Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
Saturday May 02, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 2
Bayern Munich’s joy at winning a 25th German title turned to ashes pretty quickly, as their old rivals Borussia Dortmund dumped them out of the German Cup on penalties just two days after top spot had been secured. Although failure to secure a second domestic double will burn Bayern’s perfectionist coach Pep Guardiola, he knows his legacy in Bavaria will truly be defined by what happens in the Champions League.
Guardiola faces his beloved Barcelona in Catalunya on Wednesday, and as a result this trip to face in-form Leverkusen is pretty low on the list of priorities. There is a crippling list of injuries which includes Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Franck Ribery and now Robert Lewandowski, and it will be fascinating to see which line-up Guardiola selects on Saturday evening.
The market clearly thinks it will be a hugely weakened side, as Bayern are unusually [3.25] outsiders, a price that’s also based on the fact that Leverkusen have won seven of their last eight Bundesliga games. It’s a tricky game to call – Bayern’s squad is so deep that they’ll still field a talented starting eleven, and Bayer haven’t beaten the champions at the BayArena for more than three years.
I’m more attracted to the [2.18] on offer for backing No in the Both Teams To Score market. Bayern won the reverse fixture 1-0, and the German Cup clash between the sides at the BayArena was a 0-0 draw, before the tie went to penalties. Bayern have kept clean sheets in five of their last six Bundesliga games, while Leverkusen have managed shut-outs in six of their last eight league outings.
Back No in the Both Teams To Score market at [2.18]
Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt
Saturday May 02, 14:30
It’ll be an emotional day for Eintracht Frankfurt coach Thomas Schaaf, as he returns to the Weserstadion where he served Werder Bremen as a player and coach for 35 years. He’ll be warmly received by the fans in Bremen, who still have the utmost respect for a man who gave everything for the northern giants.
The man who is now at the helm in Bremen is also Werder through and through. Viktor Skripnik played under Schaaf for Werder, as did his assistant Torsten Frings. Skripnik has transformed Werder’s season, and they are still in the hunt for a Europa League spot.
The key to Werder’s revival under Skripnik has been the club’s improvement at home. They have won seven of their 11 home games since Skripnik took charge, racking up five clean sheets in the process.
Frankfurt have nosedived since losing top scorer and talisman Alex Meier to injury, and they have lost six of their last seven away games. To make matters worse, gritty and intelligent midfielder Stefan Aigner is also out with a thigh problem. Defender Alex Madlung is suspended, and his potential replacement Marco Russ isn’t fully fit.
Bremen have injury worries too, but most of their key players are fit, and at [2.16] they look overpriced to win this regardless of the Schaaf factor.
Back Werder Bremen to win at [2.16]
Freiburg v Paderborn
Saturday May 02, 14:30
With the title wrapped up and the Champions League qualification places dished out, the relegation battle is now by far the most interesting aspect of the season. Realistically, five clubs are battling to survive, and two of them meet in the Black Forest.
Freiburg did really well to fight back from 2-0 down at Stuttgart last weekend thanks to a second-half brace from on-loan Werder striker Nils Petersen. The former Bayern Munich forward really struggled at the Weserstadion in the first half of the campaign, but since his move he has scored six goals in just eight appearances.
If Freiburg are to escape the drop yet again under the combative and inspirational leadership of coach Christian Streich, it will be their home form that gets them out of jail. Freiburg have won two of their last three home games, and 18 of their 30 points this term have been collected in the Black Forest. Three of their four home victories this term have come since Christmas.
Paderborn are gamely battling the drop, despite having the lowest budget in the league and arguably the least experienced squad. They blew a 2-0 lead at home to Werder last week, drawing 2-2. That means Andre Breitenreiter’s men have won just twice since Christmas, and away from home they have lost their last four matches.
Freiburg’s fans generate a great atmosphere for big games, and with Petersen in lethal form, I think the hosts can make their extra quality tell against a hard-working but limited Paderborn side.
Back Freiburg to win at [2.04]
Wolfsburg v Hannover 96
Saturday May 02, 14:30x
Wolfsburg’s brave bid to win the Bundesliga finally came to an end last weekend with defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach, but Dieter Hecking’s men bounced back superbly in midweek by reaching the German Cup final. The Wolves demolished third-tier Arminia Bielefeld 4-0 to book a fascinating Berlin showdown with Borussia Dortmund. Winning only the second major trophy in Wolfsburg’s history would be a fitting reward for the players’ efforts this term.
Wolfsburg’s Lower Saxony rivals Hannover are having a nightmarish end to the campaign. After winning six of their first 11 league games, Hannover had to bat away questions about an unlikely push for the top four. That talk proved to be fanciful in the extreme, and the 96ers have lost seven of their last 11 games to slip into the relegation maelstrom.
Struggling and inexperienced coach Tayfun Korkut was kept on for far too long, and when he was finally jettisoned, he was replaced by Michael Frontzeck in a move that defied belief or explanation. Frontzeck failed at Gladbach and St Pauli, and had been out of the dugout for 18 months when Hannover came calling.
Frontzeck’s first game in charge was last week’s 2-1 home defeat to Hoffenheim, and I don’t think this derby will yield better results. Hannover have lost four of their last six away matches, and they haven’t won on the road since November.
Wolfsburg have no fresh injury concerns, and haven’t yet secured second place, so they don’t lack motivation. They have won six of their last seven home games in the league, and they drubbed Hannover 3-1 in the reverse fixture.
Back Wolfsburg -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.14]
Kevin will be commentating on Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich for TuneIn Radio and talkSPORT. To hear live commentary, search “Bundesliga English” on the TuneIn app, or visit the official Bundesliga website
2014/15 Bundesliga P/L (1pt per bet)
Points Staked: 123
Points Returned: 132.9
P/L: +9.9 points