & Alex Seixeiro to preview the upcoming Bundesliga season. Including, can Alphonso Davies continue to get better, who can challenge Bayern Munich & more.

The Bundesliga returns on Friday for the 2020-21 season, as Alphonso Davies and Bayern Munich kick off their title defence. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the weekend’s action.

HOW TO WATCH

Friday, Sept. 18
• Bayern Munich vs. Schalke, 2:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet World)

Saturday, Sept. 19
• Werder Bremen vs. Hertha BSC, 9:30 a.m. ET (SN NOW+ and Sportsnet World)
• Dortmund vs. Monchengladbach, 12:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet and Sportsnet World)

Sunday, Sept. 20
• RB Leipzig vs. Mainz 05, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet and Sportsnet World)
• Wolfsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 12 p.m. ET (Sportsnet and Sportsnet World)

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Stream Bundesliga matches as Germany's top soccer league returns to action for the 2020-21 season, including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund games.

MARQUEE MATCH

Dortmund vs. Monchengladbach

While the reigning eight-time champions get the new season underway on Friday against Schalke, this clash of top-four clubs from last season is the gem of the Matchday 1 schedule.

The new campaign somewhat surprisingly starts with Jadon Sancho still a Dortmund player after a summer filled with rumours of a potential transfer to Manchester United. While a move could still happen, for the moment Sancho looks to be part of manager Lucien Favre’s plans to challenge Bayern for the title. Outside of Sancho, Dortmund boasts a wealth of exciting young talent, including 2019-20 breakout star Erling Haaland, American starlet Gio Reyna, and another compelling English youngster in 17-year-old Jude Bellingham (more on him later).

On the opposite side of the pitch, Gladbach enters the new campaign looking to build off the momentum of last season’s top-four finish. Led by manager Marco Rose and dynamic French forwards Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram, who combined for 20 league goals last season, Gladbach will have even higher expectations as they embark on their first Champions League campaign since 2016-17. Gladbach lost both league matches to Dortmund last season, and will be focused on reversing those fortunes Saturday.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Jude Bellingham: Bellingham’s reported £25-million transfer from Birmingham to Dortmund made him the most expensive 17-year-old ever, and the deal could be worth “several millions more,” according to Sky Sports. Bellingham became the club’s youngest-ever goal-scorer earlier this week, and is one to keep a keen eye on this weekend against Gladbach.

The beautiful game has a new addition. Jeff Blair and Dan Riccio host A Kick In The Grass, a soccer podcast from Sportsnet.

REST OF MATCHDAY 1

Bayern Munich vs. Schalke: Despite winning the Champions League just a month ago, the Bayern side on the pitch Friday will have a bit of a different look than the one that lifted the trophy on Aug. 23. Hansi Flick’s side takes on a financially strapped Schalke that, under David Wagner’s guidance, hasn’t won a league match since January.

Werder Bremen vs. Hertha BSC: Bremen retained its Bundesliga status in July by scraping out a win in the two-legged relegation playoff against Heidenheim. Can they fare better after a shortened off-season?

Stuttgart vs. Freiburg: Stuttgart returns to the Bundesliga after one season in the second tier with a match versus Freiburg, who lost a number of key players over the summer after a surprise ninth-place finish in 2019-20.

Frankfurt vs. Arminia: 2019-20 Bundesliga 2 champions Arminia kick off their first season in German’s top tier since 2009 against a Frankfurt side that scored the most goals of any team outside the top-five last season.

Union Berlin vs. Augsburg: After a surprise 12-win, mid-table finish in 2019-20, Union begins its second-ever Bundesliga campaign without leading-scorer Sebastian Andersson, who accounted for 13 of Union’s 44 goals last season before being sold to Koln this summer.

Koln vs. Hoffenheim: The Sebastian Hoeneß era begins at Hoffenheim with a flurry of injury concerns, including to star striker Andrej Kramaric, who is doubtful for the match.

RB Leipzig vs. Mainz: The post-Timo Werner era begins for Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig with the biggest question at the club still being how will the team make up for the loss of elite goal-scoring? Maybe Alexander Sorloth will be the answer.

Wolfsburg vs. Leverkusen: Kai Havertz is gone to Chelsea, and now it’s 17-year-old Florian Wirtz’s time to shine at Leverkusen. Also, look out for Patrik Shick’s Bundesliga debut.

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