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Bundesliga: Week 33 Preview
Bayern Munich were made to wait another week before officially being crowned Bundesliga champions after being held to draw with top four contenders Monchengladbach last week. The Bavarians maintain a five-point cushion over Dortmund heading into the penultimate set of fixtures and with a goal difference that eclipses their nearest rivals by 11, only a single point from the next two matches should be enough for Munich to claim the title. The next two weeks sees all of the matches kick off on Saturday at the same time, a clear indication that we’ve finally reached the pointy end of the German season.
SATURDAY 7 MAY
Schalke 13/20 | Draw 32/10 | Augsburg 37/10
Schalke’s season isn’t dead just yet. A 3-1 win over relegated Hannover last week ended a miserable run of form and kept the Royal Blues in contention for a place in the Champions League. However, one feels that they’ll need to collect maximum points from their final two outings in order to achieve it. Augsburg have managed to string together a few results when it counts, going four matches unbeaten and only losing twice in their last eight league fixtures. It will still take another two points to make sure that Augsburg are officially safe from relegation but that will likely prove unnecessary. Historically, Augsburg have struggled on visits to Schalke and I’m tipping the home win at 13/20.
Monchengladbach 9/10 | Draw 28/10 | Bayer Leverkusen 26/10
Monchengladbach ensured that Bayern Munich’s title celebrations were put on hold for at least another week as they fought back to earn a point at the Allianz Arena. A goal from Andre Hahn earned a vital point for a spirited Gladbach side still very much in the hunt for Champions League football next season. Leverkusen secured their place in Europe’s most elite of competitions with a 2-1 win at home against Hertha Berlin last weekend. A fantastic run of seven straight victories, conceding only three times, clinched the club’s place in the top three after looking well behind the leading pack just two months ago. With little for Leverkusen to play for, back the home win at 9/10.
Hamburg 31/20 | Draw 49/20 | Wolfsburg 33/20
Hamburg’s goalless draw with Mainz inched the club closer to safety and in all likelihood, secured top flight football all but mathematically. It was a match of painfully few chances yet Hamburg will probably be content given all they require in a single point to remain in the Bundesliga. A win over a Wolfsburg side in woeful form will also see Hamburg leapfrog their opponents in the standings. Wolfsburg’s hopes of competing in Europe next season were ended by a ruthless Dortmund side who thrashed Wolves 5-1 and ensured that the club have not won a Bundesliga match in two months. Morale seems to be at an all-time low with nothing left to pursue this season. The home Win/Draw Double Chance is short at 9/20 but looks the right choice all things considered.
Stuttgart 23/20 | Draw 11/4 | Mainz 2/1
Stuttgart dropped back into the relegation zone following a 6-2 hammering away at Werder Bremen. The loss puts them in second-last position by virtue of goal difference, illustrating how large a price they may be forced to pay for such sloppy defending last time out. Mainz were frustrated into a scoreless draw with Hamburg which did little to assist their push for European football. The club dropped out of the top six and will surely need to collect maximum points here if they wish to keep their Europa League dreams alive. Stuttgart bailed themselves out of relegation at the tail end of last season and I’m quite keen on the home win at 23/20 despite their poor form.
Eintracht Frankfurt 13/2 | Draw 17/4 | Dortmund 7/20
Frankfurt came from behind to secure victory over local rivals Darmstadt and provide a glimmer of hope for top-flight survival. On the road, Frankfurt turned the tables in the second half to come from a goal down to win the match 2-1. Dortmund took Wolfsburg apart with a ruthless efficiency that only very few clubs can match. Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos struck within the first 10 minutes before Marco Reus grabbed a goal on the hour mark. Two goals in two minutes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the rout before Dortmund leaked a consolation goal. The Westfalians must keep winning to ensure Bayern don’t secure the title by default. The away win at 7/20 is the tip.
Cologne 39/20 | Draw 26/10 | Werder Bremen 5/4
Cologne are safe in the knowledge that they will be competing in the Bundesliga next season and without the ability to snatch a spot in Europe, have nothing left to prove. An uneventful goalless draw with Augsburg last time out simply underlined their status in mid-table. Werder Bremen romped to a 6-2 destruction of Stuttgart that saw the club free themselves of the relegation zone in style. It arrested a miserable run of form and with Bremen seeming highly motivated to beat the drop, the away win is worth a punt at 5/4.
Hannover 26/10 | Draw 28/10 | Hoffenheim 9/10
Hannover’s fate of plying their trade in Bundesliga 2 next season has been sealed and if their 3-1 loss to Schalke was anything to go by, they’re already preparing for life in the second division. Hannover have only won six times all season and a full nine points between themselves and next-from-bottom tells the story of a truly disappointing season. Hoffenheim have almost completed their escape from relegation and having won five of the last seven matches, losing once, have made extraordinary improvements in order to survive. Last week they beat Ingolstadt 2-1 and another victory this weekend will ensure that they’re a fixture in the Bundesliga next term. The away win at 9/10 is the bet to take.
Hertha Berlin 7/10 | Draw 11/4 | Darmstadt 39/10
There is still hope for Hertha Berlin to join Europe’s elite next season despite all but throwing Champions League football away with a horrendous run of form. The Old Lady have lost five of their last six matches with one draw - albeit having come up against some tough opposition in the process. Level on points with Gladbach but far inferior on goal difference, another loss could conceivably see the club drop out of Europa League contention after a remarkable season. Darmstadt gave away a goal lead at home to Frankfurt in their last outing and are in desperate need of a win to secure their place in the top flight. It’s likely that their season will go down to the wire. Back the home win at 7/10.
Ingolstadt 12/1 | Draw 47/10 | Bayern Munich 2/9
Ingolstadt couldn’t hold onto a lead in their last outing against Hoffenheim and succumbed 2-1, ending their chances of a European qualification that few would’ve predicted at the beginning of the season. It’s been a sterling season for the promoted club and they fully deserve to be a part of the top flight next term. Bayern Munich effectively need only a point from this encounter to seal the title. Their midweek meeting with Atletico Madrid will decide their Champions League fate and likely have little bearing on this fixture. However, the Bayern squad will certainly not overextend themselves given their league lead, domestic cup final, possible Champions League final and following all, Euro 2016. Under 2.5 Goals could be a shrewd bet at 21/20 as the Bavarians do just enough to clinch the title.