Bayern looks to extend good start in Bundesliga, Dortmund searches for form

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FRANKFURT, Germany — For Borussia Dortmund, the Champions League seems to be a lot easier than the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich has no such problems.

Dortmund has won both its Champions League games in impressive fashion after a 3-0 victory at Anderlecht, but it has already lost three of six matches in the domestic competition. Bayern, on the other hand, already is two points clear the top of the Bundesliga and also has two wins in the Champions League.

Bayern hosts Hannover on Saturday, while Dortmund is at home to Hamburger SV, which may not be an advantage.

Here are some things to know about the Bundesliga weekend:


HANNOVER'S GOOD START

Hannover is four points behind Bayern and has played well at the start of the season. Coach Tayfun Korkut has used flexible formations but the team is a notoriously bad traveler.

It has only one win against 22 losses and two draws in Munich. Bayern has won all three home matches this season, but it has to recover from the Champions League trip to Moscow. Bayern won 1-0 against CSKA but the central defenders Mehdi Benatia and Dante looked vulnerable, especially Benatia, who showed an alarming lack of pace.

"It's important that we don't allow counterattacks," goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said. So far this season, Bayern has not conceded a goal on the break.


BUMPY START

Dortmund has only one point from the last three Bundesliga matches, one win from three matches at home and traditionally struggles after a Champions League outing. Already seven points behind Bayern, Dortmund cannot afford to lose more ground.

Hamburg is struggling no matter where — it has identical records home and away and neither include a victory this season. It finally scored its first goal last weekend but still lost Eintracht Frankfurt and remained at the bottom.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga, the striker whose goals kept Hamburg in the Bundesliga last season, is still scoreless.


STILL WINLESS

Hamburg is not the only team without a victory: so are Freiburg and Werder Bremen. That could change on Saturday.

Werder hosts Freiburg and both are hoping for the first win.

"We are competitive and we've been at equal level in most matches. That's the important thing. We have to remain cool," Freiburg coach Christian Streich said.

Bremen has already conceded 15 goals and coach Robin Dutt's credit is eroding fast. Under his guidance, Bremen has 42 points from 40 matches over two seasons.

"Our backs are to the wall, but we are used to that kind of pressure," defender Sebastian Proedl said.


SEFERROVIC FINDS HIS PLACE

Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic won the World Cup title with his under-17 team, then went through seven clubs until signing for Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of the season.

Seferovic might be finally settling down. He has won praise after scoring three goals in the first six matches.

"My start has been very good. We have a super team and coach Thomas Schaf is banking on me," Seferovic said. "I am not the type that stays long in a club if I don't play. It's important for me to feel the confidence of the coach, like here."

Eintracht, seventh in the standings, hosts Cologne. "It will be difficult, they defend very well," Seferovic said.


JAPANESE HOPE

Cologne is hoping for the return of Japanese attacking midfielder Kazuki Nagasawa, who has overcome a long-term knee injury.

"Kazuki has the vision to solve many situations, such a player is good every team," managing director Joerg Schmadke said.

Fellow midfielder Daniel Halfar can't wait for Nagasawa's return. "He does simple things, but he does them good. You can play one-two with him. He can direct a game with simple things and he can read a game. He will be really good for us with his skill and creativity," Halfar said.

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