DW's pundits attempt to fish out the right results from the teeming pool which is match day 25 in the Bundesliga by sitting on the many knees of the dearly departed Paul the Octopus, hoping to learn something.
Paul knew what he was doing. DW's pundits...not so much
If the DW pundits had been Paul the Octopus last weekend (may his tentacles rest in peace) then there would have been a fair chance that we would have been served up as a deep-fried calamari side dish on a plate of "what were you thinking?" The pundit panel has put in a few calamitous displays this season but last week's woeful performance really took the fishcake. Hoping to do the dearly-departed Paul more justice this week, the eight-legged pundit collective serve up another set of forecasts for match day 25…acutely aware of the scraping sound of sushi knives being sharpened in the background.
Friday, March 4
Dortmund - Cologne
Cologne may be on the up and unbeaten in four games but the true test of their revival will come on Friday when they travel to Dortmund to face a team which must now be considered champions-elect. Dortmund swatted defending champions Bayern aside last week and will be even more confident - if that's possible - that they can extend their lead at the top with victory over 11th-placed Cologne. BVB have been clinical at home and we think this could be embarrassingly one-sided, even if Cologne turn up strutting with their own newly restored self-belief.
Prediction: Dortmund 3-0
Saturday, March 5
Stuttgart - Schalke
Blue Wednesday: Schalke knocked Bayern out of the cup
Hope springs eternal in Stuttgart after VfB's 2-0 win over Frankfurt last week but they still remain in the bottom three, one win from safety. We've seen Stuttgart climb out of trouble on a number of occasions in this calamitous season only to slip back into danger but if they can manage it one more time at this stage, it could be their salvation. A home win against a Schalke team which is still struggling for league consistency would certainly help. However, Schalke turned Bayern over in the German cup semifinal at midweek and could bring the result of that fillip to the Mercedes Benz stadium. We reckon it'll be close, whichever way it goes.
Prediction: Schalke 2-1
Frankfurt - Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern could climb out of danger if they beat a Frankfurt side looking devoid of confidence as the drop-zone beckons. Kaiserslautern's spirited draw with Hamburg should give them a ray of light to drag themselves towards after weeks of relegation gloom and with Saturday's opponents coming unstuck against Stuttgart last week, the pendulum may have swung in the away team's favor ahead of this game. Frankfurt have only won four of their home games this season and so if ever there was an opportunity for 16th-placed Kaiserslautern to get out of the bottom three, this is it.
Prediction: Kaiserslautern 1-0
The defeat to Mainz may have cost the Hoff some belief
Gladbach - Hoffenheim
Gladbach are all but doomed now, but there seems to be a tiny amount of resilience left. They looked good in their defeat of Schalke two weeks ago and staged a late fight-back in Wolfsburg last week - nearly drawing a game they had no business of even being in. If they're going down - and let's face it, they are - they're going down fighting. Depending on how hard they battle on Saturday, they might get something out of this game as Hoffenheim seem like they've lost their taste for any kind of scrap. Last week's loss to Mainz may have not have damaged their league position but it will have inflicted some extra dents to the Hoff's already brittle confidence. Still, on their off days, Gladbach are woeful and even a halfway decent Hoffenheim performance should be enough to beat them.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 2-0
Hanover - Bayern
Bayern are now forced to battle the likes of Hanover for the last Champions League spot after kissing goodbye to what was already a tenuous championship dream at Dortmund last week. That they may even struggle to get anywhere above fourth is testament to how disappointing their title defense has been this season. Hanover are two points clear of the faltering champions and seem in better shape to hold the course. They've been scarily consistent for most of the season, whereas Bayern have been positively bipolar. The way we see things, Mirko Slomka's team will need no added motivation to beat Bayern.
Prediction: Hannover 3-1
Nuremberg - St. Pauli
St. Pauli are battling to stay in the Bundesliga this season
From a mathematical perspective, Nuremberg are very much still in the running for a Europa league slot next season - just four points off of Mainz in fifth place. This should give them some motivation as they take on the brown swarm that is FC St. Pauli this weekend. On the other hand, Pauli have their survival to play for. They know that a couple of bad results could see them dragged back into the relegation battle, a fray they’ve worked so hard over the past two months to free themselves from. We expect the Kiez Club to put up all manner of resistance.
Prediction: St. Pauli 1-0
Leverkusen - Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg recorded their first win under interim coach Pierre Littbarski last week, but that doesn’t mean they're safe from the drop. After a dismal run had dragged them to 15th, their win meant they climbed a place, but a defeat to second-placed Leverkusen on Saturday could see them drop right back down. It will be crucial for Littbarski to build on the victory over Gladbach but Leverkusen are an opponent of a different class. The Wolves will probably have to face another squad of walking wounded before their revival can be continued.
Prediction: Leverkusen 3-0
Sunday, March 6
Reality is dawning on Bremen and it's not a happy feeling
Freiburg - Bremen
At the start of the season, it wouldn't have been unfair to imagine Freiburg in 15th and Bremen in 7th. And yet, in March, it's the other way round. Werder are the team with nine games to save their top flight status while Freiburg could quite easily finish the season with a Europa League place as a reward for their mighty efforts. It's been whispered for most of this season, but now it should be shouted from the rooftops of Bremen: Werder are in a relegation dogfight. Defeat in Freiburg, with Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart winning, would send them second from bottom. Even if results elsewhere go in their favor, a loss would be very costly. This is a must-win game, bit we don’t think they’ll be up to it.
Prediction: Draw 1-1
Hamburg - Mainz
It was nice to see Mainz record a win last week. It reminded us all what we've been missing for the past month - not just a Mainz victory but the spirited effort and dogged determination coupled with no little flair which saw them atop of the summit early in this campaign. They can still dream of the Champions League if they get on a roll, or simply hold on and make it into the Europa League. Hamburg sit one place below them in 6th but it's the smaller club that appears more resilient right now. It may be a big ask for Mainz to go to the Imtech Arena and come away with a win but it's not beyond the realm of possibility, given the waywardness Hamburg have demonstrated at times this season.
Prediction: Mainz 1-0
Last week's results: 3 points
Total for the season: 106
Wolfsburg - Gladbach 2-1 (DW Prediction: 0-1)
Schalke - Nuremberg 1-1 (DW Prediction: 1-2)
Hoffenheim - Mainz 1-2 (DW Prediction: 1-1)
Cologne - Freiburg 1-0 (DW Prediction: 2-2)
Kaiserslautern - Hamburg 1-1 (DW Prediction: 1-0)
St. Pauli - Hannover 0-1 (DW Prediction: 1-3)
Bayern - Dortmund 1-3 (DW Prediction: 2-3)
Frankfurt - Stuttgart 0-2 (DW Prediction: 0-1)
Bremen - Leverkusen 2-2 (DW Prediction: 1-3)
Three points for a correct score prediction
Two points for a correct margin prediction
One point for a correct winner prediction
Author: Nick Amies
Editor: Matt Hermann