Mainz 05 - 1. FC Nürnberg
There may only be three games until the end of the season yet Nuremberg thought it was time for another coaching divorce as Gertjan Verbeek was sacked on the phone on Tuesday night whilst attending a friend’s wedding. Ouch. He leaves the Franconian side in the automatic relegation places ahead of their trip to the Coface Arena on Saturday.
With the visitors losing eight of their last nine in the Bundesliga, Mainz appear clear favourites here. Stefan Bell will replace the suspended Niko Bungert in central defence. He was sent off in their 4-2 defeat at Dortmund last time out but a response is likely on Saturday. Mainz -1 goal are 2.90.
TSG Hoffenheim - Eintracht Frankfurt
Hoffenheim’s home form of late has been impressive, winning five of their previous six. They had some good news this week too as captain Andreas Beck extended his contract until 2017. It may not be a ringing endorsement for Beck that he and his defence have been the worst in the Bundesliga this season but their attack is impressive – only Bayern and Borussia Dortmund have scored more.
Eintracht are trying to avoid a third consecutive league loss. With on loan Hoffenheim forward Joselu returning to his former club and scoring five in his last seven, this one should bring a few goals. Over 3.5 is at 1.92.
Bayern Munich - Werder Bremen
The reverse fixture finished 7-0 to Bayern earlier in the season but this promises to be a tighter affair. That’s not exactly daring to state but still, after defeat in Madrid during the week, the champions could do with some momentum heading into Tuesday’s return fixture.
Werder will not be as fragile as when they last played the Bavarians but you imagine the result here will depend once again on the rotation by Herr Guardiola. The likes of Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri are still out but a comfortable Bayern win by a few looks foreseeable. They are 2.45 minus two goals.
Hertha BSC - Eintracht Braunschweig
Hertha are the Bundesliga’s most out-of-form side but Jos Luhukay has still ensured survival with relative ease for the capital club – something that shouldn’t be forgotten given that this is their first season back in the top flight after a one-year hiatus.
Braunschweig were promoted alongside them and they’ve found it tougher. There’s hope yet though that the Lions might be able to survive. Torsten Lieberknecht’s team are only two points off Hamburg in the “safety” provided by the relegation/play-off spot. They have a chance but having won just once away from home all season, this might just be the time for Hertha to end their poor run. They are 1.95 to win.
VfL Wolfsburg - SC Freiburg
Wolfsburg blew Hamburg away last weekend but back at the VW-Arena, Freiburg are likely to give them more of a test. Christian Streich’s team have nearly doubled their points tally for the season in the last seven games. He’ll be without Oliver Sorg, scorer of a stunning goal in last week’s 4-2 win over Gladbach, after he picked up a fifth yellow card.
Wolfsburg can’t afford any slip ups here if they’re to keep the heat on Bayer Leverkusen in the race for fourth. They had had a boost this week as top scorer Ivica Olic signed a new two-year deal, and he’s 5.10 to be first goalscorer on Saturday.
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Dortmund
In the late game on Saturday, it’s fourth against second as Leverkusen aim for a third straight win since the (re)appointment of Sascha Lewandowski. Borussia will seemingly provide the biggest hurdle for Bayer in their final three games, so there’s pressure to deliver on Saturday afternoon.
Fresh from being linked with Manchester United, Jürgen Klopp takes his Dortmund side to the BayArena safe in the comfort that they’ll be playing Champions League football once again next season. Second place is seemingly all but sewn up too, but BVB are unlikely to take their foot off the pedal. This one will be close but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some goals. Over 2.5 of them is 2.25.
FC Augsburg - Hamburger SV
Augsburg are in unfamiliar position. For the first time in their three-year stay in the Bundesliga, they are in no danger of relegation to the second tier at this stage of the season.
Opponents Hamburg could be about to move into an unfamiliar position too. Having never been relegated to the Bundesliga 2 in their history, they teeter on the edge of doing so with three to play. Their performance in their 3-1 home defeat to Wolfsburg last week prompted fan protests outside the stadium. That situation threatens to turn even uglier if they go down.
Augsburg though haven’t been remarkable at home in 2014, winning two of their seven games at the SGL-Arena but such is the way HSV are playing, any team in the Bundesliga will fancy themselves for three points. Augsburg to win is 1.95.
Schalke 04 - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Despite their defeat at Stuttgart last week, Schalke are very close to securing a place in the Champions League again, with the added bonus that should they stay in third, they’ll go straight into the group stages. Their home form has been a big reason for that, with the Royal Blues only dropping points once in their last 10 games at the Veltins-Arena.
Julian Draxler will return from suspension for the visit of a Gladbach side who might have a few regrets about not making it into the top four this season, having been very well placed at Christmas. Lucien Favre’s side arrive knowing that fourth spot is probably out of touch now but knowing all the same that they’ll be playing in the Europa League next season.
Given Gladbach’s stuttering of late though, Schalke look good value to win at 2.00.