German Bundesliga Preview




Last weekend’s set of results once again made for sober reading as the Bundesliga continued to prove difficult to predict. A couple of upsets and a few anomalies saw a surprising weekend end with Cologne overturning high-flying Mainz on the road. Bayern Munich continue to inch closer to yet another title while Dortmund can only keep collecting three points and hope that Munich slip up. Perhaps there is still an unlikely twist to the tale with the business end of the Champions League a primary concern for the treble-chasing club.

Friday 22 April

14/10 Hamburg | Draw 49/20 | Werder Brem. 37/20 (20:30)

Hamburg were already two goals down before goalkeeper Rene Adler was red carded for a foul on the last man. Having used all of their substitutes, Albin Ekdal picked up an injury and Hamburg were forced to end the match with nine men, conceding once more to lose 3-0 against Dortmund. The club are now only three points above the relegation zone, Werder Bremen third-last with 31 points. Both sides require a victory from this important fixture and there isn’t much to choose between them form-wise. Werder Bremen snatched a 3-2 victory over Wolfsburg in their last outing and are tipped to continue the momentum and come up with a victory on the road at 37/20.

Saturday 23 April

8/10 Wolfsburg | 28/10 | Augsburg 31/10 (15:30)

Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking has been the subject of rumours that the club will look for a new boss during the summer, however the sporting executive has confirmed that Hecking’s job is safe. Wolfsburg’s slump in form has seen them collect a mere 13 points in 2016 and Wolves are now without a win in their previous five league matches. Alfred Finnbogason scored for the second week running to gift Augsburg an important 1-0 win over Stuttgart that dragged the club out of the relegation zone and left their opponents at risk of the drop. Wolfsburg are still difficult to beat at home and I’m tipping something to give for Hecking’s charges. Pick up the home win at 8/10.

7/2 Stuttgart | 31/10 | Dortmund 7/10 (15:30)

Stuttgart’s 1-0 loss to Augsburg saw last weekend’s opponents leapfrog them in the standings by goal difference. The loss leaves Stuttgart only two points above the relegation zone and in a miserable rut that has seen them win only once in their past nine matches. Dortmund eased to a 3-0 victory over a Hamburg side that put up little fight. Christian Pulisic became the youngest non-German to score in Bundesliga at the age of 17 as Thomas Tuchel and Dortmund refused to become affected by their extraordinary Europa League loss to Liverpool. The away win should be backed here at a valuable 7/10 all things considered.

9/10 Cologne | 47/20 | Darmstadt 32/10 (15:30)

Cologne all but confirmed that they would be a top flight fixture next season after coming from two goals behind to beat Mainz away from home. Cologne refused to give in after a disappointing first half and the victory sees them six points clear of relegation in 10th. Konstantin Rausch and Sandro Wagner provided the goals as Darmstadt beat fellow promoted side Ingolstadt 2-0 last weekend, virtually ensuring safety. Darmstadt have been fantastic in recent times, unbeaten at the last six times of asking with four draws and two back-to-back wins. The time has probably come for them to slip up. The home win at 9/10 offers good value in this fixture.

6/1 Hertha Berlin | 36/10 | Bayern Munich 4/10 (15:30)

Hertha Berlin dropped out of the top three for the first time this year as they were overcome 2-1 by a resurgent Hoffenheim. The Old Lady are now without a victory in their last three matches and are at risk of throwing away so much of the season’s hard work. Automatic qualification for the Champions League would be a huge achievement for the club, although they would currently be forced into an early season playoff. However, being two points behind Leverkusen means that all is not lost. Bayern Munich haven’t lost to Berlin since February 2009 yet the DFB-Pokal semi-final in midweek and the Champions League semi-final to follow could lead to Pep Guardiola ringing the changes for this one. Hertha Berlin to Win or Draw at 17/10 is the bet to be on here.

17/20 Ingolstadt | 51/20 | Hannover 31/10 (15:30)

Ingolstadt look to have done enough to ensure that they will remain in the Bundesliga next season. Although they succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the weekend, wins over Schalke and Monchengladbach shows that they have what it takes to be competitive in this league. Indeed, lying ninth on the log would surely have exceeded preseason expectations. Hannover, on the other hand, look dead and buried despite their victory over Gladbach last time out. Ten points from safety, this could well be the weekend that ensures Hannover will be plying their trade in 2. Bundesliga next season. Ingolstadt to get up for the win at 17/20 is the tip.

17/10 Schalke | 47/20 | Bayer Leverkusen 31/20 (18:30)

Schalke boss Andre Breitenreiter is another manager whose future is the subject of much speculation. The Royal Blues have failed to claim three points in their last three attempts and although the club is backing their manager, sitting seventh on the table will not be considered good enough for a club of their stature. Yet a run of good form could still change that. Leverkusen moved into third place in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 victory over Frankfurt that perhaps took longer to secure than expected. All of Leverkusen’s goals came in the second half to stretch their unbeaten record to six matches. The away Win/Draw is the tip here at 9/20.

Sunday 24 March

13/20 Monchengladbach | 32/10 | Hoffenheim 15/4 (15:30)

Gladbach are making it increasingly difficult for themselves to qualify for the Champions League after another shock loss last time out saw the club drop out of the top four. The previous week saw Gladbach beaten by Ingolstadt yet this week their defeat to Hannover was even more disappointing. Hoffenheim were once again brilliant since Julian Nagelsmann’s appointment, picking up a 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin last weekend. Hoffenheim have now stretched their unbeaten record to five matches with four wins and one draw. This one has all the makings of another shock result. I’m backing the away win at a whopping 15/4.

7/4 Eintracht Frankfurt | 24/10 | Mainz 15/10 (17:30)

Frankfurt’s top flight future is looking particularly precarious. Four points from safety, a 3-0 loss to Leverkusen last weekend means that Frankfurt have lost four of their last five matches and must be losing hope of beating the drop. Mainz continue to impress in sixth, a place in the Europa League their foremost concern. Although Mainz dominated the first period of their match with Cologne, the club uncharacteristically lost both concentration and the match. I’m expecting them to bounce back with a win on the road at 15/10.

Bundesliga Picks
Werder Bremen WIN 37/20
Wolfsburg WIN 8/10
Dortmund WIN 7/10
Cologne WIN 9/10
Hertha Berlin WIN/DRAW 17/10
Ingolstadt WIN 17/20
Bayer Leverkusen WIN/DRAW 9/20
Hoffenheim WIN 15/4
Mainz WIN 15/10

Written by Rick John Henry