Bundesliga: Week 15 Preview

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

We head into a crucial stage of the Bundesliga season as the league takes a Christmas sabbatical after Week 17. The Hinrunde (first half of the season) gives way to the Ruckrunde, which in German football is a completely different beast. So much can change after a month’s break from football, but one thing is certain; to prevent Bayern Munich marching to a fourth straight title, one of the pretenders to the throne will need an almost flawless run after the festive break.


Schalke 11/20
Draw 32/10
Hannover 9/2
In the race for a top-four finish, Schalke would’ve been unhappy to settle for 1-1 draw with Leverkusen, despite it coming away from home and snapping a two-match losing streak in the league. Schalke are still awaiting their first Bundesliga win since mid-October and led the match all the way until the last five minutes, allowing Leverkusen to equalise. Hannover moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a morale-boosting 4-0 win over Ingolstadt. It was their heaviest league defeat to date but Hannover are only capable of such performances in the most sporadic fashion. Back Schalke for the home win at 11/20. 


Hertha Berlin 5/2
Draw 24/10 
Bayer Leverkusen 21/20
Hertha Berlin gave an admirable account of themselves in their 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich. That’s three matches in succession against the German Champions where they have avoided embarrassment. To be fair, that was all Berlin could have hoped for when coming up against the quality of Munich. Berlin lie fifth in the standings and will desperately want to add some more points to their tally before the winter break. Leverkusen are a mere two points behind the men from the capital but are battling for any kind of momentum. They’ve been inconsistent at best, with the exception of Javier Hernandez. It’s difficult to know which way to slice this one but the home win at 5/2 is simply too good to pass up.


Hamburg 13/10
Draw 23/10
Mainz 21/10
Hamburg have looked a side reborn over the last couple of weeks. 3-1 wins over Dortmund and Werder Bremen has seen the previously relegation stricken club move up to seventh in the league. They’ll certainly be hopeful of another three-pointer when they host Mainz at the weekend. Mainz lie only a point below Hamburg and picked up a valuable home win over Frankfurt last time out. They took a 2-0 lead into half-time yet still conceded after Frankfurt had been reduced to ten-men. Mainz gave up too much of the ball and let the Eagles back into the game despite having the numerical advantage. I foresee another home win at a decent 13/10. 

Ingolstadt 27/20
Draw 22/10
Hoffenheim 2/1
Ingolstadt were three goals down within half an hour last weekend against Hannover. This was the same amount of goals that they had conceded on the road all season in the top flight. The rout was completed towards the end of the match as Ingolstadt crashed back to earth after a very successful early season run. They’ve won only one of their last five matches however and face a Hoffenheim side fresh from an exciting 3-3 draw with Gladbach. It left Huub Stevens still waiting for his first win as Hoffenheim manager and also left the club rooted to the bottom of the table. Hoffenheim have won only once all season but I’m tipping them to double that here at 2/1.

Monchengladbach 72/10
Draw 9/2
Bayern Munich 3/10 
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Cologne 12/10
Draw 23/10
Augsburg 9/4 
Cologne are now unbeaten in four straight Bundesliga matches, however three of them have ended as goalless draws. It is clearly a case of defense being the best offence for Cologne and one imagines they will once again set up to not concede despite meeting an Augsburg side mired in a relegation battle. That being said, Augsburg picked up three points from a thumping of Stuttgart before holding high-flying Wolfsburg to a goalless draw in their last outing. This one has Under 2.5 Goals written all over it at 8/10. 

Wolfsburg 31/10
Draw 3/1
Borussia Dortmund 8/10
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Stuttgart 9/10
Draw 5/2
Werder Bremen 31/10
Stuttgart sacked Alexander Zorniger last week just 13 games into his three-year contract. The side survived miraculously last season following heroics in the final weeks yet this season they seem doomed for relegation. Stuttgart performed no better in caretaker coach Jurgen Kramny’s first game in charge, losing 4-1 to Dortmund. That’s three consecutive losses for the Swabians, having conceded four goals in each. Werder Bremen have been equally as poor this season with manager Viktor Skripnik’s job hanging by a thread. They are only three points above Stuttgart and have been thumped in their last two outings. This is another match where Both Teams to Score looks the bet to take at 9/20. 

Eintracht Frankfurt 9/10
Draw 5/2
Darmstadt 3/1
Frankfurt captain and playmaker Alexander Meier picked up two yellow cards in the first half of their match with Mainz, leaving the side to attempt a fightback from two goals down with just ten-men. Haris Seferovic scored as Frankfurt tried ably to get something from the game, but one goal was simply not enough. Frankfurt are without a win in four matches and if something doesn’t give soon, the club could well spend the Ruckrunde fighting for the place in the top flight. Darmstadt lie only a point above their opponents and a bright start to life in the top flight has turned into a real slog over the past month. They are without a win in five matches and my prediction that things may turn sour has come to fruition. Neither side are playing good football at the moment and a low-scoring encounter wouldn’t be surprise. Back Under 2.5 Goals at 15/20.

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