Schalke 04 - Eintracht Frankfurt
The Royal Blues dug deep at Stamford Bridge to come away with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea that few had thought possible in light of their injury plight. Right-back Atsuto Uchida might be able to return for the game against Thomas Schaaf’s team but that still leaves a depleted defence. Captain Benedikt Höwedes will be missed for a few more weeks.
S04 manager Jens Keller is hopeful that the excellent result in London will prove a catalyst for better results in the league but recent history suggests otherwise. Frankfurt, fresh from their 1-0 home defeat by Augsburg are capable to get a point by defending deep. Schalke tend to struggle against these sort of teams at home. Frankfurt are great value on the double chance at 2.12.
VfB Stuttgart - Hoffenheim 1899
Disquiet about Armin Veh is growing in Swabia. The new/old coach has a history of doing well when teams go on a good run of results but is less effective when it comes to solving problems. Stuttgart suffer badly from the loss of form of striker Vedad Ibisevic. The Bosnian forward has not scored in six months; his attitude has been questioned, too. On the whole, Veh has demanded more passion and physicality from his men.
Hoffenheim, by contrast, are unbeaten and should be seen as slight favourites. Their aim will be to unsettle the hosts early on. The away team to score in the first half is 1.78
FC Augsburg - Werder Bremen
Both teams have three points but the momentum is with the hosts. Markus Weinzierl’s team beat Frankfurt away last Sunday to get off the ground after a difficult start with two defeats. Werder have been treading water - three draws - under Robin Dutt this season; their defence was all over the place in the flattering 3-3 draw with Leverkusen last Friday.
Augsburg have plenty of options available throughout the side, and so, to a lesser extent, has Dutt. But Franco di Santo, the former Chelsea striker, will keep his place after scoring v Leverkusen.
I’d back Augsburg to win, even if their record v Werder (two wins, one draw at home) wasn’t this good. They’re 1.83 to do so.
Hamburger SV - Bayern Munich
“This is the most dangerous game,” Pep Guardiola said ahead of the trip to bottom-placed HSV. You’d expect the Bayern coach to say that - the hosts will field an unpredictable line-up under new coach Joe Zinnbauer and are likely play with extra motivation following the dismissal of Mirko Slomka after the 2-0 defeat at Hannover. Guardiola might rest Xabi Alonso in midfield; whether Arjen Robben will be back in the starting line-up is doubtful, too. New centre-back Mehdi Benatia, a decent debutant against Man City on Wednesday, has been ruled out. “He can’t play (again) after missing two and a half months,” said Guardiola. Under 3.5 goals is at 1.68.
SC Paderborn - Hannover 96
Paderborn, still unbeaten, take on Tayfun Korkut’s Hannover in one of four “bonus games,” as coach André Breitenreiter has put it. Anything but zero points from the games v 96, Bayern, Gladbach and Leverkusen would be an unexpected boon, the former Hannover player has said. The visitor’s are rightly seen as favourites following their convincing showings so far, they’re also without any serious injury worries. But Paderborn won’t give in without a fight. 0-0 at half-time looks a nice bet at 3.00.
Mainz 05 - Borussia Dortmund
It’s Shinji (Okazaki) v Shinji (Kagawa) and Jürgen Klopp against his former club at the Coface-Arena on Saturday night. Dortmund go into the match feeling good about themselves in the wake of their 2-0 win over Arsenal on Tuesday night. The only negative is veteran Sebastian Kehl missing the match through injury (groin), along with more prominent team-mates like Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündogan. Dortmund will still have too much for a Mainz team who don’t quite play with the same collective hunger under new coach Kaspar Hjulmand. Away win at 1.58.
VfL Wolfsburg - Bayer 04 Leverkusen
This is the meeting of the two German teams who lost in Europe this week - 4-1 in Everton (Wolfsburg) and 1-0 in Monaco (Leverkusen). Both sides actually played decent stuff but they were ultimately let down by a combination of slack defending and wastefulness in front of goal. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of shape these players are in for their first “English” week - two games within the space of seven days - of the season. I’ve got a hunch that the visitors will find it easier to play their game with two days extra rest and more experience . Away win at 2.45
1. FC Köln - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Emotions will run high in this Lower Rhine derby. Köln club mascot Hennes VIII (a goat) has even been given special police protection in the zoo. The home side are sweating on the fitness of midfield regulars Marcel Risse and Stefan Lehmann; coach Peter Stöger might be forced to re-shuffle what has been a very slick starting XI. Gladbach could have easily beaten Villarreal in the Europa League on Thursday but ran out of steam somewhat. Raffael and André Hahn, who didn’t start against the Spaniards, should be back on the team sheet. This could be a hectic, low-scoring affair. Under 2.5 goal at 1.79.
Vote for Bet.Unibet as Best Gambling Blog at the Football Blogging Awards! Click here