Mainz vs Nurnberg
Bundesliga round 11 kicks off late on Friday with Mainz welcoming the Past Masters from Bavaria. Currently sitting 14th with eleven points in their bag, Nurnberg will look to improve upon their performance last week which saw them take three points against Wolfsburg. However, they will have to do so without the services of club captain and keeper, Raphael Schäfer and midfielders Adam Hloušek and Almog Cohen who are all sidelined with injury and the suspended Javier Pinola.
Mainz haven’t exactly set the league on fire with their performances but see themselves sitting pretty at 8th equal on points with sixth placed Hannover and seventh placed Bremen. They will come into the game knowing that a good win against the visitors will prop them up the table considering both Hannover and Bremen have tough games in hand over the weekend. The O-Fives are still without the injured forward duos of Ivan Klasnić and Choupo-Moting but with Striker Ádám Szalai hitting a purple patch scoring five times in his last three outings, Thomas Tuchel will be quite content with his goal scoring department.
Mainz have won three straight home games and visitors have generally found it difficult to score at the Coface Arena. Expect Mainz to take all three points.
Schalke vs Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen make their trip south to Gelsenkirchen carrying along some embarrassing memories. Spanish legend Raul had taken a special liking to the men in green and white scoring two hatricks in a 5-0 and 4-0 mauling of Bremen in their previous two visits to the Veltins-Arena. The legend has of course left the Royal Blues this season, but the baton now lies with the trio of Huntelaar, Farfan and Afellay who have tormented defenses over the last few weeks. Their midweek come back against Arsenal in the Champions League displayed to the footballing world the confidence and willingness in the squad to fight it out and they will be looking to carry out the same against their visitors. Schalke’s slip up last week puts them seven points behind leaders Bayern and they will be keen to make up ground. The hosts were dealt injury blows in the form of defender Uchida and midfielder Hoeger who will join long term resident Metzelder on the treatment table.
Midfielder Aycicek is the latest casualty to join skipper Fritz and midfielder Stevanović to the injury list, but Bremen go into the game with no major injury concerns. Attackers Aaron Hunt, Kevin De Bruyne, Arnautović and Peterson have been in good form this season and will look to avoid a third consecutive defeat at the Veltins-Arena and keep up their recently gained momentum.
Expect a tight game at the Veltins-Arena with the home team edging out the visitors.
Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Franfurt have taken the Bundeliga by storm this season with their brand of attacking and attractive football. Their disappointing draw against Greuther Fürth last week sees them occupy third place level on points with Schalke. This week they face a daunting task of overcoming a rampant Bayern Munich. Bayern have been in blistering form this season scoring goals at will. Their 3-0 victory over Hamburg on match day 10 was followed by the trouncing of Lille by 6-1 at the Allianz Arena. Manager Jupp Heynckes described his side’s victory as a ‘clockwork’ performance with Bayern’s midfield trio of Schweinstiger, Martinez and Kroos running the show on the pitch. Bayern are still without the injured defensive duo of van Buyten and Badstuber while Gomez hasn’t fully recovered. Midweek hatrick hero Claudio Pizarro could get the nod ahead of Mario Mandzukic with Ribery and Robben manning the flanks.
Franfurt’s last trip to the Allianz Arena two Novembers back was not a happy one with the hosts running out 4-1 winners with midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk helping himself to a brace. Alexander Meier and Sebastian Rode have been instrumental in bossing the midfield for the visitors and they will be looking to disrupt the flow for Bayern come Saturday. Armin Veh’s major concern will be that of the injuries to key players in defenders Carlos Zambrano and Martin Amedick.
Eintracht Frankfurt have been quite impressive this season with their attacking style of play, but expect Bayern to run out easy winners at the Allianz. Bayern might come out as winners, but an electrifying game is on cards at the Allianz Arena.
Freiburg vs Hamburg
Hamburg crashed to a humiliating loss to rivals Bayern on match day 10 that halted their otherwise impressive climb to the top half of the league. This week they face another team from the south in the form of Christian Streich’s Frieburg.
The hosts come into the game in fine form having picked up 10 points in their last five games. Match day 10 saw them grind out an impressive draw against Gladbach with Daniel Caligiuri netting his fourth goal of the season. The hosts will be without the services of Immanuel Höhn and recovering Jan Rosenthal. Young Serbian centre-back Slobodan Rajkovic is the latest to hit the treatment table for Hamburg while midfielders Christian Norgaard and Petr Jiracek have been on the table for some time.
Hamburg should win but won’t have it easy while doing so. Of course if they repeat their horror defensive performance of last week, Frieburg could scrap out points.
