Borussia Mönchengladbach 3.50, the draw 3.45, Schalke 04 2.05
The Royal Blues looked like a team transformed upon the return of the “Hunter”, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, against Hamburg. The Dutch striker scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 home win, and linked up extremely well with the three attacking midfielders behind him. Gladbach, by contrast, were as poor as in any game this season in the 3-0 defeat at Wolfsburg. Lucien Favre’s more defensive set-up will make it difficult for Schalke to find room on the flanks but they’ve got a bit of momentum, as well as the better team. There won’t be many goals at Borussia Park, but Jens Keller’s side should sneak through with a win.
VfB Stuttgart 1.67, the draw 3.80, Greuther Fürth 4.80
Neither side has anything to play for; Stuttgart’s thoughts have turned to the DFB Cup final with Bayern on 1 June, while Fürth are on their farewell tour in the top flight. The pressure to perform will be exclusively on the home side, however. The notoriously difficult-to-please crowd in Swabia won’t accept anything but a win from Bruno Labbadia’s team, especially after the 3-0 defeat at Augsburg last week. Don’t expect fireworks though: VfB striker Vedad Ibisevic is suspended and ex-Man United man Federico Macheda, his replacement, is yet to score. Narrow home win.
Hannover 96 2.40, the draw 3.40, Mainz 05 2.85
Both sides have been disappointing in the second half of the season. Hannover have completely lost their momentum since getting knocked out in the Europa League; Mainz couldn’t cope with a raft of injuries. Thomas Tuchel’s side have only won two games in this calendar year and are missing plenty of players for this game. Tuchel will still field a decent side but without rotation his high-energy game doesn’t quite come off. Hannover are pretty strong at home (eight wins and three draws in 15 games) so they should prevail.
Werder Bremen 2.10, the draw 3.60, TSG Hoffenheim 3.20
The Werder supporters came out in favour of coach Thomas Schaaf after the latest defeat at Leverkusen. But why? They seem to have bought his line that it’s all the team’s fault. Convenient, that. Ten games without a win make this a bona-fide relegation six-pointer. A win for Werder, and they should be okay. If Hoffenheim, who look a lot more stable in Markus Gisdol’s 4-3-3 system should bag the three points, however, all hell will break lose in Bremen. Or maybe it won’t. No one seems to have the wisdom or cojones to axe the longest-serving manager in the league. The return of Kevin de Bruyne just about makes the home team favourites, but a score draw offers more value.
1.FC Nürnberg 4.00, the draw 3.60, Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1.88
A number of FCN fans have been disappointed with their supporters’ reaction after the last two defeats (at home to Fürth and away to Hoffenheim) - some ultras didn’t fully support their team as a reaction the derby defeat against the Clovers in the Franconian derby. It’ll be interesting to see if these problems carry over into the game against Bayer on Saturday. The regular partnership at the back, Per Nilsson and Timm Klose, is back on the pitch, and coach Michael Wiesinger might make a few more changes to mix things up. Leverkusen might be without Lars Bender in midfield. The visitors will be seen as big favourites, but Nürnberg’s pride could well help them to win a point.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1.85, the draw 3.40, Fortuna Düsseldorf 4.40
Armin Veh might have to play third keeper Aykut Özer, as Oka Nikolov is doubtful with a groin injury. Frankfurt are also weakened by the continued absence of midfielder Pirmin Schwegler. They have hardly been convincing since the winter break and could well slip out of a European place this weekend. But Düsseldorf have it worse. No wins in the last nine means Norbert Meier’s side are on the brink - only goal difference separates from the relegation play-off spot. Frankfurt should win, really, but their injuries and indifferent form suggest a bet on the unders will be the better option.
Borussia Dortmund 3.20, the draw 3.40, Bayern Munich 2.20
It’s the dress rehearsal for the Champions League at the Westfalenstadion, but it will be staffed almost exclusively with understudies. “We might well get hammered on Saturday but I don’t care,” Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp said after the 2-0 defeat in Madrid. Heynckes, too, has promised to rotate his squad after the 3-0 destruction of Barcelona. The likes of Shaqiri and Pizarro are likely to come in, in place of tired legs. Pride and prestige will ensure both sides put in a very committed shift, but the result is totally meaningless. Bayern’s greater strength in depth makes them favourites here. Away win.
SC Freiburg 2.05, the draw 3.40, FC Augsburg 3.55
It’s hard to believe that these two teams are separated by ten places in the table. Freiburg have lost a bit of momentum with three defeats in three games in all competitions, and much of the focus has shifted on the imminent break-up of Christian Streich’s side. Markus Weinzierl’s team go into this match with some tailwind, however: they have more than a fighting chance to save themselves from relegation following a 3-0 win over Stuttgart. This one is fiendishly difficult to predict. The unders will be the safest bet - Freiburg work so hard that neither they nor their opponents can create a lot of clear-cut chances,
Hamburger SV 2.30, the draw 3.40, VfL Wolfsburg 3.00
“We want to be like Real Madrid,” said HSV coach Thorsten Fink. He was alluding to the Spaniards’ strong start against Dortmund, but there’s no Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting line-up, only Arjoms Rudnevs. Heung Min Son, who was totally ineffective as a false “false 9”, will move out to the wing to accommodate the Latvian striker. For the umpteenth time this season, Fink is changing the side again. Dieter Hecking has no reason to mix it up after the 3-0 win over Gladbach last week, on the other hand. A win might even put Wolves back into contention for a Europa League spot - it’s a crazy, unpredictable league below the top three this season. Hamburg’s dodgy defence and Wolfsburg powerful attack make this an overs bet.
Bet on all this weekend's Bundesliga games.