While Dortmund and Schalke remain in pursuit of the German steam train, that is Bayern Munich, hopes of stopping the champions must be low at best. Despite a lacklustre performance away at Werder Bremen, Thomas Muller's first half goal was enough to secure the three points. The biggest clash of the weekend sees Gladbach host Schalke on Sunday following their 5-1 thumping of Frankfurt last gameweek.
FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER
Hoffenheim responded well after falling two goals behind to a rampant Wolfsburg, however, they could not contain the Bundesliga giants as Max Kruse netted a hat trick. Hoffenheim are currently wallowing in the relegation zone with only six points to show from their nine fixtures thus far. Hamburg earned a point from a hard-fought goalless draw with Leverkusen but will be hoping for more quality in front of goal in this away outing. It's difficult to pick a winner between these two but Under 2.5 Goals at 11/10 should prove profitable.
SATURDAY 24 OCTOBER
Promoted Darmstadt, disposed of Augsburg last weekend and sent the Bavarian side to the bottom of the table. Conversely, the 2-0 win moved Darmstadt into ninth with three wins so far this campaign. Few would've predicted the ease with which Darmstadt have adjusted to life in the Bundesliga. Max Kruse's aforementioned treble helped Wolfsburg to a 4-2 victory last time out, with Bas Dost the other goal contributor. Wolves have clawed their way into the top four and will look to continue in the same vein. However, Darmstadt have proved difficult to break down all season, especially at home. The draw is tipped at 26/10.
Eintracht Frankfurt 18/10
Hannover have managed to arrest their form slide by picking up two wins on the trot. Both victories, over Werder Bremen and Cologne respectively, were tight encounters that Hannover edged by a 1-0 scoreline. Hannover will be looking to build on this when they host a Frankfurt side in shambles. Frankfurt are without a win in five straight matches and were thrashed 5-1 by Gladbach last weekend. It will be a difficult trip for notoriously poor travellers. Back Hannover to come away with the spoils at an alluring 14/10.
Bayern Munich 1/11
It’s becoming difficult to come up with new superlatives to describe Bayern Munich’s ascendancy in this league. Their 1-0 win over Werder Bremen was the ninth on the trot and set a new record for a start to a Bundesliga season. Of first concern to Munich, will be their midweek trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal and whether this will impact their performance at home this weekend remains to be seen. In Cologne, they face a side that has made a bright start to the campaign themselves, picking up four wins and two draws from their nine matches. Yet one must feel that Munich could put out a depleted side and still come away with a resounding three points. Munich on the halftime-fulltime double at 7/20 offers enough value for me, considering their imminent Champions League exertions.
Bayer Leverkusen 6/10
Although Leverkusen are unbeaten in four Bundesliga match-ups, their goalless draw with Hamburg on the road saw them lose further ground on the top four. Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler was outstanding between the sticks, denying the likes of Javier Hernandez on countless occasions, to keep his side in the game. A draw with bottom-of-the-table Augsburg the week before sees Leverkusen stuttering in seventh-place, and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways against a Stuttgart side that has somehow managed to extricate themselves from the relegation zone on the basis of goals scored. Stuttgart beat Ingolstadt 1-0 last week for only their second win of the season. Leverkusen hosts Roma midweek but I don’t believe it will stop them from picking up the win here. Back the home side at 6/10.
Werder Bremen 26/10
Mainz have struggled for consistency and one never quite knows which side will turn up in any given gameweek. Four wins and five losses sees them mid-table with twelve points and they’re coming off a 2-0 loss to Dortmund that could’ve been avoided. Dortmund took advantage of two defensive mistakes to punish Mainz, aside from missing a generously awarded penalty. Werder Bremen have only two victories to their name and although they escaped a thrashing at the hands of Munich last week, they still registered their fifth loss in a row. Viktor Skripnik has received a vote of confidence from the Werder Bremen board but surely patience will be running thin. A loss here could see that confidence quickly diminished. Mainz are due a draw and Bremen due a point, so back the stalemate at 26/10.
Hertha Berlin 2/1
Ingolstadt’s home jubilations were short-lived as they fell to a 1-0 loss to Stuttgart last week. Nevertheless, the Bundesliga new boys occupy eighth-place following some fantastic form on the road previously. Four wins and two draws sees Ingolstadt on fourteen points, level with Hertha Berlin, Cologne and Leverkusen. This weekend presents an opportunity to grant their home faithful more reason for joy and leapfrog their opponents. Berlin were beaten 2-1 on their visit to Schalke and although they left with nothing, it was a spirited performance nonetheless. They conceded in the dying moments having played the majority of the match with ten men. Ingolstadt’s home form has been slightly disappointing considering their exploits away and I’m tipping Hertha Berlin to grab the three points at 2/1.
SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER
Dortmund finally returned to winning ways following a string of poor results in the Bundesliga, which has seen them slip seven points behind Bayern Munich. Given that they were routed 5-1 by the German champions two weeks ago, Dortmund were in desperate need of a confidence boost. Although their 2-0 win over Mainz didn’t exactly provide a blueprint for future success, ‘winning ugly’ is required during a form slump. Their fans will be looking to Aubameyang & Co to provide a resounding victory when they host Augsburg on Sunday. Augsburg have been woeful this season, an indication that the exertions of the Europa League are a step too far for the club. They’ve secured only a solitary victory all season and lost 2-0 at home to Darmstadt last time out. Opt for the Matchbet + Totals market, with a home win and Over 3.5 Goals at even money.
Following a disastrous start to the season, Gladbach seem to be back on track. A 5-1 thumping of Frankfurt away from home will fill the side with confidence ahead of a clash with third-placed Schalke. Caretaker coach, Andre Schubert, has made it four wins out of four after Gladbach had slumped to defeats in all five of their opening exchanges. Clearly he has been able to instil the belief that saw the side finish third last season and qualify for the Champions League. European football will certainly be the goal for Schalke manager Andre Breitenreiter. Schalke have made a bright start to the season, picking up six wins. Their 3-0 loss to Cologne two weeks back is their only blip in their last five matches in all competitions. Gladbach won this fixture 4-1 last season but I believe this will be a much closer affair. Both Teams to Score looks the safe bet at 11/20.