Bayer Leverkusen - Hertha BSC
When Roger Schmidt made the move from Salzburg to Leverkusen in the summer, there was a feeling even then that his appointment was a shrewd one. Bayer’s early season performances back that up. An impressive stifling of Dortmund along with Champions League group stage qualification during the week completed an pleasing start.
On the evidence so far, Leverkusen shouldn’t have too much trouble with Hertha BSC. The club from the capital had a two goal lead against Werder thanks to Julian Schieber’s first Bundesliga goals since April 2013. Hertha then showed their fragility as they drew 2-2 and that’s likely to be exposed by a confident Leverkusen.
Bayer -1 – 2.23
VfL Wolfsburg - Eintracht Frankfurt
Last Friday, Junior Malanda went from being a starlet to an internet sensation. It just probably wasn’t in the manner he envisaged. His miss at the Allianz Arena from yards out cost Wolfsburg what would have been a surprise draw. The second half performance of Dieter Hecking’s side showed promise. Hecking is still likely to be without goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, so Max Grün, having proved himself an able deputy against Bayern, is expected to start.
As for Eintracht, the Thomas Schaaf reign began with a victory and a clean sheet against Freiburg with new signing Haris Seferovic scoring a debut goal. This game should give a better indication of where Eintracht are at, though Alexander Meier is expected to miss the match. A Wolfsburg recovery doesn’t look far-fetched and neither does a scoreline similar to last season’s encounter.
Wolfsburg to win 2-1 – 8.00
Werder Bremen - Hoffenheim
Werder Bremen didn’t start their match against Hertha well but Robin Dutt took comfort from his side’s second half response as they made up a two goal deficit in the space of 126 seconds. They now have to follow it up against a Hoffenheim side that had something resembling a defence against Augsburg.
The win over the Bavarians wasn’t surprising but the clean sheet was. It took Hoffenheim until February last season to manage their first. That’s testament to the signings of keeper Oliver Baumann and defender Ermin Bicakcic. The Hoffe need to rectify a run of one win in their last 10 Bundesliga games on the road and they might just do that.
Hoffenheim to win – 2.10
Hamburger SV - SC Paderborn
After a goalless draw against Cologne, Hamburg face the second of the newly promoted duo. As the season goes on, their opening day point may not prove to be a bad result but a winning start at home is important for Mirko Slomka.
They take on the division’s minnows Paderborn, who were denied a surprise win against Mainz by an injury time penalty. Twenty years ago, their coach André Breitenreiter was starting his Hamburg career as a player and he’s talked of his delight in returning. Come full-time, he may not quite feel the same way.
Hamburg to win – 1.72
VfB Stuttgart - 1. FC Köln
Stuttgart were so close to a winning start at Gladbach last weekend but for an injury time goal by Christoph Kramer. VfB’s continual concession of late goals is a problem Armin Veh has to stem. If you date it back to last season, Stuttgart have dropped points due to last minute strikes in their last three games.
Cologne also drew their first game, as they played out a goalless stalemate against Hamburg. There’s encouragement to be had for the away side, especially with the last 15 meetings between these two not producing a home win. A low scoring affair might be a safer option here though.
Under 2.5 goals – 1.83
Schalke - Bayern Munich
Defeated in the cup at Dresden, beaten at Hannover in the Bundesliga and now Jens Keller could well be set for more misery with Bayern Munich up next. The Champions did enough against Wolfsburg but any worries over squad depth and injuries have been allayed with the signing of Mehdi Benatia. At the time of writing, Xabi Alonso is also about to join.
Major improvement is needed from Schalke on last season’s performances against Bayern. In two games, they scored one and conceded nine. Having left-back Sead Kolasinac suffer a cruciate ligament injury only added to Jens Keller’s problems – Bayern are only likely to pile more on top of that.
Bayern to win – 1.45
Mainz - Hannover 96
Mainz are already out of the DFB-Pokal and the Europa League. Had it not been for a senseless barge by Paderborn captain and goalscorer Uwe Hünemeier in the penalty area in stoppage time, their start under Kasper Hjulmand would be even worse. That foul allowed Ja-Cheol Koo to make it 2-2 last weekend but Mainz didn’t convince.
Playing a travelling Hannover side used to guarantee points in the past few years but the displays and results of Tayfun Korkut’s side on the road at the end of last season were better. A draw looks possible at the Coface Arena – a good result for Korkut and co but less so for Kasper Hjulmand.
Draw - 3.40
SC Freiburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach
This time last year, Christoph Kramer was making his first appearances in the Bundesliga. A good season and twelve months on, Kramer’s now a World Cup winner and he showed his class by coming off the bench to rescue a point for Gladbach against Stuttgart. That performance should earn him a start on Sunday whilst former Freiburg man Max Kruse could make the bench.
Kruse is one of quite a few in the Bundesliga to have made their name with Freiburg and moved on in recent years. The club always seem to recover, no matter who leaves. Gladbach arrive after a 7-0 win on Thursday in the Europa League and that confidence boost should carry them through in the Black Forest.
Gladbach to win – 2.30
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