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Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim (Sat 2.30pm)
The league leaders weren’t all that convincing in their 4-2 win against Werder Bremen last Saturday. Thomas Muller, scorer of a brace against the northerners, admitted that Bayern had taken it a little too easy.
Ensuring that the team keep their focus ahead of the Champions League tie against Besiktas next month will be Jupp Heynckes’ main concern. Without meaningful competition in the league once again, the temptation to play at 80 per cent and rely on their stupendous individual quality is very strong.
Against Hoffe, Heynckes is expected to stick with a 4-1-4-1 formation that allowed James Rodriguez a lot of freedom to pull the strings behind the strikers and wingers but puts pressure on the defence when the opposition play quick counter-attacks.
Hoffenheim’s recent record against Bayern – they’re the only side who didn’t concede a single goal to the Bavarians in 2017 – provides encouragement for the visitors. Their away record, on the other hand, has been a real problem. One point from the last four matches away from home explains their slip down the table over the last couple of months.
Without Sandro Wagner, who moved to Bayern during the winter break, scoring goals has become a problem as well. Only Mark Ute (nine goals) has been a consistent threat. Julian Nagelsmann will hope that Serge Gnabry, the on-loan Bayern winger, will be spurred on by the chance to impress his employers. His pace could well cause the Bavarians a bit of trouble and make this a tight contest.
- Bayern 2, Hoffenheim 1 (8-1, Unibet)
- Gnabry to score first (14-1, Unibet)
- Hoffenheim +1.75 handicap (29-25, Unibet)
Dortmund v Freiburg (Sat 2.30pm)
Will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang return to the fold for one last hurrah? That is the question on everybody’s minds ahead of Borussia’s home game against Christian Streich’s remarkably resistant SC.
BVB coach Peter Stoger announced that the door was still open for the Gabon frontman, in recognition that the striker’s much-vaunted move to Arsenal might yet break down over the German club’s fee demands but reintegrating Aubameyang into a dressing room that’s been unnerved by the way he has pushed for the transfer won’t be easy at all.
In terms of goalscoring prowess, The Black and Yellows could certainly do with the 28-year-old’s presence up front. Without him, they have struggled to score goals and create meaningful chances. Two disappointing draws in 2017, at home to Wolfsburg and at Hertha, have stopped the revival under Stoger in its tracks. Sixth place is not nearly good enough by their standards.
Freiburg, on the other hand, continue to confound all doubters and look set for mid-table safety before too long. Their 3-1 win over RB Leipzig marked another outstanding performance against the odds. Dead-ball situations have been a particular forte: Streich’s men have score nine of their last eleven games from either corners or free-kicks. Freiburg frustrated Dortmund with a five-man defence in their 0-0 draw at home in the first half of the season and will look for a similarly dogged performance.
- Dortmund 0, Freiburg 0 (17-1, Unibet)
- No goalscorer (17-1, Unibet)
- Both teams to score – NO (Evens, Unibet)
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.