1. FC Köln v TSG Hoffenheim
Coach Peter Stöger said too many first half errors cost Cologne at Augsburg last weekend. Their 2-1 defeat was a big opportunity missed too given that all their rivals for a European spot failed to pick up points.
Facing Hoffenheim next is not ideal either. Julian Nagelsmann’s side are one of the form teams in the division. They won’t have defender Benjamin Hübner due to suspension and on their last visit to Cologne in October, they lost 2-1 in the DFB-Cup despite dominating for long periods. Back the away side to emerge victorious this time around at 2.17.
Bayern Munich v 1. FSV Mainz 05
Having been knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid on Tuesday night, Bayern have to refocus against Mainz - the last team to win at the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga. That was last March and back then, Martin Schmidt’s side were on the up. That’s not quite the case at present.
They snuck a vital win last weekend against Hertha but Mainz still remain out of the relegation playoff spot only on goal difference. Manuel Neuer was ruled out for the rest of the season with a foot injury on Wednesday, which is a blow to Bayern. Even with Sven Ulreich in goal though, this is unlikely to be anything other than Bayern winning at half time and full time at 1.63.
Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Augsburg
Defeat in Dortmund last Saturday for Eintracht Frankfurt made it 10 Bundesliga games without a win, the biggest reason behind that winless streak has been their inability to take their chances. Augsburg still occupy the relegation playoff place at present despite beating Cologne last weekend. They ended that game with nine men after Ja-Cheol Koo and Alfred Finnbogason were sent off meaning they’re both out this weekend. Augsburg still don’t look all that convincing, so as long as Eintracht can hold their nerve in front of goal once again, this should be a home win at 1.73.
Hamburg SV v SV Darmstadt 98
Darmstadt avoided relegation for another week courtesy of their last gasp win against Schalke last Sunday. The issue for Torsten Frings’ side is that now they have to play away at Hamburg, having not collected a single point on the road this season. The likelihood of that changing up north decreases further when you consider that Hamburg are unbeaten in their last 10 home games. They turned in a poor performance in the Nordderby last weekend but back them to win to -1 here at 2.04.
FC Ingolstadt v SV Werder Bremen
Ingolstadt’s momentum fizzled out in Lower Saxony last week as they lost their crucial six pointer at Wolfsburg. What’s more, they’ll be missing three key players for the visit of Werder Bremen this weekend with Roman Bregerie, Markus Suttner and Marvin Matip all out suspended. This is a Werder side too that are in fine fettle as well with seven wins in their last nine games. Go for another three points for Alexander Nouri’s side here at 2.30.
Hertha BSC v VfL Wolfsburg
For the second year running, Hertha are threatening to let an automatic European spot slip from their grasp. Their defeat at Mainz was their eighth successive loss away from home. The return of Vladimir Darida from suspension is a timely one then for the hosts. They need a result against Wolfsburg who got much a needed win over relegation rivals Ingolstadt last weekend. The Wolves have Mario Gomez looking sharp up front but given that Hertha boast one of the best home records in the division, back them to exploit the away side’s defensive frailties at 2.45.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund
Monaco deserved their victory over Dortmund on Wednesday evening. BVB were fortunate that the defeat wasn’t heavier but the challenge now for BVB is to finish in an automatic Champions League place. The game in Gladbach should be an entertaining one given both sides prefer to be on the front foot. Forward and playmaker Raffael is out injured for the home side, with Thorgan Hazard likely to join him on the sidelines on Saturday. That shouldn’t affect the amount of goals in this one though. Dortmund’s games have produced the most goals in the division this season and back this one to have over 3.5 at 2.33.
SC Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen
Freiburg were outplayed at Leipzig last weekend but they still remain in a European position ahead of this weekend’s fixtures. Leverkusen too didn’t have much of the play against Bayern but they showed great resolve to earn an unlikely point. Javier Hernandez is back in contention for them ahead of a game which both sides are likely to fancy themselves to win. It’s always tricky to predict which version of Christian Streich’s Freiburg will turn up but they’ve looked sharper in front of goal recently than Leverkusen have under Tayfun Korkut. Even if influential forward Maximilian Philipp is out for the home side, plump for a home victory at 3.55.
FC Schalke 04 v RB Leipzig
Schalke were unfortunate to be knocked out of the Europa League by Ajax on Thursday night after one of their best performances of the season. The issue though for Markus Weinzierl is that those kind of displays have not been all that regular. Take last weekend in the Bundesliga for instance where rock bottom Darmstadt got the better of them.
Leipzig meanwhile are flying. A 4-0 win over Freiburg last weekend was their fourth straight win and it guaranteed them a top four spot. They’re likely to benefit from Schalke being drained by Thursday night’s exertions here too. There’s more pressure too on the home side to go forward and get a result, so you can see Leipzig picking Schalke off on the counter with an away win at 2.48.