There are only 11 Match Days to go before we say the annual and sad farewell to our beloved league. And as we approach the end of the 2017/18 season the table is starting to take shape. We have known who the champions will be early in the season- but we’re now getting a glimpse of who the prime candidates for Champions League qualification are, along with the unfortunate folks who will be forced to drop down a league.
Here are the latest predictions:
Mainz 05 vs Wolfsburg
This weekend’s action kicks off with an intriguing encounter between two teams looking to avoid relegation.
I don’t know about you but I did not see Mainz’s win against Hertha coming. Can this be the turning point for Sandro Schwarz’s underachievers?
The Zero-fivers have lost 4 of their previous games- including a DFB Pokal defeat- before their 2-0 triumph against Paul Dardai’s men. It looks like the win came at the right moment. A repeat of that against Wolfsburg and Mainz will have taken a big stride towards safety.
Oh, how Wolfsburg has fallen so far and away from grace!
Manager Martin Schmidt has left his role after a somewhat cruel defeat against Bayern (remind me to never rule out Bayern from any game). His replacement is a man who is no stranger to relegation battles, Bruno Labbadia. The funny coincidence here is that just like Schmidt, Labbadia lost his job at Hamburg after a last-minute loss to Bayern.
Wolfsburg can avoid relegation with their new manager, but the lack of a clear long-term plan is evident at the club. Unless the board manages to curb that, The Wolves will end up being another Hamburg- always avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth and never showing any real progress.
Mainz are at home and on a high after their win so I expect them to grab all three points!
Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin
Cruising to another Bundesliga title, in the Semi-Finals of the DFB Pokal and now one foot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Bayern may not be the most exciting team in Europe but rest assured that they are the most effective.
A last-minute win against Wolfsburg and a 5-0 thumping of Beşiktaş clearly illustrates the fact that Bayern will always find a way to come out on top. Say it quietly but they are perhaps on their way to another treble.
The last time Bayern faced Hertha they squandered a 2-0 lead to come away with one point. After the game, Willy Sagnol- Bayern Munich’s interim coach at the time- said: “We are now no longer the strongest team in Germany.” That statement now feels it came from another era, doesn’t it?
2018 hasn’t been easy for Hertha and their job will be even harder when they travel to the Allianz Arena.
I expect Bayern to win by three goals!
Hoffenheim vs Freiburg
Hoffenheim have now dropped to 9th place. With 7 points behind 4th placed Bayer Leverkusen, the best they could hope for between now and the end of the season is to secure a Europa League qualification.
Freiburg is 12th and it looks like their relegation worries are all but gone. Losing key players to the bigger teams haven’t made it an easy season for the Black Forest club. Manager Christian Streich had an interesting interview with Sport Bild about this.
#Freiburg head coach Christian Streich: „To finish in fifth or seventh place at the same time means that two more players are gone. That frightens me "[….]
— German Football Daily (@GERFootDaily) February 21, 2018
I am expecting Hoffenheim to get back to winning!
Hannover vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Hannover, a side that is more or less in a stable situation, will host a Gladbach side in turbulence. Gladbach will still be wondering how in the world they did not manage to come away with at least a point in their last game against Borussia Dortmund. Unless BMG manages to get a result at Hannover we may be seeing the last of Dieter Hecking, who is getting a lot of heat as a result of the team’s poor run of form.
Hannover are in 7th while Gladbach has dropped down to 10th. But there is only a point between the two sides.
Gladbach has won five of their last six meetings against Hannover, but taking current form into consideration I am expecting a draw!
Stuttgart vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Tayfun Korbut is definitely delivering at Stuttgart and silencing his doubters in the process.
Are we going to be talking about the Tayfun Korkut miracle in Stuttgart? So far under his tutelage, the Swabians have captured 7 of 9 pts and allowed 1 goal in 270 minutes #VFB pic.twitter.com/rW1f5LVu5p
— Bundesliga Fanatic (@Bundesliga4u) February 19, 2018
With five goals this season, The ‘Fresh Prince’ is also inspiring Frankfurt. He scored the winner when Niko Kovac’s men recorded an important win against Leipzig on Monday.
— Bundesliga Fanatic (@Bundesliga4u) February 19, 2018
But can Korkut stop the high-flying Eagles? That is the big question.
I am going for a Frankfurt win, given their amazing away record.
Werder Bremen vs Hamburg
Bremen endured their 5th defeat in seven away games as they lost to Freiburg last time out. Their home form has been good though and they need to maintain that when they host bitter rivals Hamburg on Saturday’s top-spiel.
Hamburg is rooted in 17th place, six points behind safety. It is starting to look like this is the year they finally get relegated.
This from Frank Rost, former keeper of HSV, sums up the Hamburg conundrum very well.
With added Takeshi’s Castle, Frank Rost on Hamburg’s crisis
“The pain is self-inflicted. I always compare it with the three doors you had on Takeshi’s Castle. You know behind one door is someone who’s going to punch you in the face. Hamburg run through the same door every year.” pic.twitter.com/DRl8JFrUgR
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) February 18, 2018
Going for a narrow win for Bremen!
Bayer Leverkusen vs Schalke
Leverkusen vs Schalke is always an interesting affair.
Schalke got back to winning ways by beating Hoffenheim and Leverkusen are also on high spirit after their win against Hamburg.
There are a lot of similarities between the two sides. Their new managers are doing wonders in their first season, both teams have a core of exciting young talents putting on brilliant performances week in and week out, and both are eyeing a return to the Champions League.
I am expecting a tight affair but will give the nod to Die Werkself .
Too hot to handle Leon Bailey can put on another scintillating display and perhaps put on that dance of his. This week the 20-year-old said that he is happy at Leverkusen and described the club as the perfect place for his development.
RB Leipzig vs Cologne
Despite losing to Frankfurt and dropping down to 5th, Leipzig’s aspirations of qualifying for the Champions League are very much alive. However, the same cannot be said about the Billy Goats’ survival hopes as they are still rooted to the foot of the table.
Leipzig will not be well-rested after their midweek Europa League game, but the high of advancing in the tournament may inspire them, along with their offensive firepower, to grab all three points at home.
Borussia Dortmund vs Augsburg
Peter Stöger may not be implementing the type of exciting and attacking football BVB are renowned for, but after the horror show of Peter Bosz’s stint, there will be little concern on the style of play as long as the team is steadily getting results and has advanced to the Round of 16 in the Europa League, going into Monday’s fixture.
Stöger’s record in the Bundesliga has been impressive.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) February 18, 2018
And these two are the main reason why BVB fans are happy at the moment.
Augsburg lost their last game against Stuttgart but they will not be easy opponents for the Black and Yellows. Monday night’s game is expected to be a fierce and close battle between these two sides.
The reverse fixture resulted in a narrow win for BVB and I am expecting a repeat of that.
Have a lovely Match Day!