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DW pundits pick over the bones for match day eleven predictions

After last week's woeful performance on the predictions front, DW's soccer pundits abandon the ouija board and resort to throwing left-over fast food around and sticking pins in dolls in pseudo-voodoo ceremonies.

Bundesliga voodoo doll

DW's experts will do anything to get the scores right

The life of a soccer pundit is not exactly one full of health and vitality. When we're not crammed in like sardines with the other 40-odd thousand fanatics in various stadiums, we're sitting on our backsides, staring myopically at big-screen televisions, often within arm's reach of plenty of alcohol and junk food.

While punditry confines the expert to a somewhat sedentary existence, it does have its advantages. Imagine how hard it would be to find the chicken bones needed to help in this week's predictions if we hadn't just polished off an entire bargain bucket of fried poultry. Armed with greasy remnants, we can now cast them into the dirt circle at our feet and hope to make sense of the formations as we look to forecast the results of week eleven. Let the bones fall where they may…

Friday, Nov. 5

Schalke - St. Pauli

St. Pauli are on the slide, which is a shame because their early season form suggested that they were made of sterner stuff. After losing to Stuttgart two weeks ago, the proverbial stuffing seems to have been knocked out of them - as was evident in the 3-1 home reverse to Frankfurt last week. Luckily, they face Schalke this week. Felix Magath's team are all over the place and even the strict disciplinarian and championship-winning coach can't knock them into shape. The Veltins Arena is no longer a fortress and Pauli may come to Gelsenkirchen fancying their chances of arresting their descent and claiming a big scalp. If they come away with the spoils, don't be surprised to see Magath down the job centre come Monday.

Prediction: St. Pauli 2-1

Saturday, Nov. 6

Hamburg - Hoffenheim

HSV's Paolo Guerrero in action

Hamburg have found the going tough at times this season

Are Hamburg in crisis? Any other team with talent like HSV's who perform as erratically as them would certainly consider themselves to have problems. But this seems to be par for the course for the red-shorts over the past few years, so it may not be a crisis but more of a terminal case of dry rot. Something needs to change even if they beat Hoffenheim this week - which they won't. The Hoff may still be far off the pace in terms of a title push, but the 4-0 thumping of Hannover showed what they're capable of when in the mood. HSV's defeat to Cologne will have stung, but not enough to prevent the Hoff coming to town and leaving with the points.

Prediction: Hoffenheim 2-1

Frankfurt - Wolfsburg

Has he or hasn't he? Got it right, that is. One week Steve McClaren looks to have got a grasp of the Bundesliga, his team tactics and his players' strengths, the next it looks like he hasn't got the foggiest. Two weeks ago, Steve's boys looked like sheep in Wolves’ clothing. Last week they showed their fangs before chewing up a recovering Stuttgart team up and spitting them out. Which Wolfsburg team turns up at Frankfurt is anyone's guess, but it'll need to be a confident one. Eintracht have their own tails up and have climbed to fifth after going five games unbeaten. The chances are high that they'll extend this to six and start worrying the Champions League positions.

Prediction: Frankfurt 2-0

Moechengladbach - Bayern

Bayern's ominously clinical victory over Freiburg last week showed signs of a team which had rediscovered their mojo. Up to seventh now - but still ten points off the summit - the German champions will need to keep stoking the fires to get up the necessary head of steam to charge towards first place in the coming weeks. What better time to play Gladbach, who are in freefall? Or at least they were, until they hit rock bottom last week. Bayern should continue their climb with their first away win since September - and in so doing, teach Gladbach that their nightmare is not yet over.

Prediction: Bayern 3-0

Freiburg - Mainz

Thomas Tuchel

Mainz coach Tuchel has tasted defeat just twice so far

It's unlikely that the 2-0 home defeat to Dortmund last week will lead to Mainz imploding. Thomas Tuchel's team has too much character for that. It will have been a kick in the teeth though, which will make Mainz an even more dangerous proposition for Freiburg. Bayern thumped the Breisgauers last weekend and a wounded Mainz team may do the same if coach Robin Dutt doesn't get his players into the right head space. Mainz have only lost two games so far this season and won all the rest so if they do travel south looking for revenge, the chances are high that Freiburg will get mauled.

Prediction: Mainz 3-0

Nuremberg - Cologne

Cologne clawed their way out of the relegation zone last week with their shock win over Hamburg. It was a shock because it was only their second victory of the season and in most of their matches so far, they've looked dire. Werder Bremen aside, no-one has really given Cologne the spanking they deserve yet and that's because of their stifling tactics which limits the opposition's - and their own - creativity. New coach Frank Schaefer seems ready to instill a more positive ethic in the team, but old habits die hard. Plus Nuremberg are no slouches themselves in the department of defense.

Prediction: Nuremberg 1-0

Sunday, Nov 7

Hannover - Dortmund

Dortmund are now unbeaten in the league since their opening day defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen. What's most impressive is that they've already beaten a string of teams that traditionally finish ahead of them in the Bundesliga, which is the kind of form a team needs to be crowned champions. There's a long way to go before they can consider that possibility but another win against Hannover on Sunday will at least keep their grip on top spot. Hannover will be more than satisfied with their league form to date, but they've been losing to the big teams - and this season Dortmund are definitely one of those.

Prediction: Dortmund 2-0

Leverkusen - Kaiserslautern

Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Eren Derdiyok, fourth from the left, celebrates his goal with teammates during a Europa League soccer match against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid Thursday Sept. 30, 2010.

Leverkusen have been steadily accumulating points

Compared to the sounding of trumpets which accompanied their early-season good form last year, Leverkusen are playing it cool this season, quietly rising up the league with only two defeats to their name so far. In fact, this year’s group of pharmaceuticals seem to be relishing the few headlines they are making, aided by the fact that media flytrap Michael Ballack is still out injured. Kaiserslautern enjoyed a comfortable win over Gladbach last week - but then, so have most teams. Leverkusen away will be a different proposition - just don't expect any fanfare.

Prediction: Leverkusen 1-0

Stuttgart - Bremen

Torsten Frings has accused his Bremen team mates of lacking a killer instinct. It was certainly missing in the 3-2 home defeat to Nuremberg last week. Bremen have now lost four games in the league this season, and there are clearly problems in all areas of the team, from a shaky backline to ponderous midfielders and misfiring strikers. Rollercoaster results are not a new thing at Bremen, but this inconsistency is costing them in a campaign where the traditional hierarchy has been shaken up. Bremen could be taking advantage, but they're not. Stuttgart could too, if they don't let Jens Keller's early good work go to waste. The new coach was powerless to avoid his first defeat in charge last week but Bremen's visit gives him the opportunity to show his mettle.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

Last week's results: 3 points

Bayern - Freiburg 4-2 (DW Prediction 2-1)

Bremen - Nuremberg 2-3 (DW Prediction 3-0)

Wolfsburg - Stuttgart 2-0 (DW Prediction 0-1)

Cologne - Hamburg 3-2 (DW Prediction 0-2)

Kaiserslautern - Moenchengladbach 3-0 (DW Prediction 2-2)

St. Pauli - Frankfurt 1-3 (DW Prediction 1-1)

Schalke - Leverkusen 0-1 (DW Prediction 2-3)

Mainz - Dortmund 0-2 (DW Prediction 1-3)

Hoffenheim - Hanover 4-0 (DW Prediction 0-1)

Total for the season: 46

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

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