DW′s pundits hanging in there as Bundesliga enters final straight | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.04.2011
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DW's pundits hanging in there as Bundesliga enters final straight

Three weeks to go and this Bundesliga season, which looked like a procession at times, is still alive and full of possibilities. As the title race enters the final straight, DW once more attempts to get the scores right.

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Can DW's pundits predict the Bundesliga's exciting climax?

Friday, April 29

Bremen - Wolfsburg

Bremen have at last dragged themselves free of the wreckage of their season but Wolfsburg remain a car crash many can't avert their eyes from, despite last week's 4-1 drubbing of Cologne. The Wolves are still in deep trouble and with games coming up against a nervous Kaiserslautern side and unpredictable Hoffenheim, the last three matches have to be all-or-nothing for Felix Magath's boys. Bremen are unlikely to take their feet off the gas with the prospect of being dragged back down the table should their last-gasp revival stall so Wolfsburg will be in for a traditionally tough time at the Weserstadion.

Prediction: Bremen 2-1

Kaiserslautern - St. Pauli

St. Pauli's players greet their fans

St. Pauli's loyal fans will cheer them to the bitter end

Kaiserslautern will be pinning a photo of Houdini up on the dressing room wall again this week in the hope of being inspired by the escapologist as tantalising rays of daylight continue to appear between them and the relegation zone. Last week's victory over Schalke picked the lock and now the chains can be cast aside with a win over a seemingly doomed St. Pauli side. There can be no slip ups though as any defeat will see Kaiserslautern dragged into trouble again. St. Pauli are already there. Their season-long slide has taken them to the bottom of the league at the worst possible moment and they have an air of condemned inevitability about them.

Prediction: Kaiserslautern 3-0

Saturday, April 30

Dortmund - Nuremberg

We gave Dortmund the kiss of death last week by saying that an easy win against the bottom club would give them the title. Gladbach responded by shocking the champions-almost-elect and extending the title race for one more week. A win at home for BVB against Nuremberg and a Leverkusen defeat will hand Dortmund the title. The reverse set of results will make things very interesting. Dortmund can't afford to fritter away any more of their lead and will know it can all be over this Saturday if they show the form which has seen them dominate for most of the season. One would expect them to triumph in front of their fanatical support.

Prediction: Dortmund 3-1

Hamburg - Freiburg

Hamburg's Mladen Petric

HSV have spluttered throughout but may come good

Hamburg, for all their inconsistency, have remarkably hauled themselves into a mathematically possible shot at Europe. Freiburg, equally remarkable considering their status and size, were in that same position just a few weeks ago. Now these two teams have swapped places with Freiburg tiring after a season of over-achievement and Hamburg finally getting the wind in their sails. Even last week's defeat to Stuttgart hasn't disrupted HSV's slow rise and while it takes a lot of variables going their way for them to make the Europa League, they'll certainly try their best.

Prediction: Hamburg 1-0

Mainz - Frankfurt

Frankfurt's draw with Bayern last week will have given Christoph Daum a certain amount of pleasure, not least that it put the brakes on Munich's push for the Champions League. It didn't improve his own team's position though, which is still precarious, but disrupting the plans of his nemesis will have felt as good as three points. An equally combative performance will be needed to get the better of Mainz who still have the Europa League in their sights. After losing to Hannover two weeks ago, they appear back on track. Frankfurt will have their hands full.

Prediction: Mainz 1-0

Hoffenheim - Stuttgart

Stuttgart's Pavel POGREBNYAK

Stuttgart are climbing out of relegation trouble at last

Stuttgart look to have maintained a revival at the right time after so many false dawns this season. Last week's convincing win over Hamburg took them clear of the drop zone and another couple of wins should see them safely rescued. Hoffenheim continue to be an enigma – which makes our job a lot harder. One week they look like they can be bothered, the next they look like they can't wait to jet off to Dubai. After losing to Leverkusen last week, perhaps the changing room was littered with travel brochures beforehand. This could mean they may be up for this one. Or not. Who can tell?

Prediction: 2-2

Cologne - Leverkusen

Not as spicy as many of the derbies scattered throughout the Bundesliga calendar but still a big deal for both these neighbours on the Rhine, especially with Leverkusen still holding onto their title hopes and Cologne freefalling back towards the relegation zone. Leverkusen gained more ground on Dortmund last week and if they stand any chance, they have to keep winning and hope the leaders slip up again. Cologne showed the inept form which kept them hanging around the bottom three for most of the season last week and with their coach jumping ship early, confidence will be low. Leverkusen will certainly hope to take advantage.

Prediction: Leverkusen 2-0

Sunday, May 1

Hannover - Gladbach

Hannover players celebrate

Hannover keep up their challenge to qualify for Europe

Without taking anything away from Gladbach's win over Dortmund last week, the form guide suggests that it was an anomalous result and that we shouldn't expect a repeat at Hannover. Mirko Slomka's side are one of the form teams at the moment and can smell the Champions League from their current place in third. Gladbach's win over BVB lifted them off the bottom of the league for the first time in nineteen weeks but they still remain deep in the mire. It's unlikely that they will be able to string enough victories together to escape the drop and Hannover are odds-on here to be celebrating three points and a step closer to Europe's premier club competition come the final whistle.

Prediction: Hannover 3-0

Bayern - Schalke

Bayern are running out of time to save their season by qualifying for the Champions League. They can expect to play catch-up with Hannover for the remaining games and will have to rely on slip-ups - while not having any of their own – to claim third place. It's hard to say what Schalke team they will face this weekend. The Royal Blues looked well off the pace against Manchester United in midweek and could be tiring as this diverse and disrupted season comes to a close. Should Schalke come into this game with a European hangover, it could come down to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to keep Schalke in the game and show the Bavarians that he's worth the money his current club are hoping to extract from the one hoping to sign him this summer.

Prediction: 1-1

Last week's results: 4 points

Total for the season: 139 points

Freiburg – Hannover 1-3 (DW Prediction: 2-2)

Schalke – Kaiserslautern 0-1 (DW Prediction: 2-0)

Leverkusen – Hoffenheim 2-1 (DW Prediction: 3-1)

Stuttgart – Hamburg 3-0 (DW Prediction: 1-1)

Frankfurt – Bayern 1-1 (DW Prediction: 0-4)

St. Pauli – Bremen 1-3 (DW Prediction: 1-3)

Gladbach - Dortmund 1-0 (DW Prediction: 0-2)

Wolfsburg - Cologne 4-1 (DW Prediction: 2-1)

Nuremberg - Mainz 0-0 (DW Prediction: 1-0)

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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