Match Day 15 Predictions
As the winter pause draws near, the Bundesliga table is starting to take shape. Bayern Munich are looking to be on top of the table on Christmas, as they have done in the previous 6 years – despite Leipzig leading for much of the last Hinrunde. The relegation battle is also heating up. Cologne finally gave into pressure and sacked manager Peter Stöger at the weekend. Armin Veh, who was (sadly? )widely linked to the Dortmund job last week, has been appointed Sporting Director, with rumors of Cologne native and Holstein Kiel (leading the 2. Liga) coach Markus Anfang heavily considered for the head coaching job. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that match day 15 will have a lot of important games and we will try to look at them one by one starting with Saturday’s Topspiel.
Borussia M’gladbach vs Schalke
Dieter Hecking’s side have kept on being inconsistent. Their 2-1 win against Bayern gave them a lot of reason to smile about but they have been brought back down to earth after their 3-0 loss at the hands of the Wolves. The Foals become the ninth consecutive team who failed to win their next game after beating Bayern. The Bayern curse is true!
When you beat Bayern, history says the next game does not go well.
— USA Borussen (@GladbachUSA) December 3, 2017
This weekend The Royal Blues are coming to town, before Santa does. It doesn’t look like they will have any presents for Gladbach. Schalke took the lead not once but twice in their game against Cologne last weekend but eventually came away with only a single point. They will be determined to prevent that this time, albeit without Leon Goretzka, who is likely out for the rest of the Hinrunde.
Gladbach have their own injury concerns: Christoph Kramer is feeling the effects of the concussion and just returned to training, while Fabian Johnson, Tony Jantschke and Patrick Herrmann are all day to day and like to miss this one. In addition, Dieter Hecking has revealed that star-man Thorgan Hazard missed training Thursday and is doubtful for the match.
The last meeting between the two sides was a Europa League double-header in which both games ended in a draw. That can be the case this weekend as well.
Stuttgart vs Bayer Leverkusen
Not only Leverkusen are on form, but so is their striker Kevin Volland. The German grabbed his NINTH goal in his team’s 1-1 draw against Dortmund and will be the key man to overcome a Stuttgart side who are impressive at home, having taken 16 of their 17 points in the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Leverkusen will be without Wendell who was sent off last week and is now banned 3 matches, but the versatility of Pana Retsos and Benni Henrichs should be able to make up for some of that. The other absentee is Charles Aranguiz who suffered a calf injury vs Dortmund and will miss this one. Expect Lars Bender and Dominik Kohr (or Julian Baumgartlinger) to feature in the double pivot.
For Stuttgart, Carlos Mané’s return is inching closer, but it won’t take place Friday. Dennis Aogo should miss out due to an illness and Josip Brekalo is questionable, but Schwaben fans should get excited about starting the electric duo of Anastasios Donis and Chadrac Akolo – a rare sight on the pitch TOGETHER this season. In the end, Heiko Herrlich’s guys should have enough attacking threats (Volland, Brandt, Havertz) for Hannes Wolf’s team. An away win is a strong possibility in Friday’s game.
Borussia Dortmund vs Werder Bremen
No, we’re not talking about whether this is the game for Peter Bosz to get fired again, BUT this could well be Peter Bosz’s last game as Dortmund manager……
BVB managed to “secure” a Europa League qualification despite losing 3-2 to Real Madrid. They have only collected 2 points in their 6 Champions League games. This is the first time they have failed to win a single group game in the Champions League, an unwanted record for Bosz.
There were moments of slick attacking play in Madrid and BVB did manage to come back from 2-0 down to equalize, with Aubameyang grabbing both goals. The Gabonese striker became the all time top scorer for Dortmund in European games with 26 goals. Marco Reus was the record holder with 25. But the bad aspects outweigh the good and it is clear that things aren’t getting any better under Bosz. Gonzalo Castro and Maxi Philipp were added to the long-term injury list for Dortmund, while Ömer Toprak seems to have lost his spot to Neven Subotic in the back. Marc Bartra looked lost at right wing back, so one should expect Bosz to go with Pulisic, with the Spaniard sliding into a CB role. A rotated side could also mean minutes for Dan-Axel Zagadou in the back. Julian Weigl played just 25 minutes versus real and could feature more, with neither Nuri Sahin nor Mo Dahoud looking that great. Shinji Kagawa, the best Dortmund player in the Bernabeu competes for a spot either in midfield for in attack. Up front, BVB have run out of bodies and options, with perhaps André Schürrle getting a start on the left-wing, with Yarmolenko on the other side and Aubameyang in the center.
Bremen who have won 2 of their last 3 games are the visitors on Saturday. Max Kruse and Bartles are hitting top form under Florian Kohfeldt. The duo is expected to create problems for Dortmund’s dodgy defense.
A high scoring draw is expected, but the 8,500 traveling supporters might even be treated to more!
Eintracht Frankfurt – Bayern
Bayern are going into Saturday’s clash full of confidence after a remarkable 3-1 win against PSG. The victory wasn’t enough to seal top spot but the performance was impressive. Summer signings Coco Tolisso and James Rodriguez are settling in well. Kinglesy Coman looks the real deal at the moment after his disappointing stint under Carlito. Jerome Boateng, Rafinha, Javi Martinez could all get a start after being spelled vs PSG
Frankfurt are also not short of confidence. They have continued their amazing away form last week with their 2-1 victory against Hertha Berlin. An excited Kevin-Prince Boateng grabbed the winner in his return to his old stomping ground.
