Hamburg and Cologne have seen their survival hopes dealt a huge blow last weekend. Can they bounce back this week? Can we get a clear picture of who will progress to the Champions League? We will take a look at those and more questions in the latest edition of Match Day Predictions. Here it goes:
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen
It’s the Topspiel. It’s the biggest game of the weekend. It’s a fight to qualify for the Champions League. It’s Dortmund vs Leverkusen.
The Black and Yellows have the perfect opportunity to put their Derby Day Blues behind them. But things aren’t that simple. Firstly BVB have lost striker Michy Batshuayi due to an ankle injury and his absence will understandably take its toll on them. They may have a couple of options who can fill in at center forward but none of them are true number nines with the exception of youngster Alexander Isak, who has seen very little playing time of late.
At least Batshuayi will be a good supporter.
As for Leverkusen, they managed to win their last two league games by scoring a total of eight goals and then in the DFB Pokal Bayern happened. Die Werkself lost 6-2 and failed to progress to the final in Berlin. Perhaps the best highlight of that encounter was Thiago’s amazing through ball to assist Thomas Müller but our man Abel appearing on Hungarian TV to analyze the game was not far behind.
— BundesPL (@BundesPL) April 17, 2018
The good news for Leverkusen and the German national team is the current form of Kevin Volland, who scored his first senior club hat-trick last week, and Julian Brandt, who is creating chances for his side. In fact, in 2054 Bundesliga minutes, Brandt has equaled his career-high 51 chances created that he put up in 2309 minutes last year! The two are making a strong case for why they should be flying to Russia and they can be the key men in Saturday’s late kickoff.
When the sides met last year the game ended in a comfortable 6-2 win for Dortmund. The result cost manager Roger Schmidt the Leverkusen job and a few months later the manager on the winning side, Thomas Tuchel, said farewell to the Signal Iduna Park as well. Look at how matters have changed after that! Under Heiko Herrlich, Leverkusen are once again an entertaining and formidable Bundesliga side while BVB are confused, to say the least.
I am predicting the same scoreline from the reverse fixture- a 1-1 draw!
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Wolfsburg
And we thought Bayern would take it easy on Gladbach after securing the league title! The Foals went down 5-1 to the record champions and so did their slim hopes of making it to the Europa League as they sit six points adrift of seventh-placed Frankfurt.
Wolfsburg could only muster a 0- 0 draw against Augsburg which leaves them in 14th but tied on 30 points with Mainz and Freiburg below them.
Wolfsburg to win!
RB Leipzig vs Hoffenheim
The fact that there is only a point between the two sides makes the tie ever more intriguing. Hoffenheim are brimming with confidence after their recent winning run and the incredible form of Serge Gnabry.
Six goals in Six games for this man! He’s definitely flying high.
Leipzig only managed a draw against Werder Bremen and they will see this game as an opportunity to get back on track in their quest for Champions League qualification.
I’m predicting a draw!
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hertha Berlin
Understandably there are waves of discontent among Bayern fans following the announcement that Niko Kovac will be named the next manager but there is no denying the amazing job he has done at the Commerzbank Arena. Over the course of two and a half seasons at Eintracht, he saved them from relegation, took them to the DFB Pokal Final not once but twice, and they are currently fighting to qualify for Europe.
He is also managing to mix the old and young to greater effect.
9 – Only Kylian Mbappe and Patrick Cutrone are younger than Luka Jovic among all players in Europe's 5 leagues who scored at least 9 goals in all competitions 2017/18. Talent. @eintracht_eng #S04SGE #DFBPokal pic.twitter.com/COg3gwXRdT
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 18, 2018
Hertha managed to win at home for the first time since December as they beat Cologne 2-1 on Saturday but a trip to Frankfurt will be a tricky one.
A win for Kovac’s men.
Stuttgart vs Werder Bremen
10th placed Stuttgart and 12th placed Bremen are in comfort zone. Both teams managed a 1-1 draw on Match Day 30. This is not where the similarity between the two sides ends. After a shaky start to the season, both clubs decided to make managerial changes and that is paying off big time.
Stuttgart only managed to win 2 of the last ten meetings between the two sides with Bremen managing to win four. But with their home advantage, Stuttgart are favorites to come out on top.
Hamburg vs Freiburg
A consecutive loss to fellow strugglers has left Freiburg in a precarious position. The Black Forest club is now in the relegation play-off spot, thanks to just 11 points in the Rückrunde – only HSV have gotten fewer with seven. Incidentally, the next hurdle in the fight against the drop is a trip to Hamburg, who themselves are in danger of relegation, to put it mildly. Another relegation dogfight to savor!
The Red Shorts failed to build on their impressive win against Schalke as they were brought back down to earth by Hoffenheim. A win against Freiburg can help them to live to fight another week but at this point, survival looks distant.
A win for Hamburg!
Hannover vs Bayern Munich
Bayern will be resting most of their key players as they prepare for their Champions League Semi final clash against Real Madrid. Hannover managed to salvage a draw against Stuttgart last time out and will look to gain something from this game as they push further away from the relegation places. Hannover are six points above of the dreaded zone.
Bayern Munich are once again eyeing the treble. They have reached the DFB Pokal final and are favorites to beat Eintracht. Now the question is will they be able to sail past Real and eventually lift Europe’s big prize? Can Jupp Heynckes deliver another treble and bow out in style once again? These are the burning issues at the Allianz Arena at the moment and not their upcoming league fixture.
I still don’t expect Bayern to slip up. Sandro Wagner is a probable starter in this game and will look to take advantage of his opportunity just like he did against Gladbach.
Bayern to win!
Augsburg vs Mainz
Mainz got an important win against Freiburg on Monday’s game. The Zerofivers had VAR to thank for their initial goal. The win meant that they have moved to 15th place on goal difference.
Mid-table side Augsburg will approach this game with nothing to worry about but a win can never be underestimated. The side extended the contract of Christoph Janker this week and celebrated key man Gregoritsch!
Will they be able to hold on to their clinical finisher beyond this season?
I’m expecting Mainz to play with more hunger and determination than their opponents and that’s why I think they will win. It also helps to know that Mainz only lost one of their last eight meetings with Augsburg.
Cologne vs Schalke
The week started out well for the Royal Blues. They were in dreamland after beating their derby rivals 2-0 and further cementing their second place status. However, the loss against Eintracht meant that they missed the chance to lift a trophy for the first time since 2011.
But there are a lot of things to be satisfied with at Schalke, one of which is the amazing form of ‘golden oldie’ Naldo.
Bottom side Cologne need everything to go right if they are to emulate fellow strugglers Hamburg and beat Schalke. The Billy Goats look to be playing second division football next season and a couple of their key players are already being linked with moves to ‘bigger’ clubs. If reports from Germany are to be believed Jonas Hector will join Borussia Dortmund to solve the issue at Left Back. Leonardo Bittencourt can move to RB Leipzig while Dominique Heintz is close to join Schalke. But one thing that is certain is that Markus Anfang will be the new head coach of Cologne come next season.
Schalke should come out on top.
What do you guys think about my predictions? Let us know in the comments!