FSV Mainz 05 - Borussia Mönchengladbach
“We want to concede fewer goals,” said Gladbach coach André Schubert on Thursday with only Stuttgart having conceded more than them this season. What’s worse for Schubert is that at Mainz, he’ll be without the central midfield pair of Granit Xhaka (suspended) and Mahmoud Dahoud (injured).
Mainz meanwhile confirmed this week that top scorer Yunus Malli will be staying this January. The home side will be looking to react to a tame defeat at Ingolstadt last week and coupled with the visitors’ shaky defence, a few goals could be on the cards – pick more than 3.5 at 2.85.
FC Augsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt
Augsburg and Eintracht hover only two points above the Bundesliga’s relegation playoff spot but both had encouraging results last weekend. Augsburg took a point from high flying Hertha whilst Alex Meier, Eintracht’s very own football God, scored a hat-trick to slay Wolfsburg.
The visitors however don’t look all that solid at the back and even if Augsburg don’t score all that many, they’ve been defending well enough of late to eke out a win here. Back Augsburg to do so at 2.00.
SV Werder Bremen - Hertha BSC
Werder Bremen captain Clemens Fritz will retire at the end of the season but his performance at Schalke last Sunday suggested he’s not quite ready to do so just yet. His goal and two assists were crucial in a big away win.
Hertha coach Pal Dardai meanwhile took responsibility for his side’s bluntness against Augsburg. Perhaps a road trip to Bremen might rectify that. Dardai’s side are very well organised and have managed to win three of their last four away from home. Werder meanwhile have the worst home record in the division, picking up just four points at the Weserstadion this season. Plumping for an away win is worth the risk at 2.65.
SV Darmstadt 98 - Schalke 04
Schalke’s poor result against Werder Bremen didn’t reflect the amount they’d created but it adds extra significance to their game this weekend. According to the club, defender Joel Matip is out injured or according to the cynics, he wants out to Liverpool. They could do with him at Darmstadt who continued to defy the odds with their victory at Hannover last Saturday.
Dirk Schuster’s team are very good at making things awkward for their opponents. Schalke cannot afford to be off their game here for that reason but given the club’s proximity to crisis mode, a home win is foreseeable at 3.45.
Borussia Dortmund - FC Ingolstadt 04
There was an impressive look about Dortmund in their win over Gladbach. Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus were big reasons behind that but injury knocks meant they both trained individually on Thursday.
Ingolstadt don’t have the swagger of Thomas Tuchel’s side but they keep grinding out results, as they did with a slender victory over Mainz. Pep Guardiola called them the most difficult opponents he’d faced all season after their match at Bayern, so don’t expect the 4-0 thrashing that Dortmund gave them earlier in the season.
Do expect Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to find a goal though – the division’s top scorer was strangely off colour last weekend but he’s scored in every Bundesliga home game so far this season. Back him to be the first goal scorer at 3.75.
Bayer Leverkusen - Hannover 96
Trips to Leverkusen haven’t been all that rewarding for Hannover in the last few years. They’ve lost each of their last eight visits, scoring just one goal in that time. The current vintage of Leverkusen side they’ll be facing didn’t look all that dangerous at Hoffenheim, the team one place above Hannover who are last in the table. Yet this should be a comfortable home win for Roger Schmidt’s side. Back Leverkusen at -1 at 1.69.
VfB Stuttgart - Hamburg SV
Stuttgart look a much more coherent unit under Jürgen Kramny. Their win at Cologne last weekend was well deserved and helped them move away from the automatic relegation places. Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia meanwhile wasn’t happy after Bayern’s “lucky win” against them.
His side haven’t been all that bad this season but such has been Stuttgart’s recent revival with Kramny, a victory for the hosts looks the likeliest prospect here at 2.00.
Look out for Raphael's best bets for Sunday's matches over the weekend