Bayer Leverkusen - SC Paderborn
Five games without a win had brought out the critics ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game v Benfica but Roger Schmidt can breathe a lot more easily after the convincing 3-1 win.
Leverkusen’s high-pressing game will come up against a mirror image - André Breitenreiter is a firm believer in the very same tactics - but the home side’s far superior individual quality really should prove telling, the suspension of centre-back Emir Spahic notwithstanding. Leverkusen -1 is the bet at 1.88.
FC Bayern Munich - Hannover 96
Captain Philipp Lahm demanded “more goals” after the 1-0 win at CSKA Moscow. It’s the only “problem” Bayern have had in recent weeks; it has come as result of Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy and the injuries to Franck Ribéry (still out) and Arjen Robben (back in action).
Jérôme Boateng should be playing again after overcoming a muscle problem, and there will be again many changes in midfield, where Xherdan Shaqiri and Sebastian Rode could come in. Hannover are without key central midfielder Leon Andreasen, which doesn’t exactly improve their chances. Back Bayern to win big, with -2 at 2.00.
Borussia Dortmund - Hamburger SV
A drop to 12th place in the league after the derby defeat by Schalke led to plenty of “Klopp in crisis” articles. The mood is much improved now that they’ve won 3-0 at Anderlecht though. Dortmund’s coach has warned that HSV are playing with more passion under new coach Joe Zinnbauer, a former team-mate of his at Mainz.
HSV do look better, it is true, but they need points urgently - they’re propping up the table. Jaroslav Drobny stays in goal due to René Adler’s long-term injury (knee); Dortmund are still without Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündogan but both are getting closer to coming back. Back a narrow home win, with Hamburg +1.75 at 1.59
Werder Bremen - SC Freiburg
“A win is a must,” Werder general manager Thomas Eichin has vowed. This is a classic six-pointer in the Bundesliga basement but Freiburg look better equipped for it, as Werder and their 4-4-2 system have been much more shambolic than the recent results suggest.
Christian Streich’s team have drawn three games in a row and could have easily won two of them with some excellent football. Key striker Admri Mehmedi is also available again which makes them favourites in my book to get something from this game. Freiburg on the double chance is 1.59.
Hoffenheim - Schalke 04
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar loves scoring against Hoffe. The Dutchman has netted six times in as many games against the side from the Kraichgau region, but he’s doubtful after picking up a knock in the disappointing 1-1 draw with Maribor.
Markus Gisdol will hope that former SO4 striker Adam Szalai will find motivation from lining up against his ex-teammates in attack. Hoffenheim are fourth and look as if they’re defensive problems might finally be behind them. Schalke will be desperate to keep a clean sheet so under 2.5 goals at 2.38 looks good here.
Eintracht Frankfurt - 1. FC Köln
Peter Stöger and his newly-promoted side have started the season really well but now Köln are beginning to slip down the table. It’s easy to point a finger at the main issue: two goals in six can only get you so far (13th, as it happens).
According to Kicker magazine, Köln have only converted 10 per cent of their chances in the current campaign. “It’s not just down to the strikers but the whole team,” said Stöger. Frankfurt score more (nine in six) but also concede more (eight) so perhaps the visitors might break their duck. Take them for an away win at 3.00 if you fancy a flutter.
Raphael’s previews for Sunday’s two matches will be published over the weekend
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