Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin
Saturday April 25, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 1
In my preview of Bayern’s Champions League quarter-final against Porto, I suggested Pep Guardiola’s men were capable of extraordinary things, as so it came to pass. Bayern tore the Portuguese giants to shreds on Tuesday, racing into a 5-0 lead by half-time and ultimately winning the second leg 6-1.
The stunning comeback from a 3-1 first-leg deficit was a total vindication of Guardiola’s chosen style of play, and the single-mindedness and dedication to perfection which saw him fall out with veteran club doctor Hans Muller-Wohlfahrt. Media speculation surrounding Guardiola’s position has proved premature, and I’ll be very surprised if he leaves Germany at the end of this season.
Having booked their place in the Champions League semis, Bayern will hope to wrap up a record 25th Bundesliga title this weekend. The Bavarians will be confirmed as champions if they get a better result at home to Hertha Berlin than second-placed Wolfsburg can manage at Borussia Monchengladbach.
I expect Bayern to complete their part of the bargain pretty comfortably against a Hertha side that has nearly done enough to guarantee survival. Coach Pal Dardai has done a great job at the helm since replacing Jos Luhukay, steering the capital club seven points clear of the bottom three. Hertha have lost just two of Dardai’s ten games in charge, and they are unbeaten in seven matches.
Hertha will have to make a massive step up to live with Bayern, and it’s a leap I don’t think they are capable of making. Opta tell us the visitors haven’t beaten Bayern in Munich since 1977, and since returning to the top flight in 2013 they have lost all three encounters with the champions. To make matters worse, Dutch winger Roy Beerens is injured, playmaker Anis Ben-Hatira isn’t fully fit and midfield workhorse Hajime Hosogai has recently been in hospital with a bacterial infection.
Bayern have won 18 of their 20 games at the Allianz Arena in all competitions, and 14 of those victories have come via a margin of two goals or greater. I suspect they’ll be on the cusp of winning the title by Saturday night.
Back Bayern Munich -2.0 on the Asian Handicap at [1.8]
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt
Saturday April 25, 14:30
Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour as Borussia Dortmund boss got off to the perfect start last weekend, as Paderborn were dismissed 3-0 at Signal Iduna Park. That victory moved BVB to within six points of the Europa League qualification slots, and with a German Cup semi-final coming up at Bayern on Tuesday, Die Schwarzgelben have two potential routes into continental competition.
I seriously doubt Klopp will play a weakened side on Saturday, even with a fourth Klassiker of the season coming up so soon. Marco Reus is back from injury, right-back Lukasz Piszczek is finally back in training, and midfield schemer Ilkay Gundogan should recover from a sore throat.
Frankfurt haven’t looked the same since losing the league’s top scorer Alex Meier to a season-ending injury, and they have lost five of their last six away games. They have leaked a league-high 33 goals away from home, and Opta tell us they have won just one of their last 18 Bundesliga games in Dortmund.
Frankfurt don’t just lose on the road, they get bashed, with five of their eight away defeats coming by a margin of two goals or greater. This should be a comfortable home win.
Back Borussia Dortmund -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [1.92]
Stuttgart v Freiburg
Saturday April 25, 14:30
This is a good old-fashioned relegation six-pointer. Stuttgart are second from bottom, but a win would lift them out of the automatic dropzone, at least temporarily. Freiburg looked to be surging clear of the dogfight a few weeks ago, but a run of one point from three games has dragged them back into the mire.
Stuttgart have given themselves hope of survival with thrilling back-to-back home wins against Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen. The 3-2 win over Bremen saw them dig incredibly deep. After Martin Harnik had been foolishly sent off, the Swabians conceded a late equaliser. With ten men you’d have thought such a stinging blow would have finished Stuttgart off, but they found the strength to push for a winner, which in-form striker Daniel Ginczek duly delivered.
Ginczek has scored five goals in his last four games (he is 50-50 for Saturday with a thigh injury), and it has been Stuttgart’s recent commitment to attack which has yielded dividends. They have scored at least once in seven of their last nine Bundesliga outings.
Freiburg have picked up some important home wins in 2015, but their away form is awful. Christian Streich’s men have lost four of their last six away games, failing to score in five of them, and only Paderborn and Hamburg have collected fewer points on their travels this term.
History isn’t on Freiburg’s side either – Opta tell us they have lost six of their last seven games against Stuttgart, including the last four. Martin Harnik is back from suspension for Stuttgart, and he has scored seven league goals against Freiburg, at an average of one every 83 minutes. One more might be enough to claim a third straight home win for the hosts.
Back Stuttgart to win at [1.94]
Paderborn v Werder Bremen
Sunday April 26, 14:30
Paderborn were most pundits’ top tip to be relegated before the campaign began, so they deserve credit for still being in with a chance of survival. They are out of the bottom two, but wins for either Hamburg or Stuttgart on Saturday would see them sink into the dropzone before kick-off on Sunday.
Paderborn are looking for back-to-back home wins after beating Augsburg 2-1 a fortnight ago, but it’s worth considering they have failed to score in 11 of their last 13 league games, and they have kept just two clean sheets since Christmas. Their confidence is incredibly fragile.
Werder are still in the mix for a Europa League spot, which is testament to the incredible transformation wrought by coach Viktor Skripnik. Last weekend’s morale-boosting derby win over Hamburg put the northerners into seventh spot, and they have lost just four of their last 15 games.
Bremen thrashed Paderborn 4-0 in the reverse fixture, and if they play anywhere near as well as they can, they’ll win this. They shouldn’t be [2.74] outsiders to take three points, so let’s take advantage by backing the visitors with a bit of insurance.
Back Werder Bremen Draw No Bet at [1.97]
Kevin will be commentating on Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach v Wolfsburg for TuneIn Radio with talkSPORT. For 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: 119
Points Returned: 129.98
P/L: +10.98 points