Borussia Dortmund 1.28, the draw 5.35, Hamburger SV 10.00
“The mood’s terrible,” said Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp this week, albeit with a slightly stronger choice of words. Klopp was referring to a raft of injury problems that have hit his side: Schmelzer and Großkreutz have been sick, keeper Weidenfeller is still not 100%, Piszczek has a hip problem, Reus und Götze have hardly trained this week. Chances are that the latter two will be back to welcome Hamburg at the Signal Iduna Park, but left-back Schmelzer could be replaced by Blaszczykowski. The visitors have to bring in Tomas Rincon for the suspended Milan Badelj - an important player in central midfield in recent months. If you can, wait until just before kick-off to commit yourself here - too many injured regulars for the home side could warrant a cheeky bet on the draw.
VfB Stuttgart 2.40, the draw 3.40, Werder Bremen 2.80
Stuttgart’s 3-1 loss at Düsseldorf kept them in no-man’s land in the table; once again, their defensive frailty was their undoing. The good news for Bruno Labbadia is that he can welcome back key players Georg Niedermeier (centre-back) and Martin Harnik (right wing). The squad is nearly at full strength: even long-term absentee Daniel Didavi might get a chance to make his debut. Werder also have all their starters available. The inability of both sides will make this a fascinating, high-scoring encounter. By all means, take the overs.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 3.10, the draw 3.40, Bayer Leverkusen 2.20
Both sides were a bit unlucky to suffer defeats last week. The 7th-placed Foals will be without right-back Tony Jantschke; Martin Stranzl is expected to help out in his place but the Austrian could be exposed by the pace of André Schürrle. Midfielders Havard Nordtveit and Alexander Ring are also doubtful with knocks. Leverkusen are not without worries either, however. Rolfes and Reinartz have been laid low with flu, and centre-back Manuel Friedrich has to deputise for his pacier colleague Ömer Toprak (suspended). The uncertainty makes this a tough one to call but the visitors should just about edge it to preserve their record. It’s been 24 years since Gladbach have beaten them at home.
Greuther Fürth 2.95, the draw 3.35, VfL Wolfsburg 2.30
January buy Jozsef Varga has made a huge difference with his charisma and experience already in Fürth’s midfield. Their 2-1 win at Schalke might have been a bit fortunate, but Mike Büskens needs all the help he can get to keep his job - and Fürth (18th) from dropping down a division. Wolfsburg were disappointing in the 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg. Their class should come to the fore, here forever. Fürth’s dismal home record will continue.
Hannover 96 2.15, the draw 3.40, TSG Hoffenheim 1899 3.20
A much-needed and somewhat surprising win over Freiburg offered some respite for Marco Kurz’s 16th-placed 1899. Heurelho Gomes will keep his place in goal; former number one Tim Wiese won’t even be on the bench. Defender Luis Advincular got injured in a car crash but Kurz can otherwise play his preferred eleven. The hosts continue to have problems in defence: Eggimann, Cherundolo and Pocognoli are all missing. The long-term injury of Lars Stindl is also detrimental. Hannover’s strong home form (6 wins and 2 draws in 10) will see them narrowly through.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1.80, the draw 3.60, 1. FC Nürnberg 4.30
Armin Veh’s boys continue to confound the doubters, myself included. Last week’s 2-0 win at Hamburg showed just how clever and efficient Eintracht have become, and in striker Srdjan Lakic they have added the last piece of the jigsaw. The home side are at full strength but will have to keep an eye on the fitness levels of international players Zambrano (Peru) and Inui (Japan). The same goes for Nürnberg, with regards to Chandler (USA) and Kiyotake (Japan). Nürnberg will offer plenty of value but it’s tough to disregard Frankfurt’s irresistible momentum. Home win.
Bayern Munich 1.25, the draw 5.45, Schalke 04 11.00
Schalke are in trouble. The Royal Blues have only won one game in nine, they have a manager (Jens Keller) with little authority, and they’re missing crucial players ahead of the trip to the Allianz Arena. There’s no Christian Fuchs (suspended), no Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (eye problem), still no Kyriakos Papadopoulos, still no Ibrahim Afellay. Julian "Better than Holtby" Draxler is also highly doubtful after missing the final training session (flu). They really couldn’t arrive in worse shape. Bayern, in contrast, have no real problems apart from some increasingly unhappy subs. Maybe Heynckes will give Robben and Gomez a bit more time on the pitch on Saturday. It all points to a comfortable home win.
FC Augsburg 2.60, the draw 3.40, Mainz 05 2.55
17th-placed Augsburg are unbeaten since the winter-break but still very much up against it. Their much improved form has seen them pick up five points from three games; visiting Mainz (5th) are a much better side, however. Thomas Tuchel can once again field main striker Adam Szalai. The Hungarian was sadly missed in the 3-0 home defeat to Bayern last week, when Mainz caused the leaders plenty of problems but lacked cutting edge. Mainz’s superior quality will out. Away win.
SC Freiburg 1.62, the draw 3.65, Fortuna Düsseldorf 5.50
Freiburg's great run has come to a bit of a halt in the new year: they are yet to win game in the second half of the season (two draws, one defeat). Maybe their lofty position in the table (8th) has led to slight loss of intensity? Like the hosts, Düsseldorf have no serious injury problems. Norbert Meier will look to build on the 3-1 win over Stuttgart but Streich’s men defend much better than the Swabians. We could be looking a low-scoring home win here, or even a stalemate.
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