FC Augsburg v RB Leipzig, Friday 7.30pm
Augsburg managed to put some important distance between themselves and the relegation zone last weekend with a win at Darmstadt. It takes the pressure off them somewhat ahead of facing Leipzig. The visitors arrive down south with the chance to raise the heat on Bayern by closing the gap to two points before they play at Cologne on Saturday. Their key performers such as Emil Forsberg, Timo Werner and Naby Keita are all fit and available for this one. Expect them to perform once again with Leipzig to win at 1.83.
SV Werder Bremen v SV Darmstadt 98, Saturday 2.30pm
Werder Bremen can bound into this one with some confidence after winning their last two games, both of which were away from home. However, Alexander Nouri’s side have lost each of their three home games at the Weserstadion in 2017.
This match sees the return of Darmstadt coach Torsten Frings to the place where he was a legend as a player. He started the season as Werder’s assistant coach too before leaving the club when Viktor Skripnik was sacked. His Darmstadt side remain without a point on the road and while the Bundesliga is prone to throwing up surprises, it’s best to plump for Werder here. Darmstadt still haven’t claimed a point away from home this season, so back a home win at 1.65.
Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday 2.30pm
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was back in the goal scoring groove last weekend as Dortmund were eventually able to ease past Freiburg in the Black Forest. Leverkusen meanwhile were having an altogether more unpleasant time of it against Mainz. A kamikaze first 11 minutes put Mainz two up and their attempts to get back into the game from there were quite feeble.
Wendell is likely to return at left back having missed the Mainz game through suspension but Hakan Calhanoglu’s absence is perhaps proving more pivotal. He set up both of Leverkusen’s goals in their victory over Dortmund earlier this season but remains sidelined for the season. Don’t expect Leverkusen to be conservative in their approach with Roger Schmidt desperately needing a win. With Dortmund’s attacking prowess though, do anticipate that it results in a few goals though with over 3.5 priced at 2.33.
FC Köln v Bayern Munich, Saturday 2.30pm
Köln boss Peter Stöger has said facing Bayern this weekend is more pleasure than pressure. With his side still placed seventh in the table, that much is true but not having Jonas Hector available through suspension is a bitter blow.
League leaders Bayern have sorted themselves out at home as shown by recent dominant displays against Arsenal (5-1), Hamburg (8-0) and Schalke (3-0) on Wednesday in the DFB-Pokal. Robert Lewandowski in particular is firing on all cylinders. Away from home though, Bayern’s performances have still left much to be desired for. However, even if Cologne have not lost a home game yet this season, back Lewandowski to help pull Bayern through with an away win and Lewandowski to score priced at 2.25.
TSG Hoffenheim v FC Ingolstadt, Saturday 2.30pm
Ingolstadt were unfortunate to lose to Gladbach last weekend especially as the first goal went in on off Lars Stindl’s arm. Hoffenheim on the other hand fought back to earn a point at Schalke thanks to Sebastian Rudy’s equaliser. This though is a big opportunity for them to tighten their grip on the Bundesliga’s final Champions League place. Ingolstadt may seem like cannon fodder from their lowly position in the table but Bayern, Leipzig and Dortmund have all struggled against them this season. It’s still difficult to see past anything other than a home win on Saturday with Hoffenheim at 1.78.
1. FSV Mainz 05 v VfL Wolfsburg, Saturday 2.30pm
Wolfsburg moved onto their third coach of the season this week with Andries Jonker taking over from Valerien Ismael. He won’t have first choice goalkeeper and captain Diego Benaglio at his disposal in Mainz meaning that Koen Casteels will be between the sticks. The pressure is on Jonker though with Wolfsburg just two points above the bottom three.
Mainz find themselves six points further up the table after a 2-0 win at Leverkusen last week. Coach Martin Schmidt was still honest enough in his assessment after the game adding that he didn’t think his side were necessarily at their best. They’ll need to be better here with Wolfsburg likely to be much improved on their previous showings. Mainz are usually no pushovers at home though, so go for a draw at 3.35.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Schalke 04, Saturday 2.30pm
This is the first of three games that these two will contest in the space of twelve days. Schalke are unbeaten in their last four in the Bundesliga but their display against Hoffenheim wasn’t all that impressive. Then came the game at Bayern on Wednesday in the cup where Markus Weinzierl’s side fell apart in the first half hour.
Gladbach were by no means excellent against Hamburg either but they still advanced through to the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal. You’d have to say that Dieter Hecking’s team look in better nick at present too, with captain Lars Stindl scoring eight goals in his last nine games. It’s best then to go for a home win and Stindl to score anytime at 4.50.
Eintracht Frankfurt v SC Freiburg, Sunday 2.30pm
Three defeats on the trot have put Eintracht Frankfurt’s European dreams on the rocks. They will have Omar Mascarell back in midfield this weekend as he returns from suspension but Niko Kovac’s side are likely to be affected by the continued absence of David Abraham and Jesus Vallejo at the back. Freiburg meanwhile won’t have Maximilian Philipp, one of the best players going forward after he picked up a fifth yellow card in their defeat to Borussia Dortmund. That was a rare game where Freiburg didn’t find the net but back both teams to do so on Sunday at 1.86.
Hamburg SV v Hertha BSC, Sunday 4.30pm
Had it not been for Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer, Hamburg might well have advanced to the DFB-Pokal semi-finals during the week. Two penalties did for them in the end but Markus Gisdol’s side can take courage from a good performance. To be fair, they could only improve after the 8-0 demolition they suffered at the hands of Bayern Munich last Saturday.
Hertha continued their charge for European football with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. If they want to qualify automatically for the Champions League or indeed the Europa League, then it is games such as these that Hertha need to be winning. However, Pal Dardai’s side have won just one of their 10 away games in the league. So, with Kyriakos Papadopoulous back in the starting eleven for Hamburg, back him to help propel Hamburg to what would be a vital win at 2.60.