After a seemingly endless wait, European football finally returned to action with the Bundesliga this past weekend, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Even people who do not regularly follow German football found themselves tuning in as they have all been starved of top quality football for months due to COVID-19 disrupting life for everyone worldwide since the virus first broke out in Wuhan, China sometime in 2019. Plenty of goals were scored in eight matches on Saturday and Sunday, and with one more game to be played on Monday, there certainly will be more goals added by the time that match ends, that's for certain.
So, without further ado, here are five main talking points from matchday 26 of the 2019/2020 Bundesliga season.
1. Haaland continues to steal the show
Two months without regular football has not caused the young Norwegian talent to go rusty, not by any means, as he was at his very best for Dortmund during the Ruhr derby on Saturday. Die Schwarzgelben cruised to a very comfortable 4-0 win over Schalke to maintain their grip on second place, and continues to really make his mark:
10 - Erling Haaland has scored 10 goals in only 9 appearances in the Bundesliga, only Gert Dörfel & Paco Alcacer (in 8 games each) have reached that tally in fewer games. Cyborg pic.twitter.com/jTW0tk7TDd— Optajean (@OptaJean) May 18, 2020
2. Dortmund set a club record with resounding derby win
Four different players grabbed a goal during Dortmund's rout of Schalke, and not only did die Schwarzgelben re-start their Bundesliga campaign with a confidence-boosting win but they also achieved something that they have never done in their club history:
0 - For the first time in Bundesliga history, @BlackYellow have kept a clean sheet in both of their meetings with Schalke in a single season (0-0 away and 4-0 at home). Wall. #BVBS04 pic.twitter.com/ZBrKXrdiDV— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) May 16, 2020
3. Mr. Consistency
Hertha Berlin's Vedad Ibisevic may not exactly be a household name per se, but one thing that he does have going for him is that he's pretty consistent when it comes to scoring goals.
On Saturday, the Bosnian attacker achieved something no other Bundesliga player has done just yet:
4. Bayern's Neuer continues to be a solid pair of hands between the posts
He's had his ups and downs recently - but veteran shot-stopper Manuel Neuer was back to his very best for die Roten as they eased to a 2-0 win over Union Berlin on Sunday. And in doing so, he also set a personal milestone which will surely boost his confidence as well:
5. Taking advantage of the rules under the "new normal"
As a result of COVID-19, teams are now allowed five subs instead of the normal three. Many have long advocated for more subs in football, and it is indeed a shame that it took a global pandemic for this change to be made, but in any case, it has finally happened.
On Saturday, Schalke became the first team in the Bundesliga to take advantage of this modification. Unfortunately for them, it made little difference, as they still ended up losing 4-0 to Dortmund in the Ruhr derby, but it will be interesting to see how other teams use the new five-sub rule to their advantage in the not-too-distant future.
Moving onto other matters,
Here's how the top scorers look as of now:
And how the table looks (ahead of the Werder Bremen-Bayer Leverkusen match):
Preview: Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen
This will be the final game to wrap up matchday 26, and as things stand, Leverkusen find themselves in fifth spot. Regardless of the outcome, Leverkusen will not move up or down in the league table, but a win could help them apply major pressure on fourth-placed Leipzig. For Werder Bremen, however, things are a lot more dire. They currently sit in a worrying 17th place and are six points away from 16th, which at least would guarantee them a spot in the play-offs.
The hosts come into this game having picked up just one point from their last five games and have lost four of those. Leverkusen, by contrast, have won four of their last five matches and naturally will be fancying their chances at heaping misery on a team who have already conceded a whopping 55 goals so far - the most of any team featuring in the top flight. Yes, Mainz has also conceded 55, but they have played 26 games. Werder Bremen have played 24 - and very likely will concede more after today's match.
Where to watch Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen live on May 18, 2020
Kick off at 11:30 PST/14:30 EST/19:30 BST/20:30 CET
USA: fubo TV, Sling TV, FOX Soccer Match Pass, Fox Sports GO, Foxsports.com, Fox Sports 2 USA
Australia: beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports Connect, Kayo Sports
Canada: Sportsnet Now, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet World
France: beIN Sports 1, Free, beIN SPORTS CONNECT
UK: BTSport.com, BT Sport 1, BT Sport App
Live elsewhere? Here's where to watch Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen in your location:
Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen Broadcast Information
Stadium: wohninvest WESERSTADION (Bremen)
Canada: Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Now, Sportsnet World, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific
France: beIN Sports 1, beIN SPORTS CONNECT, Free
Germany: DAZN, TeleClub Sport Live
India: Star Sports Select 2, Hotstar VIP, Star Sports Select HD2
Indonesia: Mola TV, Fox Sports 2 Indonesia, Fox Sports 2 Cambodia
Malaysia: Fox Sports 2 Malaysia, Unifi TV
Netherlands: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go, Fox Sports 4
Nigeria: Startimes World Football, StarTimes App
Portugal: Eleven Sports 1 Portugal
Spain: Movistar+, Movistar Liga de Campeones
Turkey: S Sport 2, S Sport+
United Kingdom: BTSport.com, BT Sport 1, BT Sport App, Talksport 2 Radio UK
United States: Foxsports.com, SiriusXM FC, FOX Soccer Match Pass, Fox Sports 2, fuboTV, FOX Deportes