This coming weekend could well see the crowning of Bayern Munich as Bundesliga champions for the third year running. Three points at home against Hertha Berlin is all that is required after last weekend’s workmanlike win at Hoffenheim stretched their gap at the top of the table to twelve points. Wolfsburg’s late equaliser rescued a point and their Champions League status for next season is secure. One feels they’ll only need to avoid a player exodus in the summer to challenge for top honours next season. Pep Guardiola has pledged that he’ll be at the helm of Munich, while Thomas Tuchel has been named to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund. Hannover gave manager Tayfun Korkut the boot but the poor soul tasked with keeping them in the top flight this season has a tricky month ahead.
Friday 24 April
Mainz somehow managed to come away 3-2 winners on their visit to a Freiburg side who simply would not lie down. Mainz picked up the three points largely against the run of play as Freiburg launched a seemingly endless array of attacks. The win - to go along with thirteen draws this season - sees Mainz in eleventh and barring any major mishaps, should keep them in the Bundesliga. Leroy Sane’s wonderful run ensured Schalke a draw with Wolfsburg despite coming under pressure for most of the match. Schalke are confident that they can convince the youngster to extend his contract past 2017. They’re certainly out of the running for a spot in the Champions League but took an important step to ensuring that they stay in European competition. This is a tough one to call but Schalke certainly aren’t involved in many goal-fests. Take Under 2.5 goals at 8/10.
Saturday 25 April
Borussia Dortmund 3/10
Eintracht Frankfurt 72/10
Jurgen Klopp is determined to leave Dortmund on a high and qualifying for the Europa League is his best chance at doing that. It was one step closer for the struggling giants as they disposed of Paderborn 3-0 last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in scintillating form. Their improved form only took root in the second half and they’ll be intent of upping the intensity this week. Frankfurt spurned far too many chances to settle for a goalless draw with Gladbach in a match in which they should have claimed the three points. Missed opportunities home and away sees them in tenth with not much left to play for. Get on Dortmund for the win at 3/10.
Bayer Leverkusen 15/20
Cologne played out a tame goalless draw with Hertha Berlin and it was evident that all either side sought was another point to guarantee safety. With sides below them losing in earlier matches, the draw left Cologne seven points clear of the drop zone with five matches remaining. They sparred with Berlin but never looked like taking decisive action to change the scoreline. Leverkusen moved into third place thanks to a convincing 4-0 victory over struggling Hannover. The performance took Bayer above Gladbach on goal difference and it seems that little can stop Leverkusen taking up their place in the Champions League next season. It was a club record seventh Bundesliga win in a row, the most impressive stat being the fact that they’ve only conceded two goals in those fixtures, none coming from open play. Leverkusen to win at 15/20 is a gift.
Freiburg almost staged a miraculous comeback in their home fixture with Mainz but were ultimately made to pay for their over exuberance on attack. They waited until the 81st minute to have something to show for their devil-may-care attitude but conceded two minutes later, making Jonathan Schmid’s 91st minute strike a mere consolation. Home side Stuttgart lost 2-1 away at Augsburg in their last outing, failing to build on the feel-good factor created by their previous enthralling victory. It leaves the Swabians in the bottom two with only five matches left to turn things around. Something tells me Stuttgart have what it takes to come away with the three points at 17/20.
Hamburger SV 31/20
Augsburg solidified their claim for a place in the Europa League with an unconvincing 2-1 win over Stuttgart. Augsburg were in the ascendency for much of first half before their opponents found their way into the game, but regained their advantage against the run of play with fifteen minutes remaining. Bruno Labbadia’s first game in charge of his second stint at Hamburg began poorly with a 1-0 defeat in the northern Germany derby with Werder Bremen. Considering that Hamburg prop up the rest of the division, they would have been delighted with a draw. However, Behrami hauled Junuzovic to the ground inside the penalty area, earning a straight red card and giving away a penalty to resign Hamburg to their fifth consecutive loss. Augsburg’s recent record is fairly abysmal and they’ve lost their last four on the road. With both priced fairly evenly one has to side with Augsburg being the better of two this season, but take the Double Chance at 9/20 in the event of a draw.
Hannover’s 4-0 thumping at the hands of Leverkusen at the weekend was the last straw for ex-manager Tayfun Korkut. The side have failed to win since mid-December and their top flight status is hanging by a thread, a mere two points above the drop zone. Hoffenheim’s meeting with a largely second-string Bayern Munich resulted in a 2-0 loss and played out at the pace of a preseason friendly. Hoffenheim have little to concern them as they sit comfortably in mid-table but a few three-pointers could still see them in the running for a spot in the Europa League. Back Hoffenheim to heap more pressure on struggling Hannover and grab the away win at 18/10.
Bayern Munich 1/6
Hertha Berlin 18/1
Hertha Berlin’s negative point at home in a match where they were happy to relinquish possession sees them seven points clear of relegation. After spending some time near the bottom of the table this season, the Old Lady will be pleased that Bundesliga football likely remains on next season’s agenda. Bayern Munich eased to victory against Hoffenheim with a largely depleted squad following a turbulent week that saw them defeated 3-1 in the Champions League at Porto and lose the services of their world-renowned, 38-year doctor and medical team. Irrespective of the result in midweek, Bayern should have no trouble running out victors on the halftime-fulltime double at 5/10.
Sunday 26 April
Werder Bremen 31/20
The East Westphalians needed points in their bid for survival this season but fell short against a well oiled Dortmund side last week. Paderborn drew yet another blank and have failed to hit the target in a staggering eleven of their last thirteen Bundesliga fixtures.Franco Di Santo’s late penalty ensured that Werder Bremen fans left happy after a goalless draw with Hamburg looked likely. It was a tense and competitive derby which lifted Werder Bremen to seventh on the log, four points shy of a shot in the Europa League. Werder Bremen have been inconsistent at the best of times this season but are tipped to come away with the win at 31/20.
Borussia Monchengladbach 27/20
Wolfsburg largely dominated their tie with Schalke but could only come away with a draw to show for the plethora of chances created. Kevin De Bruyne was at the heart of everything and scored his tenth Bundesliga goal to nab Wolves a point following an horrendous 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Fiorentina in the Europa League. Gladbach now share third-spot, level on points with Leverkusen but behind on goal difference after they were lucky to leave with a 0-0 draw against Frankfurt last weekend. An ugly point is still a point and it leaves Gladbach undefeated in nine Bundesliga fixtures. This game is going to be close and I’d opt for Over 2.5 goals at 15/20 in a match that could go either way.