There was some big scoring games in the Bundesliga last weekend, with the current top four clubs amassing 19 goals between them. The excitement continues with a crucial midweek fixture and another full programme this weekend, with so many important issues still to be resolved.
Monchengladbach to win & both teams to score
Freiburg v Borussia Monchengladbach
Freiburg were frustrated to be beaten at home against Leverkusen, although the visitors dominated possession even without creating too many chances. The hosts now face another side challenging for the top four and could find themselves further adrift in their own quest to reach the top six. With a difficult fixture list ahead, it would appear very unlikely they will achieve that in all honesty now. Monchengladbach turned on the style to thump Union Berlin 4-1 on Sunday where Marcus Thuram, son of the famous Lillian who was the most capped French player ever, really caught the eye and bagged a brace. Gladbach will feel they can steal a march on Leverkusen, with that rival facing Bayern Munich, and with so much attacking flair they should enjoy themselves on the road. With 10 of the last 11 Borussia games seeing both teams on the score sheet, there may be value supporting that outcome again.
Bayern Munich to win and both teams to score
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
The champions showed no mercy putting five past beleaguered Fortuna Dusseldorf last week in a dominant display and seem intent on wrapping up the crown as quickly as possible. A trip to Leverkusen represents a tougher challenge, with the hosts having won five of their previous six games. I have been impressed with how Munich have defended and organised themselves during their last two games and they seem to have gone up a level. That is reflected in the short odds they are to win, even away at a top five outfit. Kai Havertz will be keen to impress the watching scouts from Chelsea and Man United and I expect the home team to go down fighting and make life difficult for their illustrious opponents.
Match to be a draw
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hoffenheim
Fortuna may have been well beaten at Munich, but their recent good form prior to this, coupled with rivals at the foot struggling, means they are very much in the race to survive. It’s very tight at the bottom, but Dusseldorf have shown enough recently to suggest they have high hopes of moving clear of the drop zone. A tough fixture list may be their biggest obstacle, but they will look to recapture the momentum gained from an unbeaten run of six games before last week’s loss. Hoffenheim will provide a stern challenge and are only behind sixth placed Wolfsburg on goal difference after back-to-back victories. They have claimed more points on their travels and will feel this represents a good opportunity to stay in the race for a top six finish. This is certainly an intriguing match-up and avoiding defeat would still assist both clubs.
Total match goals between 4 and 6
RB Leipzig v Paderborn
Things look grim for bottom placed Paderborn, who are six points adrift at the foot after a 6-1 home reverse to Dortmund last week which most likely will consign them to relegation, barring an incredible escape. It’s been a difficult season and, with only four victories, they have not picked up enough points to be competitive. They were clinically picked apart last week and a trip to Leipzig offers no respite. The hosts bagged four themselves on the road at Koln and will look to boost their goal differential further with a convincing win here. Timo Werner will be licking his lips in anticipation of adding to his twenty five Bundesliga goals and his team are still hoping to take the runners up position ahead of Dortmund.
Over 3.5 total match goals
Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin
Dortmund will be another popular selection in many weekend accumulators and, having netted six last week, will look to keep the pressure on at the top. Even without the injured Erling Haland, they played some scintillating football with Jadon Sancho helping himself to a hat trick. Hertha are unbeaten in six and have scored in all those matches, which gives plenty more value in the sub markets. With the visitors tough to beat, it’s easy to see why they have climbed to within four points of a top six berth but they will have to improve again to come away with anything in Dortmund. If they do continue that goal scoring form then the 6/4 both teams to score in a home victory will be tasty and this should be an exciting contest.
Schalke to win
Union Berlin v Schalke
Two out-of-form sides meet in the capital, with the hosts desperate for points to stay afloat from the drop zone. They were ripped apart in Gladbach and, with four defeats from their last five outings, are falling quickly. Schalke extended their own winless run to 12 and will be extremely thankful they picked up enough points during the first half of the campaign to keep them in mid table. Surely they must find a win sooner rather than later and this Sunday hands them an ideal opportunity. Their shot stats were awful in a narrow 1-0 loss at home to Bremen last week when they could only muster a sole effort on target and manager David Wagner must be fearing for his job. This may be a final chance to save himself and end the barren run and I expect them to finally enjoy that winning feeling.
Koln Draw No Bet
Augsburg v Koln
This is yet another tricky contest to call between sides in poor form and nearer the bottom than the top. The hosts have recorded just one success in eight, against the hapless Schalke, and know there are plenty of teams just below them ready to pounce. They went down 2-0 in Berlin to Hertha and aside from the three they scored in Schalke, have not been troubling opposition keepers enough. With the threat of relegation looming large, they need to address this soon and visitors Koln are only three points better off. They have yet to taste victory in four outings since coming back although they have scored in each of those games. I envisage a cagey affair and a draw would be no surprise. With Koln more likely to score, they look the safer option to support though.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz
Frankfurt ran out cosy 3-0 winners in Bremen on Wednesday following a dominant second half performance. Austrian forward Stefan Ilsanker came off the bench to bag a brace and this crucial win should ensure top flight football next season. Eintracht now host another team battling to preserve their place in the top section and Mainz will be pleased Frankfurt did them a favour in Bremen and will hope they ease up after moving towards mid table safety. It’s a relative quick turnaround for Frankfurt but, with back-to-back victories and seven points from nine they have suddenly hit form. Mainz were beaten 1-0 at home to improving Hoffenheim last week and, without a victory in five wont travel with any confidence. With arguably more to play for and a longer rest time Mainz need to at least avoid defeat as they wont want to drop into the relegation places and for that reason alone I would rather be with them here.
Wolfsburg to win
Werder Bremen v Wolfsburg
Bremen fluffed their lines big time on Wednesday and a tame 3-0 home defeat against Frankfurt leaves them with an uphill battle to stay up. With or without fans in attendance, Bremen just can’t seem to perform on home soil and they still have only one victory this campaign there so it’s no surprise they remain one place off the bottom. Their lack of confidence was all too evident and, despite matching their opponents for possession and shots, they rarely looked like scoring and remain the sections lowest scorers. Wolfsburg will be keen to retain sixth place and a Europa League spot next season but a roller coaster run of form means they have a fight to preserve that berth. They seem unable to string two positive results together but, as they lost last week, perhaps they will bounce back on Sunday. With little to recommend the hosts, Wolfsburg must have a great chance of taking the three points and I fancy them to prevail.