1. FC Nürnberg - Bayer Leverkusen
After an initial resurgence in 2014, Nuremberg appear to be hurtling towards the second tier with seven defeats in eight. This week hasn’t been a great one for coach Gertjan Verbeek either after he was fined €5,000 for his post-game comments after defeat to Freiburg where he claimed they’d played against 12 men.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Sporting Director Rudi Völler was also fined this week for criticising officials but at least his side are back on course for the Champions League after their 2-1 win over Hertha last weekend. That included the quickest goal of the season so far by ex-Nuremberg man Stefan Kiessling. He has an excellent record against his former club, scoring six in his last four against them – don’t be surprised if that continues in a Leverkusen win, for which they are priced at 1.95.
VfB Stuttgart - Schalke 04
The weekend’s last Bundesliga game has the ex-factor.
VfB manager Huub Stevens was voted “manager of the century” after two successful stints in Gelsenkirchen and Schalke boss Jens Keller used to play for the Swabians and started his coaching career there. The hosts need the points much more urgently than the Royal Blues but despite some encouraging words from S04 sporting director Horst Heldt, another former VfB man - “I’m rooting for them (in the relegation battle,” he said), they won’t get any favours from the third-placed team.
Schalke are unbeaten in seven games in the league, and recent performances have been (largely) good enough to tone down the speculation about Keller’s future. There are plenty of options up front and midfield; wingers Jefferson Farfan and Chinedu Obasi are likely to be available again. Stevens will put Vedad Ibisevic back into the starting XI. In Daniel Didavi, he also has a very dangerous player in "the hole". The main concern is defence, though. At Gladbach (1-1), Stuttgart once agin conceded late on to come away with just one point.
I fear it might be a similar story here, with the draw at 3.40.