It’s a busy period for many of the Bundesliga’s finest as crucial DFB-Pokal quarter-final fixtures preoccupy contenders during midweek. Most managers concerned would undoubtedly prefer not to have such distractions during such an important part of the season, yet will be yearning after the elusive promise of silverware, a scarce commodity in times dominated by free-spending megaliths. While on the subject, Bayern Munich’s finance director has indicated that the club are not adverse to the idea of spending €100m on a player in the near future. Whatever Guardiola’s heart desires. Munich came away from Der Klassiker unscathed but fans will not be satisfied if they slip up against high-flying Leverkusen in the midweek cup clash, Bundesliga title all but secure.
Friday 10 April
Hannover 96 11/10
Hertha Berlin 26/10
Relegation strugglers Hannover came from two goals down to secure an away draw at Frankfurt in their last outing. Although it eases the pressure somewhat on coach Tayfun Korkut and would’ve felt like a victory, it still leaves Hannover without a win in 2015. Departing captain and in-form Lars Stindl will have a huge part to play in their survival. Hertha Berlin made a decisive step away from the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Paderborn that sees them unbeaten in five matches. They are tipped to win/draw on the Double Chance at 7/10 and ensure Hannover continue to flirt dangerously with the drop.
Saturday 11 April
Borussia Monchengladbach 18/10
Borussia Dortmund 14/10
The Borussen derby kicks off Saturday’s Bundesliga spectacle with the home side coming into this clash confident of avenging their 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture. Gladbach put on something of a show away from home in their 4-1 thrashing of Hoffenheim, Max Kruse influential to the bloated scoreline. Gladbach remain two points clear of Leverkusen in third spot and Champions League football looks firmly on the cards for next season. With Dortmund now almost certain to miss out on the tournament and possibly the Europa League following their dour loss to Bayern Munich, Mats Hummels won’t be the only player keeping his options open and is now linked with a move to Manchester United. Jurgen Klopp was ruffled post-match, venting frustration at the referee, location of interview and questions of Lothar Matthaus. It was Dortmund’s third successive blank at home. Gladbach are tipped to make home advantage count and win/draw on the Double Chance at 11/20.
Mainz 05 24/10
Bayer Leverkusen 11/10
Leverkusen remained on course to qualify for the Champions League next season with a comfortable 4-0 thrashing of Hamburg. Braces from Castro and Kiessling kept Leverkusen’s wonderful form run alive, now consisting of five straight Bundesliga wins without conceding a goal. ‘Keeper Leno has played down speculation of a move to Real Madrid but you cannot help but believe that the young German shot stopper will be attracting some interest in the summer. Mainz will be pleased with their thirteenth draw of the season in their last outing against Werder Bremen, keeping the side abreast of the relegation zone despite only picking up six wins. Mainz haven’t lost in four matches and have proved tough for the bigger sides to break down this season, particularly at home. Leverkusen are in irresistible form one can never underestimate the spoil potential of Mainz. Leverkusen to win/draw on the Double Chance is the tip at 3/10.
Bayern Munich 1/5
Eintracht Frankfurt 12/1
No need for the Double Chance market in this clash. Frankfurt very nearly choked in their match with Hannover and won’t be satisfied with the home draw, especially considering their horrendous form on the road. Alexander Meier has been a shining light for Frankfurt all season, ensuring a place in Europe remains on their to-do list. However, one feels that their European ambitions will come to an end this week. Navigating a injury list that includes Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba, Bayern Munich set up uncharacteristically defensive in Der Klassiker and did just enough to come away with the win. It is a tactic that has worked for many against Dortmund’s overenthusiastic runners but being back at the Allianz Arena should see the Bavarians switch back to all-out attack. Over 3.5 goals at 9/10 provides enough value considering Frankfurt’s ineptitude away from home.
FC Schalke 13/20
Sport-Club Freiburg 4/1
Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke dropped further behind Leverkusen in the race for the Champions League with a goalless draw against Augsburg in their last outing. It was their second deflated performance in a row and recent weeks have done nothing to earn Di Matteo praise. They have underperformed ever since that stunning night in Madrid that saw them exit this year’s Champions League with heads held high. Freiburg earned their third win over Cologne this season with a goal from Mike Frantz. It was also their second victory on the trot and opened up breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone. They’ve put in some plucky performances of late and could really trouble a more fancied but lacklustre Schalke side. Under 2.5 goals at 9/10 should do the trick with both sides struggling to find the net with regularity.
FC Augsburg 5/4
Paderborn’s future in the top flight certainly looks a bleak one. A relatively bright start to the season would’ve had fans and directors over the moon but as the season has wore on, it has become obvious that Paderborn simply cannot compete at this level. This is perfectly articulated by their scoring rate. They’re one of only three sides averaging less than a goal a game and have only put two in the back of the net in eleven Bundesliga matches, which is coincidentally their full tally for 2015. Augsburg’s goalless draw with Schalke only served to make the Champions League dreams of both sides more remote. It was a dour match and Augsburg showed neither quality nor ambition, but they should do enough to ensure victory here and were much better than their opponents in their 3-0 win in the reverse fixture. Back the away win at 5/4 but also consider Augsburg being the only team to score on the Which Team to Score market at 29/10.
Hamburger SV 33/10
It was a debut to forget for new Hamburg manager Peter Knabel as his slide slumped to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen as they simply allowed their opponents to run riot. It leaves Hamburg only seven matches left to find a way to stay in the top flight , three points off safety. Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking expressed disappointment despite running out 3-1 victors against bottom of the log Stuttgart. He was less than pleased with his side’s first half display as they gave away their lead and it was a resurgent Wolfsburg that put the game to bed in the second half. Andre Schurrle opened his Wolves account and with Champions League football virtually a mathematical certainty, only the pursuit of Bayern needs Wolfsburg’s attention. Back them to record the away win at 8/10.
Sunday 12 April
FC Cologne 27/20
1899 Hoffenheim 2/1
Cologne have been far from an exciting football team this season. They have been involved in seven goalless draws and received a taste of their own pragmatic medicine last time out against Freiburg. Their opponents opened the scoring in the first half and then shut up shop to leave Cologne frustrated and without a point. Hoffenheim will be out to avenge their 4-3 home loss in the reverse fixture but confidence will not be high in the camp. They were soundly beaten by Gladbach in their last outing with European ambitions taking a hefty blow. Cologne have proven a really tough side to break down at home. Only one of their past six Bundesliga fixtures at the RheinEnergieStadion has produced three goals, making the under 2.5 goals market the place to turn at 7/10.
VfB Stuttgart 11/10
Werder Bremen 24/10
Stuttgart are in serious trouble. The Swabians are still rooted to the bottom of the table and can now only hope for a miracle to stay in the Bundesliga next season. Well, perhaps not one of biblical proportions. A win here coupled with predicted losses on the part of Hamburg and Paderborn will see Stuttgart in the relegation playoff position (sixteenth). However, it will be a stiff proposition in the face of Werder Bremen side lying comfortably in mid-table. There were chances at both ends in their goalless draw with Mainz but Bremen were simply not good enough to take them. The sale of German U21 striker Davie Selke to the 2. Bundesliga has raised many an eyebrow in the Werder Bremen fraternity. The bookies have Stuttgart as favourites and it can only be due to Bremen’s continued inconsistency. Both sides have been lacklustre in recent weeks and I’m tipping Both Teams to Score - No - at 11/10.