1. FC Nürnberg - Mainz 05
When will Nürnberg win a game? On paper, the home game against 8th placed Mainz looks like their best shot before the winter break but Thomas Tuchel’s team are famously awkward to play against. FCN coach Gertjan Verbeek, you sense, is caught between staying true to his attacking philosophy and taking a more cautious approach in line with his squad’s modest abilities. Apart from Hiroshi Kiyotake, who’s only had one really good game so far, there’s little else by way of creativity. Mainz are without the suspended Elkin Soto in midfield but they won’t lose. Take them at 1.47 on the double chance.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Schalke 04
Jens Keller is running out of time after another poor result, this time in the cup (3-1 home defeat by Hoffenheim). Schalke weren’t even that bad to be fair, but tactical incoherence and individual mistakes again combined to negate the side’s (considerable) quality in attack.There aren’t many options to change the squad however, and the Foals will also stick to their starting XI after five wins in a row. All seven home matches were won so far but Schalke could get a draw in what promises to be an extremely tight game. Under 3.5 at 1.45 should see you in the money here.
Eintracht Frankfurt - TSG Hoffenheim
Armin Veh should be able to bring back Bamba Anderson, his most important defender, to provide some much needed stability. Eintracht are teetering precariously close to the relegation zone after a rotten run of nine league games without a win. Former TSG striker Joselu has started scoring goals but the 4-4-2 system leaves plenty of space for in-form Hoffenheim to exploit. As ever with TSG, goals should be backed. Over 3.5 at 2.67.
Hamburger SV - FC Augsburg
Former Chelsea player Michael Mancienne looks set to continue as right-back in the absence of Heiko Westermann. It won’t make too much a difference which doesn’t reflect too well on either player. Hamburg continue to consolidate, Rafael van der Vaart’s injury notwithstanding and are heavy favourites against Augsburg, who did pretty well in the 2-0 defeat to Bayern in the cup. Markus Weinzierl’s men could make it difficult and tire later, so it might be an idea to take them DNB at half-time at 2.25.
VfB Stuttgart - Hannover 96
Two defeats against Gladbach and Schalke have shown that the Swabians are not quite yet Europa League material but not too far off. They created enough chances without taking any of them. Against notoriously bad travellers Hannover, who could be without key striker Mame Diouf again (hamstring), VfB should do the business; Hannover have lost every single away game this season. Stuttgart at 2.0 or DNB (1.43) are both good prices.
Werder Bremen - Bayern Munich
Bremen have conceded 15 goals in the last five games, and nothing suggests that Robin Dutt is finding a way to stem the tide. Up front, Franco Di Santo might miss out due to injury but the more pertinent question is whether Bayern will be firing in all cylinders. There’s no Arjen Robben, and probably no Philipp Lahm. Pep Guardiola’s team have looked very tired in recent weeks. Against most teams, you’d be inclined to oppose them or go for the unders but Bremen look ill-equipped for this particular challenge. Over 3.5 at 2.08.
Borussia Dortmund - Bayer Leverkusen
The injury problems at the Signal Iduna Park have eased. Apart from long-term absentees Mast Hummels, Neven Subotic and Ilkay Gündogan, only Marco Reus looks in danger of missing out on this (almost) top of the table clash between third and second. Leverkusen and Dortmund play a similar game, but the visitors will be happy to sit and soak up the pressure for long spells. It could well be an edgy, low-scoring affair. Under 3.5 at 1.6.
SC Freiburg - VfL Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg look like they’ll be a force to reckon with this season. They’re unbeaten in six, don’t concede many goals (16) and have options in midfield and attack. They visit a Freiburg team who played well in the cup v Leverkusen but once again fell victim to their own frailties at the back. Christian Streich’s team have, ironically, kept Bayern at bay but lost against every other half-decent team this season. I don’t think that patter will change on Sunday. Wolfsburg at 2.0.
Eintracht Braunschweig - Hertha BSC
Torsten Lieberknecht’s team played rather better than his “we will be the lap dog” speech before the 2-0 defeat at Bayern had suggested. Braunschweig, for all their good work, are still bottom of the table however. One or two injury problems won’t help their case, and Hertha, who are riding high in seventh place, are well set-up to take advantage of the spaces that will open up as the game progresses. Hertha DNB at 1.55 is excellent value.
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