Schalke 04 - Eintracht Frankfurt
It was a little bit of a surprise to see Schalke drop points at Werder last weekend given their recent run of form but they needn’t worry because with Leverkusen floundering, they're in little danger of being challenged for their place in the top three. On Friday night though, there are question marks over the fitness of Julian Draxler and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the man who has lead the charge in the Rückrunde.
That comes as Schalke face an Eintracht side who have significantly improved since bowing out of the Europa League, picking up 14 points in eight games. Armin Veh might not have defensive bastion Carlos Zambrano at his disposal because of flu, so still expect the 1.70 Royal Blues to come through this test, albeit narrowly.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - VfB Stuttgart
Gladbach may have had a nine game stutter without victory but Lucien Favre’s team are now in pole position for that final Champions League place with the Foals winning four of their last five. They’ll be boosted by captain Filip Daems return from injury too. In turn, they will provide intimidating opposition for a Stuttgart side scrapping for survival.
Huub Stevens’ charges gained a crucial 2-0 win against fellow strugglers Freiburg last weekend but there is still a fragility to the Swabians that makes it difficult to look too far past a comfortable Gladbach win here. They are 3.45 to win -1 goal.
Hannover 96 - Hamburger SV
A game with much importance at the bottom is made all the more attractive by Mirko Slomka's involvement. Slomka was sacked as coach by Hannover during the winter break but he has helped to revitalise what looked a lost cause at Hamburg since joining in February. His replacement Tayfun Korkut has had a training camp with his squad at a monastery - as you do when fighting relegation.
Considering that in 12 Bundesliga away games this season, Slomka has lost every single one, it would appear that Hannover might not need divine intervention. Yet, even though Hamburg will still be without star striker Pierre Michel Lasogga, providing Hakan Calhanoglu can keep his head, it's not too hard to foresee Slomka exacting revenge on his former employers. Hamburg are 2.85 to win.
Mainz - Werder Bremen
A 2-0 reverse in last week’s Rhein-Main duel against Eintracht Frankfurt made it one win in four for Mainz but a place in Europe is still very much in reach. Despite the recent blip, the fact they are within four points of a Champions League place is testament to the work of Thomas Tuchel but also to the inconsistency of the sides above.
Consistency hasn’t plagued Werder as much in 2014 as it did in the first half of the season. Their point against Schalke last Saturday epitomised the improvement in performances since the turn of the year. They’ll have to do without their goalscorer from last week with Franco Di Santo suspended, so Nils Petersen will lead the line.
That shouldn’t worry Mainz too much and you’d still expect them to win through here at 1.78.
VfL Wolfsburg - 1. FC Nürnberg
This is another match up which sees a coach come up against his former club. Dieter Hecking’s been at Wolfsburg since December 2012 and his reign is approaching an important stage with Champions League football tantalisingly placed just a point and two places away their sixth place.
Plagued by injuries and sitting in the Bundesliga’s bottom two, Gertjan Verbeek can call upon defensive pair Niklas Stark and Emmanuel Pogatetz once more as they return from suspension. However, Wolfsburg will still be without their captain, goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. That showed last Saturday with the bad defensive mix up that gifted Borussia Dortmund the winner.
Add to this that Josip Drmic (16 goals for the season) will be in town and there could be a few goals at the VW Arena this weekend. Over 3.5 is 2.50.
SC Freiburg - Eintracht Braunschweig
Eintracht Braunschweig are the form team in the Bundesliga - in their last three games anyway. Still, their comfortable 3-0 derby victory against Hannover has brought the bottom club to within two points of exiting the drop zone altogether and that prospect has seemed so unfeasible for the majority of the campaign.
This game has even more significance for Freiburg given that they still have to face the likes of Schalke, Gladbach and Wolfsburg before the season is out. So Freiburg coach Christian Streich has to figure out a way to stop Domi Kumbela (seven goals in his last nine) and in turn, fill his own attacking void, should top scorer Admir Mehmedi miss out through illness.
Both teams though might just end up cancelling each other out here, with the draw at 3.30.
Bayern Munich - Borussia Dortmund
Bayern advanced through to one semi-final this week and they’ll be in another next week – the DFB Pokal semi against second division Kaiserslautern. This raises an interesting dilemma for Pep Guardiola. Will he give some of the big guns a rest for the Klassiker in anticipation of facing a side that, in all likelihood, they’re going to dominate?
After Borussia nearly overcame Real in midweek, Jürgen Klopp finds himself in a similar position in that BVB also have a DFB-Pokal Semi Final to look forward to. With Champions League football all but secured for next season, he might be tempted to rest one or two as well.
Don’t necessarily expect this to be the most entertaining summit meeting, with under 2.5 goals at 2.55.