TSG Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund
It was only back in 2008 that Julian Nagelsmann was playing under Thomas Tuchel for Augsburg’s second team. Wind forward to the present day and Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim are perched a point above Tuchel’s Dortmund in the Bundesliga table. What’s more, Nagelsmann’s side are the only unbeaten team left in the division this season after they managed to escape Frankfurt with a point last Friday.
It was a similar story for Dortmund in Cologne where Marco Reus salvaged a draw after a disappointing display. Tuchel has talked a lot recently about wanting to have a full week to work with his team on the training pitch. He’s had that luxury this week but he’s still missing 10 first team players for the trip to Hoffenheim. Sure, the likes of Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be fit but Dortmund’s shaky away form makes a Hoffenheim win or draw well priced at 2.02.
Schalke 04 v SC Freiburg
Schalke ended up pointless last Sunday but they were valiant in their defeat to Leverkusen. Naldo was sent off just four minutes in but that didn’t stop Markus Weinzierl’s side creating the better chances despite having ten men. It means Naldo is out suspended for Freiburg’s visit.
The away side can catch opponents cold if they’re not at their best. Last Saturday’s fortuitous victory over Darmstadt showed though that they’re probably better suited to being the underdog. This will be a tricky game for Schalke to negotiate but you’d just about back them to win at 1.65.
1. FSV Mainz 05 v Hamburg SV
Things are starting to look up for Hamburg. Victory against Augsburg saw them string together back-to-back victories and extend their unbeaten run to four games in the Bundesliga. Mainz currently dwell in mid-table after three straight defeats. The last of them came at Gladbach last Sunday but Mainz were unfortunate not to claim a point after having a last minute goal incorrectly ruled offside.
They won’t face former midfielder Lewis Holtby who was sent off in Hamburg’s win over Augsburg. Emir Spahic will come in at centre back for the suspended Johan Djourou. Mainz are able to call upon striker Jhon Cordoba once again and expect his return to make a telling difference too, with the home side to win at 2.00.
FC Augsburg v Borussia Mönchengladbach
It was more than a little surprising to see Augsburg sack coach Dirk Schuster on Tuesday. The club sit 13th in the table – very much on par for where they should be finishing given their budget. However, sporting director Stefan Reuter said the club had not been convinced by Schuster’s style of play (which in truth was not all that easy on the eye).
Up steps Manuel Baum from the academy to be the interim coach until the winter break. His first task is facing a Gladbach side who ended an eight-game winless run in the league last weekend, though they were far from convincing against Mainz. Gladbach haven’t won any of their five trips to Augsburg in the Bundesliga and given how bad they’ve been under Andre Schubert away from home, it’s safest to back a draw at 3.20.
SV Werder Bremen v 1. FC Köln
Bremen caused one of the biggest surprises last weekend as they successfully nullified a Hertha side which had won all their previous home games this season. The link up between attacking trio of Max Kruse, Claudio Pizarro and Serge Gnabry was particularly encouraging for Werder fans but following up that performance up against Cologne won’t be easy. Amidst an injury crisis, Peter Stöger’s side were excellent against Borussia Dortmund but missed chances cost them. They’re unlikely to play all that openly in Bremen, so expect a low-scoring affair with under 2.5 goals at 2.10.
RB Leipzig v Hertha BSC
With centre back John Anthony Brooks out injured, 19-year-old Jordan Torunarigha has been training with the first team squad ahead of Hertha’s trip to Leipzig. It could be quite the baptism for Torunarigha.
Leipzig were knocked off top spot after defeat to Ingolstadt – by far their worst performance of the season so far. However, Hertha’s display in their defeat to Werder was surprisingly poor too. Both Ralph Hasenhüttl and Pal Dardai will demand reactions from their sides – just expect for Leipzig’s to be a little stronger with a home win at 1.60.
VfL Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg are only being kept out of the bottom three currently by a superior goal difference to Hamburg. They were feeble in their 5-0 defeat at Bayern Munich last Saturday. It wasn’t a great shock to see sporting director Klaus Allofs leave on Monday as the crisis at the club deepened. They could probably do without Frankfurt rocking up at the VW Arena this weekend. Niko Kovac’s side are one of the toughest teams in the division to beat. It will take a mammoth improvement from the hosts if they are to overcome Frankfurt. That’s difficult to foresee at present, so back an away win at 2.90.
SV Darmstadt v Bayern Munich
There was good news for Bayern Munich this week as Robert Lewandowski extended his contract with the champions until 2021. He was on target twice against Wolfsburg last weekend and he’s likely to lead the line again away to Darmstadt. The Lilies sunk to the bottom of the division for the first time this season after defeat to Freiburg. Still, interim coach Ramon Berndroth coaxed a good performance out of his charges who did everything but score in the Black Forest. Bayern though have been starting to find their groove under Carlo Ancelotti, in the Bundesliga at least. Back over 3.5 goals in this one at 2.14, with Bayern getting most of them.
Bayer Leverkusen v FC Ingolstadt
Schalke is a difficult place to win but Leverkusen made their victory look laboured to say the least, considering they had a one-man advantage for 86 minutes. Ingolstadt may be in the relegation zone but they played to their potential against previous league leaders Leipzig. Maik Walpurgis deserves some credit for that win, particularly for his decision to drop Roger into central defence to form a back three. Leverkusen’s style of play isn’t far removed from Leipzig’s meaning that Ingolstadt could cause Roger Schmidt’s side some problems this weekend. Back both teams to score at 1.88.