Bayern Munich v FC Köln
Pep Guardiola spoke of having great respect for Cologne before tonight’s game but don’t be fooled into thinking that will transfer into mercy on the pitch. Bayern have scored 14 in their last two Bundesliga games as the champions have recovered from their slow start to the Rückrunde.
Cologne’s draw against Hannover means they still only have one home win to their name but they have fared much better on the road this season. That though is unlikely to count for much at the Allianz Arena. Bayern’s particularly prolific nature in front of goal recently makes over 3.5 goals look likely at 2.00
Hertha BSC v FC Augsburg
This is a meeting between the Bundesliga’s two youngest coaches with 38-year-old Pal Dardai hosting 40-year-old Markus Weinzierl. Dardai is certainly under more pressure. He has only overseen three games at Hertha but after a win on his debut, two defeats have followed. The club second from bottom are likely to be without top scorer Julian Schieber this weekend too. He has a knee injury.
Augsburg’s dramatic late point against Leverkusen last week, secured by goalkeeper Marwin Hitz, still left them level on points with Schalke who occupy the last Champions League place. They are without a win in three and such is Hertha’s listless nature, Augsburg are good value to get back on track at 2.52
TSG Hoffenheim v Mainz 05
Hoffenheim only drew at Freiburg last week meaning on the road, they’ve only beaten the current bottom two away from home this season. Markus Gisdol’s team though are still close to a European spot heading into their game against Mainz. The visitors will be looking to follow up on their win against Eintracht Frankfurt in Martin Schmidt’s first game in charge. They are without a win in nine away games though which points towards a Hoffenheim victory in this one at 1.95.
Hannover 96 v VfB Stuttgart
There’s pressure on both Hannover and Stuttgart going into Saturday with neither side yet to win in 2015. Stuttgart are the most in trouble though, being last in the table and in danger of starting to slip out of view of the sides above them.
It’s a crucial game then for coach Huub Stevens. He came in and saved Stuttgart from relegation last season but hasn’t enjoyed the same success on his latest return to the club. Hannover are also struggling – without a victory in six and with only one win in their last six home games too. This could be a case of both sides cancelling each other out though, with the draw at 3.40
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04
“No one needs any extra motivation,” said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp ahead of the Revierderby - the biggest game of the weekend and one of the biggest in any Bundesliga season. He’ll be without full back Lukasz Piszczek who was injured in Dortmund’s midweek defeat at Juventus. As for Schalke, injury forces Roberto Di Matteo to select their 19-year-old third choice goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther once again but influential striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is back available.
On top of the rivalry, it’s a chance for Dortmund to take points off a team in the Champions League places whilst Schalke can pretty much end BVB’s hopes of getting back into the top four. Schalke have proved their defensive qualities under Roberto Di Matteo and they will get chances against this Dortmund defence. It will be tight but Schalke to win at 6.35 is not to be sniffed at.
Bayer Leverkusen v SC Freiburg
Leverkusen have a good recent history of flattering to deceive against Europe’s elite. So it was a surprise then to see them not only match Atlético Madrid but actually beat the Spanish champions on Wednesday. Roger Schmidt’s side though have only won one of their five league games in 2015.
Third from bottom Freiburg haven’t fared much better and will be without Marc Torrejon who was sent off late on against Hoffenheim last week. Late goals have cost Leverkusen three points in their last two Bundesliga games but they should beat Freiburg at 1.37
Eintracht Frankfurt v Hamburg SV
Eintracht and Hamburg are two of the more unpredictable sides in the division. Frankfurt followed up their victory over Schalke with a limp display in their Rhein-Main derby defeat at Mainz. Hamburg on the other hand were much improved from their 8-0 defeat to Bayern (they hardly could have been worse) but conceded an injury time equaliser against Gladbach.
Eintracht will be without combative defender Carlos Zambrano who was sent off at Mainz or striker Haris Seferovic who picked up his fifth booking. Hamburg meanwhile are likely to be missing striker Ivica Olic through injury. Going merely on the fact that Hamburg don’t really do “scoring goals” but Eintracht do, back Frankfurt at 2.00
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