Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hamburger SV
Dusseldorf have struggled all season and moved into the relegation zone last weekend after being beaten by Bremen 2-1. Hamburg have themselves not found much of a rhythm. Victory over Mainz on Saturday will instill much required confidence in the squad and with an away game at the ESPIRIT Arena to kick off the weekend, Hamburg must be fancying their chances of getting all three points.
After negotiating a difficult start to the season, The Dinosaur have slowly steadied their ship. They will go into the game with Jiracek and Jansen on the sidelines as the pair look to make a swift return to first team action. Dusseldorf’s home form hasn’t been great and the club are struggling to score goals, having netted only 11 times in 12 matches. The early season clean sheets have also evaporated and the lack of chances created have started to hurt them badly. The injury to Schahin isn’t helping their cause one bit as he was the only potent attacking threat. Fortuna will have to deal with his absence against Hamburg as well as he recovers from his ankle.
This game could be a tight affair but might just turn out to be an end to end thriller if Fortuna can take an early lead and Hamburg chase them down. A high scoring draw would be welcome for the home team and neutrals won’t mind that one bit.
Wolfsburg v Werder Bremen
Wolkswagen Arena will be the venue for the clash of two teams who have both collected six out of a possible nine points in the last three games. Wolfsburg have come thick and strong in their last couple of outings beating both Leverkusen and Hoffenheim convincingly. Home form will be key for the Wolfs as they look to get into the top half of the table after surging upto 13th in the last 2 weeks itself.
Bremen lie 7th in the table and beat Fortuna last weekend despite ending the game with 10 men. Lukimya’s sending off wasn’t enough to stop Bremen getting the winner as they looked the livelier side in the contest. As a result Bremen will be without the African international and also Bargfrede who remains on the sidelines for this one. Wolfsburg have their own injury troubles with Pilar and Helmes out with injuries.
Playing at home might just make the Wolfs slight favourites ahead of this clash and they might continue to enjoy their recent successes. Bremen who are very much in contention for an European spot might just go into the game all guns blazing like they did at Fortuna. A win for either side would be surprising, but if any team were to get it, safer money would be on the home side.
Schalke v Eintracht Frankfurt
The game of the weekend in Bundesliga sees the second and third placed teams fight it out in what appears to be a delicious contest. Schalke qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday and go into the game full of confidence as they host 3rd placed Frankfurt. Frankfurt started the season in breathtaking fashion but have cooled down in recent weeks managing just one win in the last 4 games, after beating Augsburg last weekend. Their honeymoon period might be over but they still remain a formidable unit.
Schalke comes into this game having been comprehensively beaten away at Leverkusen, failing to take advantage of Bayern’s slip up earlier in the day. The sending off Papadopolous means the Greek defender will be missing this crucial game. They did beat Olympiakos but the atmosphere in the stadium was quite nervy till Fuchs got his goal. The absence of Hoger and Uchida will be felt and manager Huub Stevens will be looking to avoid the events of last weekend this time round.
Frankfurt will themselves be without Amedick going to the Veltins Arena. This promises to be an excellent game and the fact that Schalke were involved in Europe in midweek might give Frankfurt added belief in Gelsenkirchen. A win for the travelling team looks unlikely and they might have to rely on Aigner and Inui to help them get the goals which seem to be drying up off late. Another draw on the cards? Hope not.
Bayern Munich v Hannover 96
Mirko Slomka takes his Hannover side to Munich as the 6th placed side look to dent table topper’s hopes of maintaining their lead. Bayern will be extremely pleased with the fixtures this weekend as a win for them could give them breathing space in the race for the title considering Schalke and Frankfurt face each other and Dortmund have a tricky trip to Mainz themselves. Having said that this will be no easy task, especially after returning from an energy sapping trip to Valencia.
Gustavo remains out for the Bundesliga leaders while Hannover are without Andreasen for the game on Saturday. The defeat to Gladbach has changed the entire outlook of the Hannover side who have been losing for fun in recent weeks. The defeat against Freiburg means they sit 6th in the table going into the game-week. Attack wise Slomka’s men have been brilliant, scoring goals for fun but their leaky defence means all their god work at the opposite end is not getting the deserved dividends. Bayern could be hungover as they take the field after a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Spain that saw them qualify for the knockout rounds.
Jupp Heyneckes must be dreading the congested fixture list but a win against Hanover with other results going their way may just turn out to be what the doctor ordered. But for the sake of the title race, a draw would be the best possible result.
Mainz v Borussia Dortmund
Winning back to back games for the first time this season Dortmund will fancy their chances against Mainz as they look to mount a strong title challenge after a slow start to the season. Guaranteeing themselves top spot in the Group of Death in the Champions League Klopp’s men will be full of confidence as they shift their attentions to the Bundesliga.
