Our football scribe previews matchday 15 of the German Bundesliga.
A severe goal drought and seven red cards in the Bundesliga saw two-thirds of the weekend matches end in 1-0 victories, with a goalless draw to kick off last Friday night.
Bayern Munich were the only side to score more than once in last week’s fixtures, a 5-0 rout of Wolfsburg simply underlining Valerien Ismael’s struggles. Leipzig suffered their first defeat and relinquished top spot to the reigning champions, giving this week’s log a slightly more familiar feel.
Friday 16 December
32/10 Hoffenheim | Draw 31/10 | Dortmund 7/10
Hoffenheim continued their unbeaten start to the season - the only club that remain undefeated - with a goalless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Despite the lack of goals the encounter remained a fiery one, with one of many heated exchanges finally ending in a straight red card for Hoffenheim’s opposition. The two clubs remain locked for fourth and fifth on 26 points.
A late goal from Marco Reus kept Dortmund in sixth as BVB salvaged a point at Cologne. It’s been a shaky season domestically as Dortmund fought to finish above Real Madrid and end top of their Champions League group. This could be Hoffenheim’s time to slip up and the away win looks good at 7/10 for a rested Dortmund.
Saturday 17 December
13/20 Schalke | Draw 29/10 | Freiburg 39/10
Schalke fell to their third straight defeat in all competitions as they lost 1-0 at home to Leverkusen. A fourth-minute red card for Naldo didn’t demoralise the club, who held their own and traded chances all the way until the 89th minute. A heartbreaking defeat - but certainly something to build on coming into this fixture.
A penalty earned and put away by Nils Petersen ensured that Freiburg picked up all three points at home to Darmstadt. The club remains mid-table, just two points above Schalke. I’m tipping the home win at 13/20 in this one.
19/20 Mainz | Draw 51/20 | Hamburg 11/4
Mainz lost Jean-Philippe Gbamin to a late red card in their 1-0 defeat at Monchengladbach, a somewhat unfortunate result for a Mainz side who were good value for much of the match. They’ve now lost four of their last five league matches and will be eager to ensure that they go into the winter break in the top half of the table, currently two points off the pace.
Hamburg picked up their second win on the trot - and of the season - by beating Augsburg 1-0 last weekend. Lewis Holtby’s mindless red card just before half-time saw Hamburg in trouble, before Augsburg were also reduced to 10 men. Filip Kostic sealed the three points to lift Hamburg a place into 16th. Under 2.5 Goals looks good here at 19/20.
2/1 Augsburg | Draw 22/10 | Monchengladbach 27/20
Dominik Kohr was given his marching orders in Augsburg’s 1-0 defeat to Hamburg and up until that point, Augsburg looked good to capitalise on their opponent’s red card earlier in the match. It leaves Augsburg only four points clear of the relegation zone with the winter break looming large.
Monchengladbach ended their eight-match winless run with a 1-0 victory over Mainz, Andreas Christian sealing the three points in a match in which the Foals certainly rode their luck. Common sense says to back the away win but I feel that Augsburg are good value to get a result on the Double Chance at 11/20.
16/10 Werder Bremen | Draw 24/10 | Cologne 33/20
Werder Bremen picked up a very important three points with a 1-0 win away in the capital. Certainly unfavored against high-flying Hertha Berlin, Max Kruse gave Werder Bremen a lead they would not relinquish just before half-time. Bremen dominated the game, Serge Gnabry guilty of lax finishing that kept the shine from the scoreline.
Cologne took the lead against Dortmund but failed to hold on as a late goal forced them to share the spoils. Cologne lie seventh, two points off last weekend’s opponents. After a bright start to the season, they’ve been wobbling into the winter break. Back the home win at 16/10.
13/20 Leipzig | Draw 11/4 | Hertha Berlin 9/2
An uncharacteristically wasteful Leipzig suffered their first defeat of the season at relegation strugglers Ingolstadt. Former Ingolstadt manager Ralph Hasenhuttl could only look on in frustration as Leipzig contrived the miss from positions easier to score from. They’re now equal on points with Bayern Munich but are eight goals shy in terms of goal difference.
Hertha Berlin was also a shadow of their normal selves in a 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen. It put a dent in their title chances, now six points adrift of the two league leaders. This is a must-win game for the Old Lady and I’m tipping them to get a result on the Double Chance at 23/20.
29/20 Wolfsburg | Draw 43/20 | Eintracht Frankfurt 2/1
Wolfsburg remain perilously close to the relegation zone following a 5-0 drubbing at record champions Bayern Munich. Indeed, only goal difference separates the crisis club from the bottom three. Wolves have parted ways with director of sport Klaus Allofs in a bid to find some points from their floundering season.
Frankfurt had Timothy Chandler sent off in the closing stages of a goalless draw with Hoffenheim. Frankfurt will be overjoyed at how the first half of the season has panned out and will need to keep their intensity going into the break. Wolfsburg look a spent force. Back the away win here at 2/1.
Sunday 18 December
22/1 Darmstadt | Draw 15/2 | Bayern Munich 1/8
Ramon Berndroth’s first match in charge of Darmstadt ended in disappointment as the club sunk to the bottom of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 loss at Freiburg. With so many clubs struggling for points, it won’t be panic stations just yet for new manager. Darmstadt looked good value for a result before giving away a silly penalty.
Unfortunately, this weekend they’ll likely leave with nothing. Bayern Munich disposed of Wolfsburg with ease last weekend, a brace from Robert Lewandowski and goals for Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Douglas Costa rounding out the victory. Over 3.5 Goals at 11/10 looks a good bet.
11/20 Leverkusen | Draw 32/10 | Ingolstadt 5/1
Leverkusen battled to break down a resolute 10-man Schalke side but eventually found the winner with only minutes to spare. Leverkusen, eighth, will be disappointed with the opening half of the season and will need to draw on last term’s late season charge if they hope to keep their place in the Champions League.
Ingolstadt became the first side to beat Leipzig in the league this season as they withheld a siege on their goal after drawing first blood in the 12th minute. It was only Ingolstadt’s second win of the campaign, leaving the club just a point above bottom of the log Darmstadt. Back the home win at 11/20.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2/1
Written by Rick John Henry @Hollywoodbets