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German Bundesliga Preview

Bayern Munich moved one step closer to making history with yet another three points accrued at the weekend. No team has ever clinched the title on four consecutive occasions in Germany and with Dortmund unable to finish off Schalke, Bayern require three more victories from five matches. Elsewhere, the race for a spot in the Champions League is hotly contested and has perhaps become the more important part of this season’s narrative.

Friday 15 April

38/10 Hannover | Draw 29/10 | Monchengladbach 7/10 (20:30)

Hannover’s response to their second change of manager this season yielded a 2-2 draw at Champions League contenders Hertha Berlin. Unfortunately, heroics at this stage of the season will likely prove too little too late. Hannover are rooted to the bottom of the table and are 12 points from safety. Monchengladbach often veer from the sublime too awful, and their 1-0 loss to Ingolstadt last week was a case of the latter. Fourteen victories and 12 losses from their 29 matches this season tells the story of inconsistency. However, Gladbach should bounce back to claim the away victory at 7/10.

Saturday 16 April

4/10 Bayer Leverkusen | 39/10 | Eintr. Frankfurt 13/2 (15:30)

Leverkusen claimed a fourth Bundesliga win on the trot as they disposed of Cologne on the road. It was enough to move Leverkusen in fourth spot outright, a mere point behind Hertha Berlin and automatic Champions League qualification. Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-0 home loss to Hoffenheim leaves the club inside the bottom two with five matches of the season remaining. It’s only a three-point deficit to make up but with confidence in the Frankfurt camp at an all-time low - the Eagles have won only once in the past 11 matches - survival is touch and go. Back the home victory here.

14/10 Augsburg | 51/20 | Stuttgart 18/10 (15:30)

Augsburg moved out of the Bundesliga relegation zone with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Werder Bremen, consequently dumping the home side into the bottom three. It ended a run of seven matches without a win but Augsburg will need to continue getting results if they hope to survive. Stuttgart were predictable losers at home to Bayern Munich and didn’t make the job any easier by opening the scoring with an own goal. Stuttgart have gone four matches without a win and will feel the unmistakable pull of the relegation zone, being only three points ahead of Augsburg. I’m calling the draw at 51/20 as Stuttgart begin to do just enough to stay up.

15/10 Werder Bremen | 26/10 | Wolfsburg 16/10 (15:30)

As mentioned, Werder Bremen fell into the drop zone with a home loss to Augsburg last weekend. Bremen took the lead in a first half that they dominated, yet the tables turned as Augsburg grew in confidence as the match progressed. It was the 32nd match in a row that Werder Bremen failed to keep a clean sheet, a statistic almost certainly to blame for their poor league position. Wolfsburg remained six points from qualifying for the Champions League next season with a 1-1 draw with Mainz. They’ve won only once in their last five Bundesliga matches yet a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League is perhaps an indicator of where their priorities lie. They’ll be drained from midweek exertions and Wolves don’t travel particularly well. The Werder Bremen or Draw Double Chance at 5/10 is where I’m headed in this one.

31/20 Hoffenheim | 9/4 | Hertha Berlin 18/10 (15:30)

Hoffenheim continued their rise out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt. Both of their goals came from substitutes in the form of Nadiem Amiri and Mark Uth, as inspired changes proved the difference between the two sides. Winter signing Andrej Kramaric from Leicester was as usual at the heart of everything good about Hoffenheim going forward. Hertha Berlin’s automatic qualification for the Champions League was once again dented by a 2-2 draw at home with Hannover. They remain four points better off than Monchengladbach but simply must return to winning ways soon if they hope to make third place their own. I suggest backing another home Win or Draw Double Chance at 9/20 as Hoffenheim attempt to cement top flight football.

15/10 Darmstadt | 43/20 | Ingolstadt 39/20 (15:30)

Darmstadt made important progress in their bid to stay up this season with a 2-1 victory last weekend in Hamburg. Aytac Sulu and Jerome Gondorf scored either side of halftime to put Darmstadt in control of the fixture. Although Hamburg mustered a consolation goal, Darmstadt’s status as the fourth-best away side in the league remained intact. This week they play host to an Ingolstadt side just about mathematically guaranteed a place in the Bundesliga. Indeed, their 1-0 victory over Gladbach put Ingolstadt closer to Europe than it does to relegation. I’m tipping Over 2.5 Goals in this fixture at 21/20 as all previous meetings between the sides have produced four goals exactly.

2/11 Bayern Munich | 6/1 | Schalke 13/1 (18:30)

Bayern Munich have all but sewn up the league with Dortmund failing to leave this weekend’s opponents Schalke with all of the points. Franck Ribery shone once again as Munich were not quite as slick as usual in their 3-1 victory over Stuttgart. Clearly with one eye trained on the Champions League, it was laboured three points, but a victory nonetheless. Schalke came back excellently to force a draw with local rivals Dortmund. A goalless first half gave way to a lively second period with Dortmund taking the lead as Leroy Sane levelled almost immediately. Schalke were awarded a penalty after falling behind, with Huntelaar slotting it comfortably. Schalke are seventh on the log but a Champions League push is certainly within reach. I fancy Both Teams To Score here at even money.

Sunday 17 March

3/10 Borussia Dortmund | 47/10 | Hamburger 17/2 (15:30)

Dortmund couldn’t provide the finishing touches to secure a derby win against Schalke and find themselves seven points behind Bayern Munich. Their dreams of stopping Munich marching to a fourth consecutive title are slowly slipping away. They’re clearly the second-best side in the country by a comfortable margin but will likely be made to wait another season before attempting to dethrone Bayern. Hamburg will be disappointed with their loss to Darmstadt last weekend and cannot be complacent in a congested relegation battle. I’m tipping Over 3.5 Goals here at 11/10.

21/20 Mainz | 24/10 | Cologne 26/10 (17:30)

Mainz remained on course for at least a top six finish after sharing the spoils with Wolfsburg at the weekend. Jairo Samperio levelled for Mainz midway through the second half and indeed Mainz had several chances to win the match as Dante was dismissed for Wolfsburg. Mainz are level on points with Gladbach and Schalke in an intense race for fourth spot. Cologne fell to a home loss to a resurgent Leverkusen and will also begin feeling the pinch of the relegation zone, a mere four points from safety. The home win must be backed at a valuable 21/20.

Bundesliga Picks
Monchengladbach WIN 7/10
Bayer Leverkusen WIN 4/10
Augsburg DRAW 51/20
Werder Bremen WIN/DRAW 5/10
Hoffenheim WIN/DRAW 9/20
Darmstadt OVER 2.5 GOALS 21/20
Bayern Munich BTTS 1/1
Dortmund OVER 3.5 GOALS 11/10
Mainz WIN 21/20

Written by Rick John Henry