Bundesliga heavyweights in turmoil amid rising corona cases

The German champion Bayern is not cruising comfortably towards a record-extending 10th consecutive league crown and is instead one point in front of Dortmund after 12 rounds.

Kimmich

The Bavarians are without infected Joshua Kimmich and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting while Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Michael Cuisance have gone into a one-week isolation because of contact with an infected person.   -  AFP

Bundesliga powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund had imagined their seasons differently at this stage of the season.

The German champion is not cruising comfortably towards a record-extending 10th consecutive league crown and is instead one point in front of Dortmund after 12 rounds.

Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Augsburg last week amid a spate of coronavirus cases at the club that has ruled out almost half a dozen players.

The Bavarians are without infected Joshua Kimmich and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting while Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Michael Cuisance have gone into a one-week isolation because of contact with an infected person.

READ : Bayern's Choupo-Moting, Kimmich test COVID positive

Defenders Niklas Suele and Josip Stanisic came out of their own COVID-19 quarantines as recently as Wednesday.

But the club, facing lowly Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday, is still struggling to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 cases with some players, including Germany international Kimmich, refusing to get vaccinated.

The midfielder had already gone into back-to-back quarantines of one week before he tested positive on Wednesday, further frustrating club bosses who have said they will dock the pay of unvaccinated players who go into isolation, according to Bavarian state laws.

While Bielefeld is expected to be relatively easy opponents, Bayern needs to get it's act together in time for next week's big game against second-placed Dortmund that will go a long way in deciding who will go into the winter break in December top of the table.

But the Ruhr valley side is struggling with its own share of problems.

The absence of injured striker Erling Haaland has left a gaping hole in attack, contributing to Dortmund's rollercoaster form that culminated with Wednesday's Champions League group stage exit following a 3-1 loss to Sporting Lisbon.

Despite dominating for large parts of the game Dortmund was vulnerable at the back and showed little in terms of attacking spirit.

ALSO READ : Bundesliga rejects stoppage call as COVID-19 cases soar in Germany

The elimination was a blow to new coach Marco Rose, who has already moved into the spotlight for his team's shaky defensive operation this season and it's continuing mistakes.

"It was a clear goal for us to still be in all competitions in the new year. But the Champions League is now gone and that is a setback," Rose said.

"At the moment it's too easy to score against us. We have work towards becoming more ruthless and consistent."

Dortmund takes on VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday with the Wolves unbeaten in three league games under new coach Florian Kohfeldt.

It will be looking to build on it's domestic run and also bounce back from the Champions League loss to Sevilla.

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