Schalke 04 - Hannover 96
Schalke midfielder Johannes Geis returns from a five match suspension to face Hannover – and his comeback can’t come quickly enough for André Breitenreiter. The Royal Blues didn’t win any of their games without him and it’s a strangely improving Hannover side that are up next in Gelsenkirchen.
Michael Frontzeck’s side looked relegation certainties earlier in the campaign but both of their showings since the international break have been encouraging, particularly the 4-0 win over Ingolstadt. There’s enough about them to get something here but Schalke should just pull through for a much needed win at 1.60.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Bayern Munich
Bayern’s trip to Gladbach looks an interesting one. The champions are unbeaten and eight points clear at the top but Gladbach are also unbeaten in the Bundesliga since coach André Schubert took over. Both sides have plenty of injury problems but the most notable one this week was Douglas Costa joining Bayern’s sizeable absentee list for the weekend. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller are still likely to lead the line for Pep Guardiola on Saturday.
Gladbach’s Granit Xhaka has vowed that they won’t defend with ten players in their own penalty area but no matter what, you suspect Bayern may still just have enough to scrape through here. A 2-1 away win is priced at 9.00.
Hamburger SV - FSV Mainz 05
Sitting just two points off the Champions League places are Hamburg. Before you rush to saying that’s an indictment on the division, Bruno Labbadia’s side have actually played quite well of late. They were comfortable winners in the Nordderby last weekend but Mainz arrive in the north of Germany not looking too shabby themselves, sitting only a point behind their hosts on Saturday.
They have the patience to catch Hamburg out and with the home side looking far too assured of late, common sense suggests an away win here at 3.15.
FC Köln - FC Augsburg
If you’re looking for plenty of goals this weekend, then avert your eyes from Cologne. Peter Stöger’s side are wedged in mid-table but three of their last four games have finished goalless. What’s more, they haven’t scored at home in nearly six hours. Third from bottom Augsburg arrive after a goalless draw of their own against Wolfsburg last Sunday.
You won’t exactly be pushing the boat out at backing under 2.5 goals here at 1.75 but you’re likely to come out on top.
FC Ingolstadt - TSG Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim coach Huub Stevens has talked of his side needing to take their chances prior to their trip to Ingolstadt. That comes after the team bottom of the league drew against Gladbach last weekend having been 3-1 up. Ingolstadt didn’t have their best afternoon last Saturday either, going down 4-0 at Hannover. That was a surprise given that only Bayern have conceded less this season.
The home side will be without striker Moritz Hartmann, who struck twice in their last home game. Given both teams predicament last weekend, this one could turn out to be a low scoring affair with under 2.5 goals at 1.66.
Hertha BSC - Bayer Leverkusen
An own goal by Schalke’s Sascha Riether secured Leverkusen only their fourth point in as many games. Hertha meanwhile managed to only lose by two at Bayern which is no mean achievement. Surprisingly, it’s the club based in the capital who come into this game placed higher in the table. Whilst Leverkusen have been inconsistent, Hertha must be wary after how clinical Roger Schmidt’s side were on the counter in their last Bundesliga away game.
Pal Dardai’s team though are strong enough to make you think backing a draw is probably best here at 3.40.
VfL Wolfsburg - Borussia Dortmund
Ahead of Manchester United’s visit, Wolfsburg take on Borussia Dortmund as third play second. It will be a big test of Dieter Hecking’s side excellent run at home in the Bundesliga, which currently stands at 29 consecutive games unbeaten.
The away side though have the division’s form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with the Gabonese striker scoring 17 goals in 14 games so far this season. Elsewhere, under pressure captain Mats Hummels is expected to return to the Dortmund defence having been left on the bench against Stuttgart. For all of the good attacking play of Thomas Tuchel’s team this season, they’ve looked continually vulnerable at the back. That combined with Wolfsburg’s strong home form makes a draw very possible at 3.85.