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Pinned down

April 8, 2011

Last week's classic crystal ball prognostication was a relative success. But it lacked a certain daring. This week, the DW pundits deployed pins and needles (and the volatile power of the Loas) to do even better.

Bundesliga voodoo doll
We don't mean to harm the Bundesliga, we promiseImage: DW-Montage

Friday, April 8

Frankfurt - Bremen

Bremen blew a very good chance to ease away from the relegation places last week when they couldn't put more than one past Stuttgart at home in a game they dominated. This week is another six-pointer, as it were, against another team that did themselves few favors by drawing. Both teams should be rabid for a win, but we think Eintracht Frankfurt are slightly better positioned to get it. Christoph Daum's influence as a motivator is not to be underestimated, they'll have a home crowd behind them, and most importantly, Werder will be without their best striker Claudio Pizarro - and Per Mertesacker and Tim Borowski are questionable.

Prediction: Frankfurt 3-1

Saturday, April 9

Schalke - Wolfsburg

Felix Magath in sunglasses
Magath may find his former players' dislike of him almost blindingImage: picture-alliance/Pressefoto ULMER/Markus Ulmer

A number of Felix Magath's former Schalke charges (Jermaine Jones, Jefferson Farfan, Alexander Baumjohann) opened up this week, letting the press know what a Royal Blue pain in the butt he was to work for. Expect a full-blooded performance from Schalke against their former tormentor. Wolfsburg, on the other hand, have more than spite to play for - they're still in grave danger of going down. If they play like they did last week against Eintracht (where they dominated but still drew), this one should be a dandy. We see a lot of goals in this one.

Prediction: Schalke 3-2

Hamburg - Dortmund

Last week everybody said Dortmund was in the clear for the title after they took apart Hanover 4-1 to maintain their seven-point lead over Leverkusen. Nonsense. Five matches is still plenty of time to blow it, and a win at Hamburg is a must. When HSV are on form, they are a handful for any side, Dortmund included. Trouble is, they almost never are. Still, we like a nice tight title race, and thus will pick wishfully.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

Freiburg - Hoffenheim

This match is a picture of meaninglessness. It pits two mid-table sides against each other in the all-important Race for Eighth. If that doesn't whet your appetite (and let us guess…it doesn't), we could talk about the unrest in both camps - Hoffenheim's midfield stalwart Sejad Salihovic and Freiburg captain Heiko Butscher were benched in recent weeks, and have grumbled in public about it. But you'd still probably not tune in. Neither will we.

Prediction: Hoffenheim 2-1

Hanover - Mainz

Hanover players celebrate
Hanover's march to Europe this season looks like it will be successfulImage: AP

Hanover's capitulation last week at Dortmund sent them tumbling out of the Champions League qualifier spot and into the Europa League places. This is probably a good thing - if not for 96 fans then at least for the Bundesliga. Bayern, who took their place in third, will simply bear the German standard in the top rung of European football better than Hanover ever could. This week, against fellow Europa League candidate Mainz, Hanover will try to show they aren't ready to give up the dream just yet. (Their sponsor, package travel company TUI is crossing its fingers too. They plan to send the team on European away journeys in a specially-painted charter jet, and would surely prefer to land it in Milan than Gaziantep.) Mainz, however, are quietly putting together a solid run, having lost just one of their last five. We think it'll be close.

Prediction: Mainz 2-1

Nuremberg - Bayern Munich

Bayern's somnambular 1-0 win last week showed us something. They lack ruthlessness. In its vintage years, Bayern would devour a wounded bird like ‘Gladbach at home: go up early, and then demoralize them with a show of super-club might. The present group is different, content to keep most opponents in the game for all 90 minutes. This week's opponents Nuremberg, though, look to be running out of steam in their attempt to chase down Mainz for a Europa League spot. As expected, they'll hang around in this game, but Bayern's quality will win out.

Prediction: Bayern 1-0

Kaiserslautern fans go wild
Kaiserslautern fans put on a good show, but they're likely to do it in front of second division crowds next yearImage: dapd

Stuttgart - Kaiserlautern

These two poor teams should be on everyone's shortlist to go down. The talented Stuttgart side is beginning to improve, having gone unbeaten in five (picking up 11 points), but the hole they dug for themselves earlier this season was so deep they are still in danger. The trouble with Kaiserslautern is they lack talent, and that's beginning to catch up to them - they're eking out the occasional win, but haven't done so by more than a one-goal margin since November. We think Stuttgart will handle them.

Prediction: Stuttgart 2-0

Sunday, April 10

Mönchengladbach - Cologne

This is one of the Bundesliga's most bitter rivalries, and you can bet that fans of the all-but-doomed Gladbach are looking at this match in two ways: Their wishful-thinking side wants a win as a step toward safety…while their down-to-earth side just wants another win over the Billy goats so they can claim a season sweep as palliative for an otherwise disastrous year. If the foals play as solid a defense as they did against Bayern last week, we reckon they'll do it. (In service of the latter scenario, mind.)

Prediction: Gladbach 1-0

Leverkusen - St. Pauli

Leverkusen players celebrate
Leverkuseners ought to be smiling broadly after their match on SundayImage: dapd

The St.Pauli fan whose accurate toss of a beer cup brought their match against Schalke to an early close last week heaped disgrace on his club. But the team on the pitch was doing a pretty good job of it already. They looked out of their depth, were fouling like mad to make up the gap in class, and their two red cards were utterly deserved. In that Leverkusen are an even better side than Schalke, we can't see this going any other way than pear-shaped for Pauli.

Prediction: Leverkusen 3-1

Last week's results: 7 points

Total for the season: 126

St Pauli - Schalke 0-2 (DW Prediction 1-3)

Bayern - Gladbach 1-0 (DW Prediction 4-0)

Bremen - Stuttgart 1-1 (DW Prediction 2-1)

Dortmund - Hanover 4-1 (DW Prediction 3-2)

Mainz - Freiburg 1-1 (DW Prediction 1-0)

Kaiserslautern - Leverkusen 0-1 (DW Prediction 0-4)

Hoffenheim - Hamburg 0-0 (DW Prediction 1-1)

Cologne - Nuremberg 1-0 (DW Prediction 2-1)

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

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: Nicole Goebel

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