In further good news, Boateng has also received an award from a major German radio station for his fight against racism:
Congrats to @KPBofficial who just received the @1LIVE #Krone17 special award for his fight against racism. Krone 2017 is the biggest radio award in Germany – well done Prince and keep up the good work! #SGE #Eintracht https://t.co/YYyFU8wT0r
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) December 7, 2017
The returns of Timmy Chandler and Omar Mascarell (to trainings) must have been great signs for the Frankfurt faithful.
However, the Eagles haven’t tasted a single triumph against the Bavarians since 2010. Furthermore, Niko Kovac’s team, which has the best away record in the Bundesliga, has conversely collected just 7 points at home, only beating Werder and Cologne. This, and the difference in squad depth\quality makes the league leaders the favorites.
RB Leipzig – Mainz
Leipzig didn’t have the best of weeks. First there was the shock 4-0 loss to Hoffenheim which was followed by a defeat to Besiktas thanks (or no thanks) to a last minute goal.
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) December 6, 2017
The Red Bull backed club will be playing Europa League football in 2018, which is not all bad to be honest, if you believe the club’s Twitter.
In front of their fans on Saturday RBL are overwhelming favorites to beat 14th placed Mainz in their quest to not fall too much behind the league leaders. We’ll have more on the recent troubles at Mainz and the departure of eccentric president Johannes Kaluza, but it could’t have helped what has been a trying season for Sandro Schwarz and co. The turnaround won’t be against Leipzig, I’m afraid.
Hamburg vs Wolfsburg
Martin Schmidt is doing an amazing job at Wolfsburg so far. The comprehensive 3-0 win against Gladbach on Sunday was proof of how far along the Wolves have come under their new manager. They have only lost one game since the former Mainz man took over, having been forced to play down a man after Maxi Arnold was sent off in the 8th minute vs Augsburg. The attacking quartet of Yunus Malli, Daniel Didavi, Divock Origi and Mario Gomez is finally starting to click!
Hamburg are in an all familiar 15th place at the moment, despite excellent games from Kostic, Papadopoulos and of course Fiete Arp. Markus Gisdol has a couple of injury concerns, but the return of Albin Ekdal should be a nice boost:
Markus #Gisdol is talking to the press ahead of #HSVWOB. "@EkdalAlbin and @LewisHoltby have returned to training and are available for the weekend. #Ito and @DouglasSantos_6 are ill; we'll have to see if they're okay for the weekend." pic.twitter.com/kwromblvwf
— HSV English (@HSV_English) December 7, 2017
Despite grabbing two wins from their last 2 home games der Dino will have a hard task of keeping out an in form Wolfsburg side on Saturday which is why I’m going for a Wolfsburg win here.
Cologne – Freiburg
Freiburg are slowly picking themselves up from the horrid form they have endured for the majority of the season. They have a win and a draw in their last two games. Cologne are still winless but a draw against an in form Schalke side last time out will give their confidence a much needed boost. The Billy Goats will be led in the dugout by Stefan Ruthenbeck, who is set to remain in charge until the winter break. Having barely put together a squad for the UEL game against Red Star, they have 11 injured players for Sunday’s relegation six pointer. Moreover, they will miss Osako who was sent off against Schalke. Still with home field advantage they could secure their first win of the season. I mean, Cologne have grabbed one point at home, the same as Freiburg away from home, so something has to give, right?
Hannover – Hoffenheim
After their remarkable start to the campaign Hannover are showing signs of struggles. Missing key players like Jonathas, Waldemar Anton and Ihlas Bebou has been a massive problem and H96 have been without a win in their last four matches. They have only managed a point in their last four games and their last win was way back in October ( 4-2 against Dortmund). You could even say they are in DANGER:
— TM Gerüchte (@TMgeruechte) December 6, 2017
Their opponents are not particularly enjoying the best of times either, having gone out of the Europa League, but after a 4-0 win you can do very little to curb their enthusiasm.
Hannover will face a stern test on Sunday making an away win very likely.
Augsburg vs Hertha
Augsburg are on a superb run at the moment! They have won their last two games and have climbed the table to seventh. Eight goal striker Alfred Finnbogason grabbed a brace last week and will be the danger man again this weekend, but don’t forget about Michael Gregoritsch who quietly has seven! Speaking of seven:
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) December 7, 2017
They do have a couple of key absentees: Daniel Opare, who along with the aforementioned Philipp Max has arguably been the surprise fullback combo of the Bundesliga is suspended, while poor Erik Thommy, who has looked good in his brief stint as a starter suffered an ankle injury.
Hertha aren’t enjoying the best of times. They have lost three of their last five games and their only win in that stretch was against bottom side Cologne. Their Europa League campaign hasn’t been a success, but at least they fielded coach Dardai’s son Palko and Justin Klinsmann, who managed to save a penalty to prevent a home loss vs Östersund:
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) December 7, 2017
Despite resting most of their starters and a recent uptick in attack thanks to Davie Selke, Valentino Lazaro and Fanatic favorite Vedad Ibisevic finding his goal scoring boots, a home win is still on the cards.