German Bundesliga Preview

We head into a crucial stage of the Bundesliga season as the league takes a Christmas sabbatical after Week 17. The Hinrunde (first half of the season) gives way to the Ruckrunde, which in German football is a completely different beast. So much can change after a month’s break from football but one thing is certain; to prevent Bayern Munich marching to a fourth straight title, one of the pretenders to the throne will need an almost flawless run after the festive break.

Friday 4 December

Schalke 11/20 | Draw 32/10 | Hannover 9/2 (21:30)

In the race for a top-four finish, Schalke would’ve been unhappy to settle for 1-1 draw with Leverkusen, despite it coming away from home and snapping a two-match losing streak in the league. Schalke are still awaiting their first Bundesliga win since mid-October and led the match all the way until the last five minutes, allowing Leverkusen to equalise. Hannover moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a morale-boosting 4-0 win over Ingolstadt. It was their heaviest league defeat to date but Hannover are only capable of such performances in the most sporadic fashion. Back Schalke for the home win at 11/20. 

Saturday 5 December

Hertha Berlin 26/10 | 5/2 | Bayer Leverkusen 21/20 (16:30)

Hertha Berlin gave an admirable account of themselves in their 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich. That’s three matches in succession against the German champions where they have avoided embarrassment. To be fair, that was all Berlin could have hoped for when coming up against the quality of Munich. Berlin lie fifth in the standings and will desperately want to add some more points to their tally before the winter break. Leverkusen are a mere two points behind the men from the capital but are battling for any kind of momentum. They’ve been inconsistent at best, with the exception of Javier Hernandez. It’s difficult to know which way to slice this one but the home win at 26/10 is simply too good to pass up. 

Hamburg 27/20 | 23/10 | Mainz 2/1 (16:30) 

Hamburg have looked a side reborn over the last couple of weeks. 3-1 wins over Dortmund and Werder Bremen has seen the previously relegation stricken club move up to seventh in the league. They’ll certainly be hopeful of another three-pointer when they host Mainz at the weekend. Mainz lie only a point below Hamburg and picked up a valuable home win over Frankfurt last time out. They took a 2-0 lead into half-time yet still conceded after Frankfurt had been reduced to ten-men. Mainz gave up too much of the ball and let the Eagles back into the game despite having the numerical advantage. I foresee another home win at a decent 27/20. 

Ingolstadt 29/20 | 22/10 | Hoffenheim 2/1 (16:30) 

Ingolstadt were three goals down within half an hour last weekend against Hannover. This was the same amount of goals that they had conceded on the road all season in the top flight. The rout was completed towards the end of the match as Ingolstadt crashed back to earth after a very successful early season run. They’ve won only one of their last five matches however and face a Hoffenheim side fresh from an exciting 3-3 draw with Gladbach. It left Huub Stevens still waiting for his first win as Hoffenheim manager and also left the club rooted to the bottom of the table. Hoffenheim have won only once all season but I’m tipping them to double that here at 2/1.

Monchengladbach 77/10 | 9/2 | Bayern Munich 3/10 (16:30) 

The match of the weekend sees an impressive Gladbach unit unbeaten in nine matches take on the all-dominant champions, unbeaten in the league all season, drawing once. Gladbach were made to work in keeping Andre Schubert’s fantastic run alive as they came from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Hoffenheim. Josip Drmic scored to panic the home side before Fabian Johnson completed a brace a snatched a point three minutes from time. Bayern Munich had what has become a customary slew of injuries in wide positions but still managed to take care of business against Hertha Berlin, barely breaking a sweat in the process. I can see Over 3.5 Goals being scored in this one at a healthy 21/20. 

Cologne 12/10 | 23/10 | Augsburg 9/4 (16:30) 

Cologne are now unbeaten in four straight Bundesliga matches, however three of them have ended as goalless draws. It is clearly a case of defense being the best offence for Cologne and one imagines they will once again set up to not concede despite meeting an Augsburg side mired in relegation. That being said, Augsburg picked up three points from a thumping of Stuttgart before holding high-flying Wolfsburg to a goalless draw in their last outing. This one has Under 2.5 Goals written all over it at 8/10. 

Wolfsburg 31/10 | 3/1 | Borussia Dortmund 8/10 (19:30)

Wolfsburg were a shadow of their usual selves as they failed to make any impact at the Augsburg Arena. In fact, they were probably lucky to come away with the point. They had Dante dismissed towards the close of the game and will miss the experienced centre-half in this crucial match against the challengers-elect. Dortmund bounced back from their loss to Hamburg in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 win over Stuttgart. The Westphalians controlled the vast majority of the match and the three points ensured that Bayern Munich will technically have to wait before they can be crowned the autumn champions. Aubameyang netted a brace and now has an incredible 17 goals in 14 appearances. Both Teams to Score seems a banker bet to me at 11/20.

Sunday 6 November

Stuttgart 1/1 | 27/10 | Werder Bremen 24/10 (16:30) 

Stuttgart sacked Alexander Zorniger last week just 13 games into his three-year contract. The side survived miraculously last season following heroics in the final weeks yet this season they seem doomed for relegation. Stuttgart performed no better in caretaker coach Jurgen Kramny’s first game in charge, losing 4-1 to Dortmund. That’s three consecutive losses for the Swabians, having conceded four goals in each. Werder Bremen have been equally as poor this season with manager Viktor Skripnik’s job hanging by a thread. They are only three points above Stuttgart and have been thumped in their last two outings. This is another match where Both Teams To Score looks the bet to take at 5/10. 

Eintracht Frankfurt 9/10 | 5/2 | Darmstadt 3/1 (18:30)

Frankfurt captain and playmaker Alexander Meier picked up two yellow cards in the first half of their match with Mainz, leaving the side to attempt a fight back from two goals down with just ten-men. Haris Seferovic scored as Frankfurt tried ably to get something from the game, but one goal was simply not enough. Frankfurt are without a win in four matches and if something doesn’t give soon, the club could well spend the Ruckrunde fighting for the place in the top flight. Darmstadt lie only a point above their opponents and a bright start to life in the top flight has turned into a real slog over the past month. They are without a win in five matches and my prediction that things may turn sour has come to fruition. Neither side are playing good football at the moment and a low-scoring encounter wouldn’t be surprise. Back Under 2.5 Goals at 15/20.

Bundesliga Picks
Schalke WIN 11/20 
Hertha Berlin WIN 26/10
Hamburg WIN 27/20
Hoffenheim WIN 2/1
Monchengladbach OVER 3.5 GOALS 21/20
Cologne UNDER 2.5 GOALS 8/10
Wolfsburg BTTS 11/20
Stuttgart BTTS 5/10
Frankfurt UNDER 2.5 GOALS 15/20

Written by Rick John Henry for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!