Leagues Tipped:

WE'RE delighted to welcome German Football expert Raphael Honigstein to the site for the new season, thanks to our partner Unibet.

You may know Raph from his excellent work on BTSport where he shares his knowledge of the European game and we're hoping he can make some of that know-how pay for us on MrFixitsTips. Best of luck Raphael!

Cologne v Hamburg, Friday 7.30pm

Cologne started their season with a 1-0 derby defeat at arch-rivals Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. They were under the cosh for most of the first half but Jhon Cordoba was still able to cause Gladbach problems throughout, even if he didn’t score.

That should encourage Peter Stoger ahead of Hamburg’s visit, especially with Yuya Osako returning to training this week and set to feature at the Rhein Energie Stadion. With 25 goals last season, former striker Anthony Modeste took the majority of the headlines for Cologne’s 5th place finish but Osako’s role as his sidekick should not be downplayed.

Hamburg, on the other hand, endured a mixed opening day win in a way that only they can. Sure, Nicolai Muller’s early goal ensured a precious 1-0 victory against Augsburg and a timely boost for coach Markus Gisdol after their embarrassing exit in the cup a week before.

Yet, Muller ruptured his cruciate ligaments whilst celebrating, ruling him out now for the next seven months. Widely regarded as their most important attacking player, losing Muller is a huge blow. Aaron Hunt will take his place in Cologne whilst centre-back Mergim Mavraj is set to return from injury to face the club he left only in January.

This game will be a greater test for Hamburg than Augsburg. Cologne’s home form last season was the foundation for their Europa League qualification and the return of Osako should help give them what was missing last week against Gladbach. Go for a first win of the season for Cologne at 1.90.

  • Score prediction: Cologne 2, Hamburg 1 (9.0, Unibet)
  • First goal prediction: Cordoba (5.25, Unibet)
  • Safe bet: Cologne to win (1.90, Unibet)

Eintracht Frankfurt v Wolfsburg, Saturday 2.30pm

No Bundesliga team collected less points than Eintracht Frankfurt in the second half of last season. The ensuing summer has seen key players go, with Jesus Vallejo returning to Real Madrid after a loan spell whilst long serving full-back Bastian Oczipka moved  north to Schalke.

Eleven new signings have arrived in Frankfurt but last week’s showing against Freiburg suggested Niko Kovac has managed to fit them in to his way of playing. The game ended goalless yet as Kovac pointed out, it was his team who had the better chances to win the game. Sebastian Haller in particular shone up front for Frankfurt with the Freiburg defence struggling to handle his physical presence.

Kevin-Prince Boateng, Frankfurt’s most recent acquisition, also looked lively after coming off the bench and is likely to start in place of Japanese forward Daichi Kamada.

Overall, Eintracht Frankfurt’s performance showed promise. Wolfsburg’s display against Borussia Dortmund did not. Coach Andries Jonker spoke after the game about being surprised by Dortmund and seemingly, his team were too.

The Wolves struggled to create a chance and looked weak defensively but Jonker maintained on Thursday that they’ve got “a really good team. Now we just need to prove our true footballing qualities.”

They will need to up their game significantly on Saturday if they are to take anything away from Frankfurt. New defensive signings Marcel Tisserand and William might help but on the opening weekend’s showings, it’s Frankfurt who look far better placed to win. Back a home victory at 2.30.

  • Score prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 2, Wolfsburg 1, (9.50, Unibet)
  • First goal prediction: Haller (6.10, Unibet)
  • Safe bet: Eintracht to win (2.30 Unibet)

Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich, Saturday 2.30pm

You’ll struggle to find a team in the Bundesliga who have a good record against Bayern Munich in recent years. Werder Bremen, for example, have endured a wretched time against the record champions, having drawn three and lost 17 of their last 20 games.

Hope, though, springs eternal on the banks of the river Weser, with sporting director Frank Baumann saying that Werder’s time to beat them has come again.

Such was the hit-and-miss performance given by Bayern Munich last Friday, you can understand why Werder might fancy their chances this time round. Bayern’s attack seemed to be in decent working order but the nine clear-cut chances that Leverkusen were afforded suggested much work was needed defensively.

Sven Ulreich was excellent in goal for Bayern last week but you’d think the return of Manuel Neuer might offer a little more assurance to the backline, should he be fit enough to make his comeback from injury. Up the other end of the pitch, Arjen Robben could be in line to make his first start of the season. The question is just who he would come in to replace.

Werder Bremen’s trip to Hoffenheim last week had two big ‘what if’ moments – what if midfielder Florian Kainz had not missed an open goal in the first half? And what if Andrej Kramaric’s effort had not taken such a wicked deflection to go in and defeat Werder late on?

Werder fans would tell you that they’re due a bit of luck against Bayern but with talents such as Thomas Delaney and Max Kruse, they do have the potential cause Bayern problems. The unconvincing nature of Bayern’s display last week makes backing the double chance of a Werder win or a draw very tempting at 4.35.

  • Score prediction: Werder Bremen 2, Bayern Munich 2 (20.0, Unibet
  • First goal prediction: Kruse (11.50, Unibet)
  • Safe bet: Werder win or draw (4.35 Unibet)

Hannover v Schalke, Sunday 5pm

Stripping Benedikt Howedes of the Schalke captaincy immediately put the pressure on coach Domenico Tedesco ahead of their opener against Leipzig. The 2-0 win, coupled with a good performance of his team, vindicated his decision.

The revitalised Yevhen Konoplyanka epitomised the team’s greater hunger and urgency but they did well to tactically shut out Leipzig for the most part as well. Now Tedesco has the chance to build on that display against one of his predecessors in Andre Breitenreiter.

You couldn’t say there was quite the same conviction in his team’s 1-0 win away at Mainz last Saturday. Particularly in the first half, Breitenreiter’s side rode their luck with goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner keeping them in the game before Martin Harnik struck a second-half winner.

Still, Tuesday saw the arrival of striker Jonathas from Rubin Kazan for a club record €9million and he is set to go straight into the starting lineup on Sunday. Centre back Salif Sane, meanwhile, returns from suspension and is likely to come in for Florian Hübner.

However, the atmosphere in Hannover is likely to be subdued, from the home fans at least, due to their opposition to chairman Martin Kind, with the fans promising an ongoing atmosphere boycott at the start of the season. On last week’s evidence, Schalke should be able to edge out Hannover either way with an away win priced at 2.15.

  • Score prediction: Hannover 1, Schalke 2 (9.0, Unibet Unibet)
  • First goal prediction: Konoplyanka (8.0, Unibet)
  • Safe bet: Schalke win (2.15 Unibet)

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Munich-born Raphael Honigstein writes about football for Germany’s biggest broadsheet, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, ESPNFC and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.

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