Bundesliga betting: Leverkusen to overcome Paris pain with win at Wolfsburg

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Schalke 04 - Mainz 05

Friday night’s game at the Veltins-Arena should see the long-awaited return of Julian Draxler to the Schalke line-up.

The Royal Blues have not dropped any points since the winter break and are strong favourites against Thomas Tuchel’s hard-working Mainz outfit. Up front, they can play their best side but right-back Atsuto Uchida and captain Benny Höwedes are missing in defence. Mainz are at all full-strength as far as Tuchel’s preferred players are concerned, but the question is, can they get a draw here?

I’m not sure but I’d say Schalke will score goals with Draxler’s help. Over 1.5 for the home team is 1.62.

FC Nürnberg - Eintracht Braunschweig

Torsten Lieberknecht will be without winger Karim Bellarabi (suspended), midfielder Omar Elabdellaoui (groin) and goalkeeper Daniel Davari (bruised shoulder). HSV game hat-trick hero Domi Kumbela wasn’t able to train fully this week but will be able to play on Saturday.

Nürnberg could hand a starting debut to new signing, playmaker Jose Campana, but the Spaniard is doubtful after picking up a knock in training. Gertjan Verbeek’s team have been excellent since the restart and are huge favourites to beat the bottom team.

I’d back them -1 at 2.25.

Borussia Mönchengladbach - TSG Hoffenheim


One point (last week’s 1-1 draw at Bremen) from four games in 2014 has been a disastrous return for Lucien Favre’s team, and it’s hard to see what the problem is. They haven’t had any significant injuries in midfield or in attack, but somehow their sense of rhythm has been lost over Christmas.

Left-back Oscar Wendt is out of commission here, and Patrick Herrman has the flu and is doubtful. Hoffenheim are without the suspended midfielder Eugen Polanski and that should make them even more prone at the back where they’ve conceded 44 goals, as many as they have scored.

Backing goals is the safest way to deal with this fixture, too. Over 2.5 is 1.53. 

Hamburger SV - Borussia Dortmund 

Mirko Slomka’s rescue mission in charge of Bundesliga “dinosaur” Hamburg begins.

The northerners are actually Jürgen Klopp’s bogey team - he’s lost five times against them, more often than against any other side since he took over the Black and Yellows in 2008.

Slomka is expected to make changes at the back, where Slobodan Rajkovic should come back and Heiko Westermann will be on the bench. A shrewd move.

However, Dortmund have Marco Reus back in their squad and look in fantastic shape. Take them at -1 for 1.85.

SC Freiburg - FC Augsburg

Augsburg’s fantastic run of eight league games without a defeat came to an end against Nürnberg last week. In Freiburg, Markus Weinzierl will be without main striker Raul Bobadilla, so Arkadiusz Milik or Halil Altintop should feature instead. Keeper Marwin Hitz is still out too, so ex-Arsenal player Alex Manninger will be in goal in again.

Christian Streich’s team played better in the 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich than the result suggested. He might make a few changes here but the away team just look like the more settled side. Take them at 2.35.

VfB Stuttgart - Hertha BSC

Six defeats in a row have plunged the Swabians uncomfortably close to the relegation places, with a seventh loss at the Mercedes Benz Arena on Saturday equalling the club’s negative record from 1987. Coach Thomas Schneider is beginning to feel the pressure.

A lack of clean sheets has been identified as the main problem so we can expect a fairly cautious approach here, with key striker Vedad Ibisevic still suspended.

Hertha are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Per Skjelbred (virus), but Jos Luhukay has a far better defence than the Swabians, and his team are unlikely to give away much here. Under 2.5 goals is 1.88.

VfL Wolfsburg - Bayer Leverkusen


Ivica Olic could just make it back in time for this intriguing tie at the Volkswagen-Arena, whilst Brazilian defender Naldo is certainly playing again after his suspension has been served.

Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypiä will have to make a few changes after the embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night. Captain Simon Rolfes, who had an absolute nightmare, might well be the most prominent victim.

The home side are favourites but we can expect a strong reaction from Bayer. I think they’ll win here

Eintracht Frankfurt - Werder Bremen

Armin Veh came back with a fantastic 2-2 draw at Porto in the Europa League after going down 2-0, but will tiredness be a factor against Werder?

Robin Dutt could line-up in a 4-4-2 with two real strikers since Aaron Hunt is still unavailable, whilst Santiago Garcia and Luca Caldirola come back into the defence.

Eintracht’s good form at home notwithstanding, I think Werder can get something here. Take them on the double chance at 2.06.

Hannover 96 - Bayern Munich


Last week, I recommended taking Freiburg at +3 but that still wasn’t enough.

Let’s not pretend otherwise: Bayern will win in Lower Saxony on Sunday as well, regardless of the exact make-up of the line-ups. The question is: by how many?

I think by at least two goals. Take them to beat Tayfun Korkut’s Hannover with a -1 handicap at 1.70

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