Mainz are 8th in the table and European dreams have already started to take shape. Bungert remains out with a ligament rupture for the home side while Bender has been declared fit for the defending champions. Having traveled to Amsterdam on Wednesday Klopp would be making a fair number of changes. This could be a massive game for both clubs for different reason entirely. Sebastian Kehl remains out with injury as the champions travel to Mainz. With the next game against Fortuna at home, Dortmund would be hoping to gain sufficient momentum before the showdown clash against Bayern in December.
Having lost the last game to Hamburg in a closely fought match, Mainz would be looking to put up a better show against BVB who themselves would be hoping to balance their energies in Europe and domestically. With the good form slowly and steadily catching up with the champions, an away win might be too good to refuse.
Greuther Feurth v Nuremburg
Strugglers meet strugglers in a game that doesn’t promise much for the neutral. Blunt attacks have been the failing for both sides as they have registered only 10 goals each. The defence is what separates the sides on form and in the table with Nuremburg shipping 18 goals in comparison to Feurth’s 23.
Ndoye and Tyrala remain out for the home side who remain winless in 5. Nuremburg have Timo Gebhart out with a suspension while Stephan remains ruled out until December. Last week’s result will give the away side a much needed confidence boost after holding table toppers Bayern to a 1-1 draw. Furth on the other hand can’t buy a win and their defeat to Dortmund was never in doubt. Home form will always be the factor and Furth don’t boast of a good one after 12 weeks of the season.
This might be a bore draw or an exciting end to end battle, but goals is something that will remain at a premium. Nuremburg’s inspiring draw in Munich last weekend might act as the perfect catalyst to give them all 3 points in what would otherwise be a very cagey game.
Freiburg v Stuttgart
The clash of the mid table sides sees Stuttgart travel to Freiburg after beating Gladbach 2-1 on home soil. Stuttgart are 12th in the table and have given a good account of themselves n recent weeks. Freiburg on the other hand have enjoyed a good start to the season which sees them 10th placed and right in the middle of the table. Their performances had been assuring earlier in the season but a run of 3 games where they couldn’t get themselves a win seems to have taken the wind out of their sails which is why last weekend’s win over Hanover was crucial.
Stuttgart have looked good in recent game-weeks losing just one in the last 5, a run that has propelled the club to mid table after starting the season in terrible form. Scoring goals has been a problem and going to Freiburg without Cacau won’t be easy on them. Freiburg are without Ginter for the game on Sunday. Streitch has been doing well with his side and their win against Hanover was brilliantly thought out by the wily old manager.
A win for Freiburg will see them climb another couple of places if other results go their way and that seems a pretty realistic option. Stuttgart have enjoyed a good run but a defeat awaits in this one.
Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen
Rhein Neckar Arena will be welcoming high flying Leverkusen on Sunday evening as the 5th placed side look to continue their upsurge. The home club have been in woeful form lately, a solo win the past 5 means they sit close to the relegation places at 14th.
Bayer Leverkusen on their part have impressed all season. Sami Hyypia the former Liverpool defender has built a side that not only beat Bayern Munich but also seems to be mounting a serious challenge for the Champions League spots. In last weekend’s win over Schalke Bayer looked comfortable and totally deserved all three points. Kadlec would be missing for the away side however while Hoffenheim have injury troubles themselves. Chris and Vukcevic remain sidelined for the 14th placed side.
Ironically Wolfsburg were the last team to beat both the sides in their last two games. Home advantage for Hoffenheim will hardly make much of a difference for Leverkusen as they look to cement a place in the Champions League spots.
FC Augsburg v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Has Markus Weinzierl’s side done anything right this season? Currently buried at the bottom of the pile, Augsburg have managed just a single win all season. Goalsoring seems a completely new concept to them. Although they did manage to score twice against Eintracht Frankfurt last week, the Eagles’ attack proved too hot to handle for Augsburg and they suffered a 4-2 loss.
Gladbach’s roller coaster season just seems to be getting more and more unpredictable with every passing game. In their last Bundesliga game against Stuttgart, the Foals were highly uninspiring in attack and were punished by a Roel Brouwers own goal in. After this disappointing loss, they turned a lot of heads in midweek with a dominant performance against AEL in the Europa League.
Juan Arango hasn’t delivered in the last few weeks so expect some moments of sheer magic from the Venezuelan. Unless Gladbach’s inconsistency and fatigue play a huge role, it is safe to bet on them to take the three points. Augsburg’s downward spiral should continue.