Hannover 96 - VfL Wolfsburg
Hannover have proved to be one of the more inconsistent sides in the Bundesliga so far this season. They were fourth just under a month ago but some suspect defending against Leverkusen and Hoffenheim has seen them slip back down the table.
This weekend, it’s a Lower Saxony derby as they take on second place Wolfsburg – one of the form teams in the division, having won seven of their last eight. Dieter Hecking’s side did slip up on their travels last time out against Schalke but their amazing firepower should get them past Hannover this weekend, at 1.90.
FC Köln - FC Augsburg
Cologne certainly felt they were unfortunate with a few decisions in last Saturday’s Rhine Derby thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. That 5-1 reverse has left them, for the first time this season, within the clutches of the relegation zone.
Augsburg are in their highest ever position in German football as they sit in fourth spot after a third straight league win. The only thing that has tainted that in the last week was club president Walther Seinsch stepping down due to health reasons. Augbsurg’s recent form though makes them a good prospect for an away win, at 2.60.
SC Paderborn - SC Freiburg
Both Paderborn and Freiburg were hammered for four last weekend by Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, respectively. As a result, André Breitenreiter and Christian Streich will be eyeing this Saturday’s game as an excellent chance for points ahead of the upcoming winter break. Paderborn are slight favourites at home, in my view, but Freiburg are tough to break down. A draw looks likely for this weekend, priced at 3.35.
VfB Stuttgart - Schalke 04
Huub Stevens’ return to Stuttgart brought about the desired response with a thumping 4-1 victory over Freiburg. Next, just 10 days short of the second anniversary of his sacking at Schalke, he faces his former employers.
Stevens’ opposite number Roberto Di Matteo has good memories of playing Stuttgart having been part of the Chelsea team that won the European Cup Winners Cup against the Swabians back in 1998. At the moment, the focus for him is turning around Schalke’s wretched away form. Such was the impact of Stevens return last weekend though, another Stuttgart win is foreseeable at 2.15.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Hertha BSC
After a club record 18 game unbeaten run in all competitions, Gladbach have been halted by three consecutive defeats in the Bundesliga. If they're to qualify for the Champions League, Lucien Favre will need to ensure they avoid the nine game winless run that ultimately denied them a place at European football's top table last season.
This week, Favre's former side, Hertha BSC are the visitors to Borussia Park. They only lost 1-0 to Bayern last week though the club from the capital are still close to the relegation zone. Gladbach will be without defender Martin Stranzl on Saturday but they should still be able to get past Hertha in his absence. It’s 1.65 for a home win.
Bayern Munich - Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Roger Schmidt's pressing machine provide the latest challenge for Pep Guardiola and Bayern on Saturday. Leverkusen still have their old "Neverkusen" tendencies but they certainly have the ability to cause the league leaders problems on Saturday. “I’m a big, big fan,” said Pep Guardiola. But he’s yet to say something negative about any opponents in the league, to be fair.
Turning over Bayern at the Allianz Arena though, as you may have heard, is notoriously difficult. Leverkusen in theory should provide a very stern test for the champions - yet the final scoreline is likely to be an all too familiar one. There might not be many goals though, with under 2.5 at 2.90.