Bayern visits Hannover, Dortmund at Hamburg

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2014 at 6:14 am •  Published: February 20, 2014
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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Next-to-last Hamburger SV hosts Borussia Dortmund as it begins its struggle against relegation under a new coach, while runaway leader Bayern Munich visits Hannover in the 22nd round of the Bundesliga.

Here are five things to know about the Bundesliga weekend:

NEW HAMBURG HOPE:

Mirko Slomka took over on Monday from Bert van Marwijk after Hamburg's seventh straight Bundesliga loss. Hamburg is the only founding member of the Bundesliga not to have been relegated in the competition's 51 years, but now it sits only one point above the bottom and three points away from safety. What sealed van Marwijk's fate was the 4-2 loss at bottom-place Eintracht Braunschweig.

Slomka, Hamburg's third coach this season, saved Hannover from relegation and took it to the Europa League, but was sacked in December after losing all away games in the first half of the season.

His first job will be to improve Hamburg's defense, which has given up a league-high 51 goals — conceding three goals or more in 11 games this season, an all-time club record.

The job will be harder knowing that Dortmund's forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski have already combined for 27 goals this season and that Dortmund is coming off three straight wins. Dortmund is one point away from second place.

MONEY TALKS:

Big-spending Wolfsburg is beginning to reap the profits on its investment in new players, including former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, and is hopeful of more success when it hosts Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

After 15 rounds, Leverkusen was 11 points ahead of Wolfsburg; now the gap is only four. Leverkusen has lost its last three games, including a 4-0 drubbing at home on Tuesday by Paris Saint-Germain. It is now 16 points behind Bayern Munich.

Wolfsburg has won its last three and is now in fifth place, beginning to look at Champions League slots. Wolfsburg has won its last three home games against Leverkusen.

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