Our German Bundesliga writer previews matchday 19 of the 2016/17 season.
Not much has changed in the Bundesliga title race, with Bayern Munich still three points clear of Leipzig, who are ten points clear of Frankfurt in third.
It looks to be yet another two-horse race in Germany, with Munich wrapping up top options for next season in the transfer window. As usual, the Bavarian giants have looked close to home to further cement their legendary status.
Friday 3 February
Hamburg 5/2 | Draw 24/10 | Leverkusen 21/20
Gotoku Sakai pulled a goal back for Hamburg in a calamitous 3-1 loss to fellow strugglers Ingolstadt last weekend. Hamburg’s third defeat in four matches sees them drop to 17th - staying in the top flight will take something special from Markus Gisdol’s men.
Leverkusen threw away a 2-0 lead at home to lose 3-2 to Monchengladbach. Javier Hernandez and Jonathan Tah had given Leverkusen a two-goal cushion at half-time but defensive lapses in the second period cost dearly. They’re still well worth a punt here at 21/20.
Saturday 4 February
Bayern Munich 2/9 | Draw 52/10 | Schalke 11/1
Another uninspired performance from Bayern Munich just about got the club over the line against Werder Bremen in a 2-1 win away from home. Bayern went 2-0 up with goals from Arjen Robben and David Alaba but that was as good as it got from the German champions. Despite conceding, Bayern were able to maintain their three-point lead over Leipzig.
Schalke were equally lacklustre in a 1-0 loss to high-flying Frankfurt. Schalke were short of ideas at home and will need to be vastly improved to get a result here. A bit of a punt, but Both Teams To Score at 11/10 makes a lot of appeal given recent results.
Monchengladbach 15/20 | Draw 26/10 | Freiburg 34/10
Monchengladbach gave an inspired performance to come back from two goals down away from home and win 3-2 at Leverkusen. They’ve managed to turn a truly woeful run of form around and go back-to-back Bundesliga matches unbeaten. The club has now created a five-point gap between themselves and the drop zone and will have real belief that they can secure three points at home.
Freiburg have now won three out of their last five after beating Hertha Berlin 2-1 at home. They’ll be a tough nut to crack. However, I see Monchengladbach picking up three points at 15/20.
Hertha Berlin 21/20 | Draw 43/20 | Ingolstadt 11/4
Hertha Berlin’s woes continued after they lost 2-1 away at Freiburg and suffered their fourth defeat in five league matches. Substitute Julian Schieber netted a consolation goal to slightly gloss a poor performance.
Ingolstadt are out of the bottom two after collecting all three points from a 3-1 win over Hamburg to leapfrog their opponents and move up to 16th. A goal from Pascal Gross and another from Markus Suttner in the opening 22 minutes were followed by Almog Cohen's penalty early in the second half. I expect Hertha Berlin to bounce back from recent defeats and claim the home win at even money.
Cologne 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Wolfsburg 5/2
Cologne romped to a 6-1 win on the road at bottom club Darmstadt to earn their first league win since way back in mid-November. Nevertheless, a slew of draws has kept them going and Cologne now occupy seventh on the table.
Visitors Wolfsburg lost 2-1 at home to Augsburg, the goal from Mario Gomez clearly offside in what should have been a bigger loss. Wolfsburg are only four points clear of the drop zone and need a sustained run of form. Cologne at 11/10 for the home win is a great price.
Hoffenheim 17/20 | Draw 26/10 | Mainz 29/10
Hoffenheim lost 2-1 to Leipzig to suffer what is remarkably their first league loss of the season. Hoffenheim were the last unbeaten team across Europe’s top five league prior to last weekend. Nadiem Amiri’s opener stunned the home side but Leipzig found a way back into the game after Sandro Wagner’s red card and proved their status in the title race.
A late Danny Latza header gained a point for Mainz at home to Bundesliga giants Dortmund. It was the second draw in a row for Mainz, who are steady in 10th. Perhaps they would’ve hoped for more given last season’s positive results. The home win looks good at 17/20.
Dortmund 8/10 | Draw 11/4 | Leipzig 29/10
Dortmund missed the opportunity to go third in the league as a late equalizer away at Mainz cancelled out Marco Reus’ third minute strike. BVB are unbeaten in six league matches, but that includes four draws, a statistic not quite good enough for Thomas Tuchel.
Leipzig came back from a goal down to end Hoffenheim’s incredible unbeaten league run. Timo Werner equalized just before the break and in the second period, both sides pushed hard in front of German manager Joachim Low. Marcel Sabitzer struck the winner with 10 minutes remaining to keep the club within three points of Bayern Munich. Both Teams To Score is the bet at 6/10.
Sunday 5 February
Augsburg 23/20 | Draw 23/10 | Werder Bremen 47/20
Augsburg cruelly went a goal down against Wolfsburg but struck in unusual fashion to equalize. Wolfsburg ‘keeper Diego Benaglio’s poor clearance was intercepted and headed by Halil Altintop against the crossbar, before converting the rebound. Dominik Kohr struck in the second half to secure Augsburg all three points.
Werder Bremen pulled one back against Bayern Munich to set up a nervy finish to the game for the German champions. Still, the loss leaves them battling in 15th, just a point above the relegation zone. Back the home side at a great price of 12/10.
Eintracht Frankfurt 6/10 | Draw 26/10 | Darmstadt 5/1
Alexander Meier fired Frankfurt to third place in the Bundesliga with the only goal in the club’s 1-0 win away at Schalke. Despite Meier striking in the 33rd minute, neither side were able to create many meaningful chances in the first half and the game stagnated further in the second-half, much to the chagrin of the home fans.
Darmstadt were thrashed 6-1 at home by Cologne in what must be the club’s lowest point of a dire season. Darmstadt remain stone last with nine points from 18 matches, four points adrift of Hamburg. I can only tip a home win at 6/10 in this match.
DOUBLE @ 2/1
Hertha Berlin Win (21/20)
Eintracht Frankfurt Win (6/10)
Written by Rick John Henry @Hollywoodbets