Mainz 1.90, the draw 3.40, Greuther Fürth 4.00
Fürth midfielder Zoltan Stieber will not be able to play against his former club due to a stomach bug so Felix Klaus will come in instead. Mainz are firm favourites in the Coface Arena and Fürth will do well to withstand their high-intensity early pressing. Their striker Baye Fall needs to hold up the ball if Mike Büskens’ side can have any hope of escaping with a point.
Last week’s 3-0 loss at home to Bayern has markedly dampened the promotion euphoria in Franconia while Mainz feel confident to add to their points tally after the hard-fought 1-1 draw with Freiburg. Thomas Tuchel’s side will prove too strong.
Bremen 1.85, the draw 3.45, Hamburger SV 4.10
Werder took plenty of positives from their 2-1 defeat at Dortmund where their new attacking line-up looked very sharp. Marko Arnautovic, Chelsea-loanee Kevin de Bruyne and Eljero Elia will all fancy their chances against a Hamburg side that looked barely good enough to make it in the second division, let alone the top flight, last week.
Things should improve in the Weserstadion, however. Seasoned midfielders Petr Jiracek and Milan Badelj are expected to fortify HSV’s alarmingly soft centre on their debuts and there’s a chance, too, that returning cult hero Rafael van der Vaart will be thrown straight in by Thomas Fink. Expect a full-blooded northern derby with plenty of cards and goals.
Leverkusen 1.65, the draw 3.60, Freiburg 5.25
Bar a last-minute successful bid for André Schürrle by Chelsea, Bayer can play their strongest line-up. (Even though injured Brazilian midfielder Renato Augusto might disagree). The “Werkself” is under pressure to win following the completely unnecessary opening-day defeat at Frankfurt.
Striker Stefan Kiessling’s inconsistency in front of goal could well be their achilles heel this season but Schürrle and Karim Bellarabi, the two tucked-in wingers, will create plenty of goal-scoring opportunities against Freiburg. The visitors have become an extremely obdurate outfit under coach Christian Streich; Leverkusen should edge this narrowly though.
Hoffenheim 1.95, the draw 3.40, Frankfurt 3.75
Hoffenheim played better than expected in their 2-1 defeat at Gladbach on opening day. While there are no injury worries for manager Markus Babbel, it’s less clear if he can succeed in making the league’s most unpredictable team a coherent unit.
The hosts have plenty of decent attackers, to be sure, but Frankfurt surprised everyone with their courage and togertherness when they came back from 1-0 down to beat Leverkusen last week. There was a worry that Eintracht’s new centre-back Carlos Zambrano would not recover from a thigh injury in time but the Peruvian will be able to start. An away win will be the cheeky value bet here.
Schalke 1.42, the draw 4.10 Augsburg 8.00
Peruvian winger Jefferson Farfan is set to miss the match with a knee injury so Tranquilo Barnetta will be his likely replacement. There’s even talk that new addition Ibrahim Afellay, on loan from Barcelona, could feature on Saturday. The speculation just goes to show how much depth the Royal Blues have.
Their “third favourites”-tag looks throughly justified; Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, in particular, has been in ominous form and is the clear favourite for the leading goal-scorer trophy yet again. It’s hard to see beyond a home-win against Augsburg side who are still hurting from a 2-0 hammering at home by new boys Düsseldorf. This one could get quite ugly for the visiting team.
Nürnberg 5.55, the draw 3.70 Dortmund 1.60
The champions are inching closer to Hamburger SV’s record of 36 games unbeaten - they’ve gone 29 matches undefeated before their trip to Franconia. The return of right-back Lukasz Piszczek to the starting XI should help to continue that impressive run.
Mario Götze, the match-winner against Werder, will start from the bench again - a potent weapon should BVB need extra fire-power late on. These past few years, the difference in class between the teams was always telling: Jürgen Klopp has won the last six games against Nürnberg. A score draw looks like the best the “Club” can hope for at the Frankenstadion.
Düsseldorf 2.90, the draw 3.35, Mönchengladbach 2.35
A 2-0 win at Augsburg constituted a dream start for Fortuna. Coach Norbert Meier is spoilt for choice upfront, where Nando Rafael, Stefan Reisinger, Ex-Liverpool pony-tail Andrey Voronin and super-sub Daniel Schahin, who scored a brace last week, are vying for starting berths.
Unfortunately, their first Bundesliga home game will only be seen by 25, 000 fans (half the stadium capacity) after a pitch invasion disrupted the play-off v Hertha. Gladbach, fresh from an heroic but ultimately futile effort against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League play-off will brace themselves for a stormy occasion in this derby but must have enough for at least a draw.
Wolfsburg 1.92, the draw 3.50, Hannover 3.80
Hannover have scored 23 goals in their first six games of the season - some of them against inferior opposition (St. Patrick’s Athletic, Nöttingen, Slask Wroclaw), admittedly. The Lower-Saxons are still without Mame Biram Diouf but can choose from plenty of other options, with all other leading players back in contention.
Granted, 96’s record in the derby is very poor. Mirko Slomka, though, is confident that he can catch out Felix Magath’s very attacking side on the counter-attack. Goals are virtuallly guaranteed in an even match-up that’s simply too close to call.
Bayern 1.24, the draw 5.75, Stuttgart 11.00
The league-leaders are excited by the signing of €40m midfielder Javi Martinez but the 24-year-old is unlikely to start on his birthday. Bayern will welcome back Franck Ribery in place of Xerdan Shaqiri after the Frenchman missed the 3-0 win over Fürth; Emre Can could also feature as left-back with Holger Badstuber moving into the heart of the defence. Stuttgart rarely win in Munich and are further disadvantaged by a tiring trip to Moscow in midweek. A “false start” into the new season beckons for Bruno Labbadia’s team but they won’t simply roll over. It might be sensible to back them for a draw at 45 minutes before Bayern’s strength up front pays dividends.