Of course, Germany’s trip to Paris was the major talking point of the international break for all of the wrong reasons. Football was discarded as terror reigned in the French capital. Despite being understandably shaken, the national side’s friendly with the Netherlands will go ahead as planned on Tuesday in a signal that Europe’s footballing fraternity will not “be intimidated by terror”. The Bundesliga will also resume this coming weekend and can hopefully provide a brief but necessary distraction to such senselessness and indecency.
Friday 20 November
Borussia Dortmund 3/10
Hamburg have struggled to find any kind of momentum since the start of the season and have picked up only one win over the past month. They’ve lost twice and drawn twice in their last five matches and despite lying eleventh on the table, are a mere five points from the drop zone. The middle of the table is rather congested and the next month will likely make or break Hamburg’s campaign. Get on a winning streak and spend the Ruckrunde consolidating. Miss points and the second part of the season will be about damage control. Dortmund extended their winning streak in all competitions to seven matches with an exciting 3-2 win over rivals Schalke in the Revierderby. Aubameyang racked up his fourteenth Bundesliga goal this season and is currently one of the world’s form strikers. One has to believe Dortmund can continue their success against Hamburg and I’m tipping BVB on the Halftime-Fulltime Double at 8/10.
Saturday 21 November
Werder Bremen 4/1
Woeful Wolfsburg crashed to a 2-0 loss to Mainz to end a three-match Bundesliga winning streak. Julian Draxler received a harsh red card for a high boot early in the game which simply took the stuffing out of Wolves. No-one was prepared to step in creatively for Draxler while Wolfsburg ‘keeper Diego Benaglio had a shocking match. With Wolfsburg intent of shooting themselves in the foot, the loss was deserved. However, Wolves kept hold of third spot on the table and will feel much more confident at the Volkswagen Arena. They haven’t lost at home in the Bundesliga since they were destroyed 6-1 by Bayern Munich back in March 2014, a stretch of 28 league games. Werder Bremen beat Augsburg on the road last week but have been largely unimpressive this season. Back the Wolfsburg win at 6/10.
Stuttgart were demolished 4-0 by a rampant Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in their last outing. Having fallen two goals behind early on, Stuttgart attempted to go toe-to-toe with the Bavarian giants and shipped two more before half-time. The second half was spent with Stuttgart chasing shadows. Augsburg’s terrible run of form continued and the club still has only one victory to show for the season. They’ve picked up a miserable six points so far and last season’s success story has become a tale of woe. This is a difficult one to call but Stuttgart have picked up three points in each of their last two home games, while Augsburg are currently in big trouble. The home win is tipped at 9/10.
Eintracht Frankfurt 11/4
Frankfurt have played out scoreless draws in each of their last two Bundesliga matches. Although the Eagles created the better chances in the match it was a frustrating outing after being the first side to take points off of Bayern Munich this season. Leverkusen have lost twice in a row in the Bundesliga, thrice in all competitions. Despite the emphatic goalscoring form of Javier Hernandez, Leverkusen have simply not been able to capitalise. They’re currently eighth on the table and are in drastic need of three points. I think they’ll get them here. Back Leverkusen for the away win at 19/20.
Gladbach have appointed interim boss Andre Schubert as permanent coach following an upturn in form in the aftermath of the resignation of Lucien Favre. Favre oversaw five consecutive defeats to begin the season but since his exit Gladbach have climbed to sixth on the table. Gladbach have yet to lose a match since Schubert took over and only failed to win in their last outing, a goalless draw with Ingolstadt. Hannover, in a different vein, are just a point above the relegation zone. They have picked up three wins in the last five league fixtures but should prove no match for Schubert’s side. The Gladbach win is just about valuable enough to go into your weekend multiple.
Cologne managed a surprising 2-1 win on the road at local rivals Leverkusen in the Rhine derby, thanks to a brace from Dominic Maroh. In a strange turn of events, the Goats now sit above Leverkusen on the table and will be looking to follow up their heroics with the visit of Mainz. The visitors also punched above their weight in their last league outing, recording a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. With the aforementioned dismissal of Draxler, Mainz capitalised on a goalkeeping error before rounding off the performance in the 75th minute. I’m leaning towards Under 2.5 Goals in this one at 19/20.
Bayern Munich 2/9
Schalke have managed to hold on to fifth place in the league despite a wretched run of form. They’ve managed only one win from their last five matches and their derby loss to Dortmund would’ve been tough to stomach. They grabbed a second goal to make the score 3-2 and set up a breathless final twenty minutes but ultimately could not make the momentum tell. For Bayern Munich, it was back to business as usual following their 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal in the Champions League. It’s really difficult to see Schalke getting anything from this game. Over 3.5 Goals at even money should do the trick.
Sunday 22 November
Hertha Berlin 21/20
Hertha Berlin have had a fantastic run this season and find themselves in fourth spot. They’ve won three of their last five league matches and a Salomon Kalou hat-trick helped them to a 3-1 away from home against Hannover in their last fixture. The Old Lady have been strong at home for most of the term and meet a Hoffenheim side with only one win all season. Hoffenheim have forced five draws this season to give them an only slight advantage over Augsburg at the foot of the table. Their solitary win came against the basement dwellers, which doesn’t bode well for the travellers. At 21/20, one simply cannot overlook Berlin.
This clash of the promoted sides is actually one I’ve been looking forward to since the beginning of the season. Ingolstadt are tenth on the table, two points above Darmstadt in thirteenth. Both have been excellent in the top flight considering their limited resources but will be aware that a poor run of form could well see them battling relegation after the Christmas break. Ingolstadt have forced draws against both Schalke and Monchengladbach after suffering back-to-back losses last month. Darmstadt drew against Hamburg in their last outing. They’ve drawn every one of their four previous head-to-heads 2-2 but have set up very defensively in the Bundesliga this season. They’ll probably both have earmarked this fixture as a three-pointer and I expect them to throw more caution to the wind. I’m tipping Over 2.5 Goals at a valuable 27/20.