Augsburg vs Borussia Dortmund
Augsburg will need the same grit and focus they displayed in their hard fought draw against Dortmund in March this year. The game ended in a 0-0 draw and Augsburg were much lauded for their defensive performance in that game. A similar display would please the SGL Arena while also hoping the team finds their scoring boots soon. Augsburg sit bottom of the league with just 6 points from 10 games and scoring only 5 goals in the process. They come into the game with some serious injury concerns. Club captain and defender Paul Verhaegh is sidelined and so is experienced right back Dominik Reinhardt. Winger Dawda Bah and striker Sio are also ruled out of the game.
Dortmund on the other hand will be looking for a big win that would take them close to table toppers Bayern after a disappointing draw against Stuttgart which sees the champions 11 points from the top. Morale and confidence will be on the high though at the BVB camp after an excellent showing at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in the Champions league.
Marco Reus and Mario Gotze finally seemed to have formed an understanding up front and Klopp will also have the fit defensive pairing of Subotic and Hummels to stop the leaking of goals. Skipper Sebastian Kehl might get a breather after being forced to play in a mask against Madrid and winger Kuba hasn’t recovered from his injury yet while Marcel Schmelzer might also get a rest after playing with a bruised toe against Madrid. Bender should start having recovered from injury and after coming on as a second half substitute against Madrid.
Augsburg have been facing plenty of problems this season and the lack of creativity and goals upfront is hurting them the most. Injuries to key defenders will not lessen their issues and expect Dortmund to hammer a woeful Augsburg.
F. Düsseldorf vs Hoffenheim
A battle at the lower half of the table, Hoffenheim pulled off an incredible victory against Schalke last week with an injury time winner. The victory saw Hoffenheim move up to 13th place, two places above Fortuna who lost to Bayer Leverkusen.
Fortuna’s story in the top flight has been an intriguing one so far. From not having conceded a single goal in their first 5 games, Fortuna have gone on to concede 15 in as many and losing their last 4 league games. Their loss on match day 10 sees them placed 15th and Norbert Meier will hope his boys pick up their game at home this week. The hosts will have to make do without their key defensive duo of Stelios Malezas and Bruno Soares whereas midfielder Oliver Fink is suspended.
Hoffenheim have their own defensive issues having conceded the most in the league so far and the injuries to Chris and Jaissle haven’t helped. Midfielders Salihovic and Vukcevic still remain unavailable.
Fortuna should hold good at home to earn out a draw.
VfL Wolfsburg vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Bundesliga’s current inform team Leverkusen have risen quickly up the table to 4th spot. An impressive win against Bayern on match day 9 was followed by another one against Fortuna last time around. Winger Sidney Sam has been in scintillating form over the last few weeks and striker Stefan Kießling has found his scoring touch again. He will however miss his fellow attacker Karim Bellarabi who has been sidelined with injury. Leverkusen’s full backs, Castro and ex-Real youth player Carvajal have been instrumental in Leverkusen’s form, galloping forward during attacks and ably assisting centre-backs Wollscheid, Toprak and Friedrich in defense. Young goalkeeper and Bayer’s star on match day 9, Bernd Leno has also been ruled out due to injury.
Wolfsburg have been in woeful form during and post Felix Magath this season. Currently placed 16th, the hosts have scored just 7 goals conceding 17 at their end. Their defensive problems have risen largely due to the failure of Emanuel Pogatetz and Naldo at the center of the defense. Ivica Olic and Bas Dost upfront have not been lethal as yet and the creative department in Brazilian trio of Diego, Josue and Fagner have failed to get things clicking so far.
Expect Leverkusen to pile more misery on the already struggling hosts.
VfB Stuttgart vs Hannover 96
Bruno Labbadia’s men have picked themselves up well after a disastrous start to the season. Last week’s well deserved draw against champions Dortmund saw them occupy the 10th spot, a mere point behind 6th placed Hannover. The visitors on the other hand ended their bad run with a good win over Augsburg. Victory inspired by striker Diouf and midfielder Huszti yesterday in the Europa League against Helsingborgs should further boost Hannover’s confidence. Stuttgart on the other hand did their confidence no harm with a convincing victory over Copenhagen yesterday.
Hannover will be without their inspiring midfielder Sergio Pinto whereas Stuttgart are missing long term causalities Cacau, Hoogland and Mamadou Bah.
An intriguing mid-table battle beckons in the Bundeliga this Sunday between two teams who are looking to gain the upper hand in the fight for a European place. It will be a tight game with points evenly shared.
Greuther Fürth vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
The Bavarian based outfit will look to spoil the party again this time when hosting Gladbach on Sunday. A credible draw against a strong Frankfurt team last week sees them placed just above Augsburg but Fürth know they will need a more improved performance against Mönchengladbach to climb out of the relegation zone.
Gladbach on the other hand have slipped up in recent weeks after a promising start to the season. They will be travelling without their inform striker De Jong after he picked up a knock couple of weeks back. Midfielder Amin Younes will also be unavailable.
Gladbach are likely to take all three points from this fixture.
Games to watch out for
- Schalke vs Werder Bremen
- Stuttgart vs Hannover
- Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt