Bundesliga Preview: Bayern within touching distance of another title

Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke 04

Tayfun Korkut will have wished for a better start to his life as Leverkusen boss after only winning 1 in 7 league games since he took charge following Roger Schmidt’s dismissal from the club. Javier Hernandez has failed to find the goal scoring form that took him and Leverkusen to the highest heights of the Bundesliga that saw them clinch Champions League qualification last year.

Schalk, on the other hand, recorded a very respectable 1-1 draw at home to RB Leipzig last time out and saw the ever present Klaas-Jan Huntelaar net to bring Schalke level immediately after the half-time break. A win for Schalke could lift them as high as 8th if other results were to go their way, which would see them knocking on Europe’s door which would be remarkable for them considering the terrible start that they had to the campaign which saw them lose the first 5 games in a row.

For this game, I do expect a very tight affair and despite Korkuts lack of victories, they are still without defeat at home under him so this will not be easy for Schalke and so expect a very entertaining game. I feel a 1-1 draw for this game to kick off Matchday 31.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Köln

Borussia Dortmund haven’t lost at home in the league for over 2 years now and this has been down to that when teams turn up at the Signal Iduna Park they feel intimidated by the fans and there is little belief they will win. Dortmund booked their place in the DFB Pokal final on Wednesday night after a thrilling 3-2 win against Bayern Munich, which means they will now play Eintracht Frankfurt in the final in Berlin.

Köln, on the other hand, came within seconds of being only the fourth team to beat Hoffenheim this season but it wasn’t to be as Kerem Demirbay scored in the 93rd minute to snatch an agonising equaliser in the dying embers of the game and break Köln hearts to take a point with them back to Hoffenheim. For this game, I predict a Dortmund 2-1 win as Köln have got goals in them so expect them to score at least one.

Mainz 05 v Borussia Mönchengladbach

After a torrid bit of form recently, Mainz have managed to kick that now with a win and a draw in their last 2 games and nobody gave them a chance against Bayern Munich in the last Matchday as Bojan managed to put them 1-0 up after just 3 minutes. Although despite this Mainz still only sit 1 point above the relegation playoff in 13th in a very tight relegation battle.

Borussia Mönchengladbach saw a surprise exit from the DFB Pokal semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt which many would have tipped them to win, including myself due to Frankfurt’s poor form at the moment. Gladbach couldn’t have hoped for a better draw really in the semi-final stage and will hugely regret not taking advantage of some of the chances that they had.

For this game, I don’t think there will be loads of goals and I’m struggling to think where the points will go. I think that Mainz will come away with the spoils as Mönchengladbach will feel very deflated from their midweek action so a 1-0 win for Mainz is the result I think will happen.

RB Leipzig v FC Ingolstadt 04

RB Leipzig couldn’t take advantage of Bayern slipping up against Mainz when they faced Schalke last Sunday, and that means that they’re still 8 points adrift and Bayern can claim another successive title if Leipzig were to lose this weekend and Bayern were to win in their game.

FC Ingolstadt were on a roll a few weeks ago by winning 3 games in a row and giving themselves a good chance to get themselves out of relegation, but since then 2 heavy defeats have meant that they’re still stuck in the relegation zone, but all is not lost just yet.

For this game, I feel that Leipzig will be out for revenge as the reverse fixture saw Leipzig’s first defeat in the top flight so I believe that a big win for Leipzig is on the cards as they definitely have the firepower to get a result. I think that this game will end 3-0 to Leipzig.

SV Darmstadt 98 v SC Freiburg

Darmstadt can be relegated this weekend if they lose to Freiburg as 2 wins in 2 wins can’t prevent the inevitable it seems, even though they managed to pick up their first away points of the season in a 2-1 win against Hamburg.

Freiburg this week have announced that they will make the loan signing of Pascal Stenzel a permanent move this summer. Stenzel scored a late winner against Bayer Leverkusen in a very respectable 2-1 win at home which means that they’re currently still sitting in 6th place and in the Europa league places, which not many people will have seen coming in a fantastic season for Freiburg.

For this game, I can only predict a 2-1 win in favour of Freiburg which will seal Darmstadt’s fate to the 2. Bundesliga. Expect to see Darmstadt put up a fight in this game though but personally, I don’t think it will be enough.

Werder Bremen v Hertha Berlin

Werder Bremen are a side that have come out of nowhere and are currently sitting in 7th after spending most of the season tussling with the relegation places and the teams around there. In the space of 10 games, they’ve found themselves sitting in a European spot overtaking Köln last weekend with their fine 4-2 away win at Ingolstadt with an incredible performance from 4 goal hero Max Kruse.

Hertha Berlin, on the other hand, are still struggling away from home and now even Darmstadt have got more away points in 2017 than Hertha. Hertha are still sitting in 5th which is no small part due to their fantastic home fortress of the Olympiastadion. But against a side in amazing form such as Werder Bremen, it’s hard to see where they will pick up points away from home now.

For this game, I believe that a kind 2-0 win for Bremen is on the cards as they maintain their phenomenal turnaround this season.

Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich

2 years ago these 2 teams were battling it out for the Bundesliga title now they’re on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Wolfsburg are in the relegation battle and Bayern are sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga. I say it every week how crazy it is that Wolfsburg actually find themselves stuck in the bottom half of the table. But with a defeat to Hertha Berlin last weekend it’s easy to see why, although not many teams can go to the Olympiastadion and pick up points as teams like Dortmund and Bayern have seen this season.

Bayern, on the other hand, have now gone 5 games without a win and is this the start of a late-season crisis? Probably not, it’s natural that heads will drop when they believe that the league is already wrapped up and exiting from both cup competitions in the space of a week. But Carlo Ancelotti will have expected more from his men this season especially being so close to the Pokal final.

For this game though I believe that Bayern will get back to winning ways in a 2-1 win that sees them move closer to the title and could potentially clinch it this weekend if Leipzig fail to win.

Augsburg v Hamburg

Augsburg currently occupy 16th place and the relegation playoff spot. Last weekend saw an away defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt who managed to pick up their first win in 10 games, and Augsburg really did miss an opportunity to maybe pick up a point or 3 to really put pressure on the other sides around them, at a time when every single point could decide the club’s fate.

Although Hamburg will be left as the laughing stock of the Bundesliga as Darmstadt managed to beat them away from home last weekend, which meant that Darmstadt picked up their first away points of the season. No team wanted to drop points at home to Darmstadt but respect is due to Darmstadt who put in a good performance and deserved the victory.

For this game, I believe that Augsburg will triumph 2-1 as they look to move out of the relegation play-off spots.

TSG Hoffenheim v Eintracht Frankfurt

Hoffenheim are currently still unbeaten at home in the Bundesliga along with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in an underdog story that has captured the footballing world. Hoffenheim were stuck in a relegation dogfight last season until the definition of God in Julian Nagelsmann took the helm of the club, who has taken them to Champions League heights in what has been a bizarre Bundesliga season all round.

There is a glimmer of hope under Niko Kovac for Eintracht Frankfurt which saw them end their winless run of 10 games last weekend at home to Augsburg, giving them a shot at silverware in Berlin in the DFB Pokal final at the end of the season.

For this game, I believe that there will be nothing but a Hoffenheim win on Sunday when these two sides clash, and that a solid 2-0 result for Hoffenheim will be the result of this game.