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DW pundits take aim at match day 23 results

We've often read that 'expert' predictions in the stock market often fare no better than throws at a dartboard. So we thought, why not see how it goes for Bundesliga results?

Bundesliga logo and dartboard

Yes that is a bull's eye, in case you were wondering

After last week's bout of lead poisoning (don't ask, just take a look at the points tally), DW's pundits have decided that steel is their metal of choice - namely, steel darts. In an effort to improve our score, we're channeling out inner Phil “The Power” Taylor's, standing back the regulation 237 centimeters, and having a throw.

Friday, February 18

Nuremberg - Frankfurt

Two sides headed in opposite directions here. Nuremberg have the third-best record in the season's second half, while Frankfurt are dead last. There are good reasons for this. Nuremberg has remained stingy in defense and is getting goals from all corners, including one from last week's impressive debutant Timothy Chandler. Eintracht can't buy a goal, not even from their usual guarantor Theofanis Gekas. We see no reason this should change.

Prediction: Nuremberg 2-0

Saturday, February 19

Dortmund - St. Pauli

St Pauli players celebrate

St. Pauli had not beaten Hamburg away since 1978

If you miss this game, you'll miss the Bundesliga's form team: St. Pauli. After their shocking defeat of cross-town rivals Hamburg in a make-up game on Wednesday night, Pauli are leading the second-half table. They haven't always looked great doing it, but their teamwork-and-fitness approach has got results and taken them up to 28 points, ever closer to the magical 40 most Bundesliga clubs equate with safety. If it seems to you that cracks are beginning to show in the edifice of Dortmund's grand season, don't believe it. They may have drawn three of five since the winter break, but have yet to put on a bad performance and, more importantly, yet to lose.

Prediction: Dortmund 3-1

Hamburg - Bremen

After last week's slim 1-0 win (their third in four matches), talk began to mount that Hamburg just might be able to ride their luck into Europe, perhaps even the Champions League. Losing at home to St. Pauli didn't help in that effort. What might be a boon to those hopes, though, is this home match against their other arch-rivals, the all-around dreadful Werder Bremen. Hamburg's fans expect a reaction, and so do we.

Prediction: Hamburg 2-1

Hoffenheim - Cologne

This Cologne team has now won three of four, which means this column is no longer allowed to make its near-weekly jokes at their expense. What we its authors are allowed to do, however, is pick against them. We think Hoffenheim's having been sent through a wood-chipper last week in Munich (courtesy of Robben & Ribery's Tree Service) should fire them up to dish out some punishment of their own on Saturday.

Prediction: Hoffenheim 3-0

Wolfsburg's Pierre Littbarski

Littbarski does not exude an air of confidence at Wolfsburg

Freiburg - Wolfsburg

New coach Pierre Littbarski couldn't stop the Wolves' bleeding (profuse, at this point) in his first match last week, a home loss to Hamburg. He will have Brazilian maestro Diego to call on this week, but it's hard to say whether that will be productive or disruptive. Lucky for them then, that Freiburg is a bit out of sorts too, having won just one of five since the break. History, however, is on Freiburg's side. Wolfsburg have never won in Freiburg, and we don't think they will here either.

Prediction: 1-1 draw

Hanover - Kaiserslautern

The very fact that Kaiserslautern didn't give up a string of chances last week against Dortmund speaks to their tenacity in defense. But that was at home in Kaiserslautern where, on the right night, the fans can push a player to heights he's not normally capable of. Hanover, meanwhile have very quietly put together the league's second-best home record, and we don't think this week is the one where it will be tarnished.

Prediction: Hanover 2-0

Mainz - Bayern

Mainz's away win over Bayern in September was just about the peak of things for the Carnival Club. It was their sixth win on the trot to open the season, and came with great goals from Sami Allagui and Adam Szalai. Since then, it's been a much rockier road. Their streak would be snapped at seven games, and since then their record has been mediocre at best: five wins, one draw and nine losses. We see the new and improved Bayern (now with added Robbery!) brushing Mainz aside.

Prediction: Bayern 3-1

Sunday, February 20

Leverkusen - Stuttgart

Stuttgart player covers his face

There's been more of this pose than the one with the raised arms in Stuttgart

For all the talk of disappointment and underachievement, perhaps it's time to state things plainly after months of evidence: Stuttgart are a bad team made up of undisciplined, maddeningly inconsistent players, and they are likely to go down. Leverkusen, after years of wobbliness, seem finally to have found steady form, and have rode that to second place. If they do have a weakness, it's their rather ordinary home form, but that shouldn't be too much worry - Stuttgart are simply awful away. We can't think of a reason not to pick Leverkusen here.

Prediction: Leverkusen 2-1

Gladbach - Schalke

Our hearts were warmed this week when Borussia Mönchengladback turned to Lucien Favre as their next coach. No, not just because we still have fond memories of his time at Hertha Berlin (though we do), but because it meant Gladbach recognize that they are all but down already and wanted to pick a long-term successor to fix the myriad problems in the team. Schalke looked handy at midweek, getting the score draw away from home that the wise men so often demand in two-legged matches. But will they finally be able to keep their head of Champions League steam up in the league? In that this is Gladbach, wethinks they will.

Prediction: Schalke 1-0

Last week's results: 3 points

Total for the season: 95

Bayern-Hoffenheim 4-0 (Prediction: 1-2)

Schalke-Freiburg 1-0 (Prediction: 0-1)

Stuttgart-Nuremberg 1-4 (Prediction 0-2)

Wolfsburg-Hamburg 0-1 (Prediction 1-3)

Frankfurt-Leverkusen 0-3 (Prediction 2-2)

St. Pauli-Gladbach 3-1 (Prediction 3-2)

Kaiserslautern-Dortmund 1-1 (Prediction 4-1)

Cologne-Mainz 4-2 (Prediction 1-1)

Bremen-Hanover 1-1 (Prediction 0-1)

Author: Matt Hermann
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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