Bundesliga Week 23 Preview

Written by Rick John Henry for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

It would hardly be fair to refer to Bayern as a German steam train, chugging its way merrily through the Bavarian countryside. Mighty Munich are a swift and merciless adversary, scoring freely in contemptuous fashion. Their 6-0 destruction of Paderborn was yet another example of the gulf in quality between Munich and those wallowing in the lower regions of the Bundesliga. Of course, Bayern remain eight points clear at the top with Wolfsburg the nearest threat. Wolves have pulled ten points clear of their nearest rivals. Meanwhile, Augsburg’s fairytale season continues as Die Fuggerstädter look set for their best ever Bundesliga finish.

Bayern Munich 1/11
Draw 82/10
Cologne 25/1

The hulking figure of Bayern Munich looms large for an unexceptional Cologne side. Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben both bagged braces in Munich’s annihilation of Paderborn, the latter now topping the Bundesliga scoring charts with sixteen goals. Munich have netted fourteen times in two league matches, not conceding a single goal. They also kept a clean sheet against a negative Shakhtar Donetsk side in the Champions League. Cologne have found goals hard to come by at the best of times and are at risk of relegation unless they improve their performances - they haven’t won a match all month. Look to try and up the value in this fixture and use the Matchbet + Both Teams to Score market to boost Bayern to 9/20 to win without conceding a goal.

Hannover 96  11/10
Draw  24/10
VfB Stuttgart  23/10

Hannover are without a win in six matches but will be hoping that Stuttgart present an opportunity to pick up three points. Hannover will probably end up happy settling for last week’s draw with Cologne if it can galvanise them towards victory here. Stuttgart remain rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table and another bleak loss at the weekend makes their future look a grim one. They were lucky to grab a couple of goals in a match in which they were thoroughly outclassed by Dortmund. Both sides are struggling at present but one must feel that with home ground advantage, Hannover have the edge. Nevertheless, be cautious and take Hannover to win or draw on the Double Chance at 7/20. 

Borussia Dortmund  9/20
Draw  36/10
FC Schalke  57/10

Marco Reus has announced his commitment to Dortmund until 2019, good news for the club as they continue their quest to the top half of the Bundesliga table. The German has scored in all three of Dortmund’s consecutive wins that has propelled them from bottom to mid-table. They came away comfortable winners at Stuttgart despite the 3-2 scoreline and will look to build on that performance against a Schalke side priced up as rank outsiders. Schalke shared the points with Werder Bremen last weekend, denied three points by an injury-time equaliser that added to the fans’ Champions League disappointment. Still, Bremen had previously been on a five-game winning streak and Schalke need a result lest they begin to feel Europe slowly slipping away. Instead of pick a result here I prefer Both Teams to Score at 8/10, especially given Dortmund’s leaky defence of late. 

Bayer Leverkusen  7/20
Draw  4/1
Sport-Club Freiburg  15/2

Leverkusen will be cursing their complacency, letting a late goal from an advanced Augsburg ‘keeper deny them all three points. They are now sixth on the table, without a win in three matches, and have considerable work to do to make sure that they book a place in the Champions League next season. Freiburg joined most of the Bundesliga in drawing last weekend against Hoffenheim, seemingly unable to break away from the bottom three. They were dominated in the second half of that match and shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Leverkusen. Back the home side to win at 7/20. 

1899 Hoffenheim  19/20
Draw  26/10
Mainz 05  27/10

Kevin Volland’s thirty yard scorcher ensured a point for Hoffenheim in a match in which they would’ve hoped for a better result. They nevertheless keep their spot in seventh on the Bundesliga standings but have battled for form since the turn of season. These two sides drew 0-0 in a dour affair in the reverse fixture, Mainz keeping intact a proud record against Hoffenheim. They haven’t lost to the home side since 2011 and are coming off an inspired 3-1 home win against Frankfurt in coach Martin Schmidt’s first match in charge. I fancy Mainz to win or draw on the Double Chance at a fair 8/10. 

Hertha Berlin  18/10
Draw  9/4
FC Augsburg  15/10

Berlin were dominated by an in-form Wolfsburg side at the weekend, the 2-1 scoreline flattering the men from the German capital. They scored a clinical goal going forward but spent the majority of the match pinned back in their own half. Hertha Berlin are in big trouble in seventeenth place and their head-to-head record against Augsburg doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz’s last gasp equaliser at home against Leverkusen kept his side’s hopes of Champions League football alive, now equal on points with Schalke in fourth. He was the first ‘keeper to score a goal from open play in the Bundesliga since 2002, thirteen years ago. Augsburg haven’t picked up a win in their last three matches but have shown a lot of heart in recent weeks against tough opposition. They are tipped to break their winless run here at a valuable 15/10. 

Eintracht Frankfurt  1/1
Draw  26/10
Hamburger SV  5/2

Frankfurt slumped to an insipid loss despite scoring first against Mainz, a side that seems to trouble them from season to season. Lying in mid-table and not carrying much momentum, Frankfurt’s position in the Bundesliga could go either way. They are firmly entrenched in the middle of the table and can only hope to stay there if they sort out their discipline. Carlos Zambrano was sent off in the derby fever among a slew of other yellow cards in the final thirty minutes. Hamburg will be pleased to have put their embarrassment at the hands of Bayern Munich behind them, coming close to beating Gladbach on the counter-attack if not for an injury-time Hrgota goal. They are, however, still relegation threatened and Frankfurt will feel that they have the talent at their disposal to push Hamburg to the limit. Back Frankfurt to come good at even money. 

Borussia Monchengladbach  6/10
Draw  31/10
Paderborn  9/2

It seemed a tired performance as Gladbach needed stoppage time to grab a point against Hamburg following Europa League exertions. They face Sevilla again in mid-week in the attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit. Last weekend Gladbach did manage to break a string of 1-0 results but didn’t promise to entertain any more so than recent weeks. Paderborn were mauled by Munich and face another stiff test here. They can take heart from Gladbach’s stodgy approach to scoring goals but shouldn’t put up much of a fight of their own. Under 2.5 goals in still good value until Gladbach start scoring regularly and is valuable at 19/20. 

Werder Bremen  26/10
Draw  28/10
Wolfsburg  19/20

Werder Bremen’s five-match winning streak was ended last weekend but they did manage to rally to grab a point with a late Prodl goal that showed their mettle under their new coach. The point will do; Bremen had an awful start to the season but now find themselves safe from relegation. They will push Wolfsburg, who haven’t been as convincing lately as they were against Bayern Munich, but will be unsettled by a head-to-head record that shows four consecutive losses to Wolves. Bas Dost’s double continued his sensational form and propelled Wolfsburg to victory last time out. The Dutchman netted only twice in the first half of the season but now has ten strikes in six appearances. The crucial element to Wolfsburg, aside from their array of talent, is their ability to win even when not at their best. I’m backing them to do just that at 19/20.

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