Schalke 04 - Hertha BSC
Ralf Fährmann was the star of the show for the Royal Blues in the 0-0 draw at Dortmund. That’s another way of saying that Schalke were lucky to escape with a point at the Signal Iduna Park - they created little and conceded a lot of chances.
The defence is weakened by injuries and Kevin-Prince Boateng’s suspension in midfield won’t help. Jefferson Farfan is still missing on the right as well. Hertha haven’t won in five league games. Manager Jos Luhukay has threatened the whole team apart from Adrian Ramos and will ring in the changes. Alexander Baumjohann is expected to come in as a second striker/man in the hole.
I’ve got a sneaky suspicion Hertha could get something from this game but both teams to score at 1.65 would be my bet.
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Braunschweig
Thorsten Lieberknecht’s motley crew have spent the entire season at the bottom of the table and no-one gave them a prayer. All of a sudden, however, they’re within three points of a genuine chance of survival.
The 3-1 win over Mainz on Tuesday night has brought real optimism that they can pull off a great escape. Captain Domi Kumbela, scorer of a brace against Mainz, will lead the line again but there are concerns over defender Marcel Correia (muscle problems) and Ermin Bikacic (broken hand).
Leverkusen finally got their act together with a 3-1 win at Augsburg that was a throwback to the first half of the season performances. They were organised and obdurate at the back and clinical in attack. I don’t see why they can’t continue on the same path. Winning odds are short, so take over 2.5 goals at 1.57.
Bayern Munich - TSG Hoffenheim
The best attack in the league (79 goals) against the worst defence (59). What could possibly go wrong for the home side?
Well, it remains to be seen whether two days of championship parties have left their mark on the Bavarians, and whether they’ll be able to keep up the intensity now that the league is won. With a trip to Manchester United lurking round the corner, it’s conceivable that they won’t be at 100 per cent. Pep Guardiola is expected to make plenty of changes as well. The likes of Lahm and Schweinsteiger could be rested.
Hoffe will go for it, in a 4-3-1-2 formation, and cause trouble. Both teams to score at 1.72 looks the way to go.
Mainz 05 - FC Augsburg
The 3-1 defeat at Braunschweig was the first really poor result for Thomas Tuchel in 2014 - defeats in Wolfsburg and against Munich were no disgrace. Beating Augsburg who were on a very similar run of excellent results won’t be easy, even if the 3-1 defeat at home to Leverkusen might have dampened spirits ever so slightly.
Tuchel will probably bring back some of the players he rested after the tiring game against Bayern last weekend, and there are no serious injury problems for Augsburg either. It could well turn into an attritional affair with under 2.5 goals at 1.80.
VfB Stuttgart - Borussia Dortmund
The Swabians were so poor in the 2-0 defeat at Nürnberg that Huub Stevens’ appointment as manager has come in for plenty of criticism. His defensive tactics seemed to invite Nürnberg, who had been low on confidence before, into their own half.
Dortmund could well rest one or two players who have been carrying knocks or were out of commission with illness during the week. Ahead of the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, a slight lack of focus could prove telling. A draw is possible, in my view, at odds of 3.80.
VfL Wolfsburg - Eintracht Frankfurt
Both sides chalked up key wins during the week. Wolfsburg are still in the hunt for fourth spot after beating Bremen 3-1 at the Westerstadion, Frankfurt overcame Gladbach 1-0 and look like being out of trouble as far as the relegation is concerned.
Dieter Hecking needs to bring in deputy keeper Max Grün for the injured Diego Benaglio (broken finger). Marco Russ is suspended in defensive midfield for the visitors. The home side should edge this one at 1.78.
SC Freiburg - 1. FC Nürnberg
Christian Streich’s side’s comeback continued with 1-1 draw at Hamburg, and they’ve now taken seven points from three games.
Nürnberg’s 2-0 win over Stuttgart was a huge morale booster. Gertjan Verbeek will also be able to field regular defenders Javier Pinola and Ondrej Petrak again at the Solar Mage stadium. Both sides are level on points and go into this six-pointer with plenty of momentum.
It’s almost impossible to predict which way it’ll will go but take into account that they’re both best going forward, so both teams to score at 1.70.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Hamburger SV
Milan Badelj is missing for the visitors, the holding midfielder is suspended. The 1-1 draw with Freiburg felt almost like a defeat for Mirko Slomka’s team; they’re still under huge pressure to escape the relegation zone.
The 1-0 defeat at Frankfurt was also another set-back for Lucien Favre. Gladbach didn’t muster too many opportunities at the Commerzbank-Arena but they should do better against a HSV side who haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home since October.
A narrow win for the Foals at 1.75.
Hannover 96 - Werder Bremen
This mid-table northern derby (12th v 13th) sees the meeting of two teams who lost 3-1 in midweek.
Tayfun Korkut’s team will be expected to bounce back at home but Werder have been pretty solid in recent weeks. I don’t see a real favourite in this one but I can see goals. Take over 2.5 of them at 1.75.
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