This season, the DW Sports team are predicting the results of all Bundesliga matches. After a bumpy round one - and an even worse performance a week later - they'll try to get it together this week.
After a poor start, DW reckons a big week is in the cards
Match day three in the Bundesliga is upon us, and DW's team of football freaks are seeking redemption - and hoping that when it comes to picks, it's a case of third time's a charm. (Or at the very least for things to go back to normal.)
After a weak first round - when, admittedly there's not much to go on when filling out your bet slip - the Bundesliga gods belched up one of their most unexpected sets of results in recent memory: a match day with seven away wins and a bona fide shocker in Bayern's loss to promoted team Kaiserslautern.
As you might expect, the prediction squad took a hit (see our results at the bottom of the page). But still we rise.
Friday, September 10
Hoffenheim - Schalke
The footballing playthings of SAP billionaire Dietmar Hopp have burst into the new season at full stride, dispatching Bremen at home and handling Pauli away. Vedad Ibisisevic is back in great form up front and Ghana's World Cup run this summer appears to have done defender Isaac Vorsah a world of good. The winless Schalke are … a work in progress, at best. But there is reason for hope. Benedikt Hoewedes is back from suspension, which will help shore up their creaky back line, and Raul no longer has a donkey named Edu for his strike partner - rather he'll have a face familiar to him from Madrid in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. I like them to snatch a point.
Saturday, September 11
Borussia Dortmund - Wolfsburg
Mueller is fast ebcoming the man in Munich
Dortmund have been up and down thus far, laying an egg at home to Leverkusen, and then flying high away from home Stuttgart. In Mario Goetze, they've unearthed another young German gem and Shinji Kagawa (bought for 350,000 euros - $446,000) is surely the steal of the season. Wolfsburg were unlucky to lose on opening night to Bayern, but just plain blew it against Mainz, surrendering a three goal lead to lose 4-3. Taking into account the injured Arne Friedrich's continuing absence from the center of defense and a knock that might keep creative maestro Diego out of the starting line-up, I can't see Wolfsburg getting a result in Dortmund.
Prediction: Dortmund 2-0
Hamburg - Nuremberg
HSV's Ruud van Nistelrooy has been chewing up Bundesliga defenses, notching three goals in his first two games. Nuremberg, meanwhile, just eked out a draw at Gladbach and wilted to defeat at home to lowly Freiburg. Hamburg should win at a canter.
Prediction: Hamburg 3-1
Borussia Moenchengladbach - Eintracht Frankfurt
A tough one to call, this. If Gladbach are half the side they were in their 6-3 demolition of Leverkusen in week two, it's not a contest. Then again, if they revert to their ordinary form, Eintracht - who were unfortunate to go down in week one to Hanover before being steamrolled by Hamburg in week two - have the horses to get a draw, or even win. Home advantage and Frankfurt's injury worries in defense (Vasoski is out, Chris is day-to-day) should tip this for the Foals.
Prediction: Gladbach 2-1
Freiburg - Stuttgart
Van the Man is getting his first taste of the Millerntor stadium
In any derby, observers are meant to "throw out the record books." So I will. Despite Freiburg having picked up three points to Stuttgart's none so far this season, I reckon Baden-Wuerttemburg's big boys just have too much quality to keep on stinking out stadiums every week. New signing Mauro Camoranesi will steady the ship in midfield, while Cacau will have a big game against a suspect Freiburg back line.
Prediction: Stuttgart 3-1
Hanover 96 - Bayer Leverkusen
Among the sides with six points after two match days, the Reds are surely the most surprising. But their results have been convincing - they fought Eintracht to a stalemate before snatching a late win, and played Schalke off the park. Much of this comes down to good transfer dealing which has brought much-needed quality. Emanuel Pogatetz and Mohamed Abdelloue were inexpensive and have done the business, and I expect DaMarcus Beasley (brought in on a free transfer) to do the same. The only trouble is, this week they host Leverkusen, who are just too fast up front for their aging defense.
Prediction: Leverkusen 3-2
Bayern Munich - Werder Bremen
Per Mertesacker's injury in Germany's win over Azerbaijan this week came at precisely the wrong moment for Werder - just in time to weaken its back line for one of its sternest tests of the season in Munich. Mikael Silvestre, who Bremen picked up ahead of the transfer deadline and will now have to throw into the center of defense, will probably get torched by the likes of Thomas Mueller, Ivica Olic, and Franck Ribery. Bremen's only chance will be to get big games out of new boys Wesley and Marko Arnautovic - which they may well do.
Prediction: Bayern 4-2
Sunday, September 12
Mainz - Kaiserslautern
You hear that Lakic? DW Sports says you're due to cool off
A shock table-topping clash with both sides on six points, this game is likely to see one of the two participants unmasked as a pretender for top-half status. I see Kaiserslautern as the likelier candidate. The Red Devils are very solid at the back, but I don't trust their on-fire hitman Srdan Lakic (three goals in two matches) to stay ablaze much longer. Mainz, on the other hand, have another year of top-flight experience under their collective belt and earned several stripes with their four-goal fight back in Wolfsburg in week two.
Prediction: Mainz 2-1
Cologne - St. Pauli
These two sets of supporters have a "fan friendship" - an odd German custom wherein two clubs' ultras agree, over a period of years, to get along rather than taunt each other. With that in mind, as well as each club's fans' reputation for liking a drink or four, this game ought to have a party atmosphere. The teams may well spoil it. St. Pauli's hell-for leather approach can be entertaining, but is low on ball skill. And the more defensive-minded Cologne, more often than not, makes for putrid viewing. Expect a draw.
Last week's result: 4 points
Kaiserslautern – Bayern Munich 2:0
(DW Prediction 2:2, no points)
Schalke - Hanover 1:2
(DW Prediction 3:1, no points)
Bremen - Cologne 4:2
(DW Prediction 3:0, one point)
Wolfsburg - Mainz 3:4
(DW Prediction 1:1, no points)
Frankfurt - Hamburg 1:3
(DW Prediction 0:1, one point)
Nuremburg - Freiburg 1:2
(DW Prediction 1:1, no points)
St. Pauli - Hoffenheim 0:1
(DW Prediction 0:2, one point)
Leverkusen - Moenchengladbach 3:6
(DW Prediction 3:1, no points)
Stuttgart - Dortmund 1:3
(DW Prediction 1:2, one point)
Total for the season: 9
Three points for a correct score prediction
Two points for a correct margin prediction
One point for a correct winner prediction
Author: Matt Hermann
Editor: Nancy Isenson