Hannover 96 v Bayern München
As speculation swirls around the increasingly likely departure of Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, Bayern travel to Lower Saxony to face Hannover. Michael Frontzeck’s team have tailed off in recent weeks after an autumnal revival. It says something that even with Franck Ribéry, Medhi Benatia, Arjen Robben, Philipp Lahm, Mario Götze, Douglas Costa, David Alaba and Juan Bernat missing, Bayern are still heavy favourites to win. For value, pick them to win at -1 here at 1.60.
Hamburger SV v FC Augsburg
Augsburg’s momentum was halted by Borussia Dortmund during the week as they were knocked out of the DFB Cup. A trip to inconsistent Hamburg will be a test of the progress they’ve made in recent weeks. Midfielder Dominik Kohr will be missing for the visitors while the hosts look for a win to crown what has been a much improved season so far. That said, Hamburg could hardly have got any worse than they’ve played in the last two campaigns. Their draw at Wolfsburg last week shows there is enough about them to end the year with a flourish – back them to do so, with a Hamburg win at 2.35.
FC Köln v Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich are top of the league but the top scorers in the Bundesliga are Borussia Dortmund. In all competitions, they’ve struck 84 times so far this season. Next in the line of fire of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and friends are Cologne – a team who haven’t been able to score a goal in front of their own fans in over seven hours. Yet such is the weird and wondrous way that football works, they’re almost guaranteed to score this weekend. Given Dortmund’s proclivity for doing so too, you’d reckon over 3.5 goals is likely here at 2.55.
Eintracht Frankfurt v SV Werder Bremen
In the biggest cup shock of the week, Werder Bremen not only scored four but they overcame Borussia Mönchengladbach whilst they were at it. Eintracht Frankfurt meanwhile have a sorry look about them at present. They’ve won just one of their last 12 in the Bundesliga and their hammering at the hands of Dortmund last weekend won’t have helped. Whilst both sides sit just above the bottom three with only a point separating them, Bremen have looked more effective away from home and that should give them a vital edge here. Pick Viktor Skripnik’s side as the winners with an away win at 3.10.
FC Ingolstadt 04 v Bayer Leverkusen
Leverkusen’s win over Gladbach last weekend went against recent form of the two clubs. It perfectly correlated though with the recent form of Chicharito. The former Manchester United striker’s hat-trick was followed up by a single goal in the cup during the week to make it 16 goals in his last 13 games for Leverkusen. Now he gets to test himself against the second meanest defence in the division in Ingolstadt. They’ve performed better than expected in the first half of the season but such is the way Chicharito is playing currently, it’s difficult to avoid backing him to score here at 2.45.
VfB Stuttgart v VfL Wolfsburg
Little is convincing about Stuttgart at the moment. They’re bottom of the table and they only just managed to squeak past second division Eintracht Braunschweig during the week. Wolfsburg though have only won once away from home in the Bundesliga so far this year. Dieter Hecking will be without Ricardo Rodriguez and Luiz Gustavo too. Yet such is the leakiness of Stuttgart’s defence and the fragility of the team’s confidence after every goal they concede, a second away win of the season for Wolfsburg looks on the cards, at 2.10.