Schalke 04 - FSV Mainz 05
Roberto Di Matteo certainly passed the first test of Schalke’s big week last Saturday when his side overcame an in-form Wolfsburg. Yet, the poignant second test against former employers Chelsea was a spectacular failure. A revival is certainly in order for Mainz’s arrival at the Veltins Arena but they’ve been off colour in the last few weeks.
The key man on Saturday though could be a man who left Mainz in the summer. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting is Schalke’s top scorer in the Bundesliga so far this season. For the Cameroonian to score and Schalke to win, it’s 4.10.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen - FC Köln
Leverkusen did make it through to the last 16 of the Champions League during the week. They did so though in their own inimitable style by having the majority of the play against Monaco for a second time in the group stage and yet conspired to lose the game 1-0. Still, Roger Schmidt has his team heading in the right direction.
Cologne may also count themselves unfortunate to have lost their last match – a 2-1 defeat to Hertha BSC last Saturday evening. They’ll be revved up for this derby game, a shade over 15 miles down the road but Leverkusen are likely to be the victors, at 1.48.
FC Augsburg - Hamburger SV
Augsburg moved into the top six with a win at struggling Stuttgart last weekend. This time round, they face another club down the bottom in Hamburg but Joe Zinnbauer’s team will be buoyed by their scrappy three points in the Nordderby.
It’s definitely a chance for the home side to consolidate their impressive standing in the table, especially remarkable given they have one of the smaller budgets in the division. Markus Weinzierl’s side have won their last four home games in a row and they’re 2.00 to do so again at the weekend.
Hertha BSC - Bayern Munich
Berlin has been the scene of two Bayern triumphs in 2014. In March, they sealed the Bundesliga title in record time there against Hertha and two months later, Bayern saw off Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal Final. This weekend though, they arrive in the German capital off the back of a rare Champions League defeat, against Manchester City.
Now facing the champions is difficult enough as it is but it perhaps makes Hertha’s task of stopping Bayern all the more impossible this weekend. Victory at Cologne last weekend was fortunate for Jos Luhukay and it’s difficult to see them following it up on Saturday - Bayern to win -2 is 2.45.
Werder Bremen - SC Paderborn
Victor Skripnik’s honeymoon period as Werder coach was ended last Sunday in the Nordderby as poor defending late on cost his side against Hamburg. Still, it wasn’t all bad for the Ukrainian as on Thursday, he signed a three year contract with the club.
This week, his team’s mettle will be tested by Paderborn who have been impressive since their promotion in May. They’ve not been beaten by any fellow bottom half residents just yet and after coming from behind to stop Dortmund, there’s every chance they could cause another upset this weekend, at 3.45.
TSG Hoffenheim - Hannover 96
Having started the season with a nine match unbeaten run, Hoffenheim appear to have been found out in November. Their defence in particular had looked stronger this season, conceding only seven in their first nine games but eleven goals alone have been leaked in their last three games, all of which have been defeats.
Hannover were also found out somewhat against Bayer Leverkusen as their three game winning streak was brought to a halt. Traditionally, Hannover don’t travel well and their league position is a perhaps a touch generous for the way they’ve played this season. It may just be the weekend where Hoffenheim get their season rolling again, at 1.70.
Raphael’s previews for Sunday’s two matches will be online over the weekend