The DW pundits have searched high and low for the right stuff in their Bundesliga preditictions this season. But perhaps the answers were right on their palms all along. Or so goes the latest scheme...
It may look like a scam...but at least it's an inexpensive one
The DW Bundesliga pundits have had it with eastern wisdom. All the deep breathing and lotus positioning we did last week brought nothing but a few close-but-no-cigar picks and an achy back. Either it's all rubbish, or the garnering of good karma isn't so instant after all.
In any case, we're back to our old tricks - feeding slugs into penny arcade machines in hope that they really can tell us nine correct scores, all by the lines on our greasy palms.
Friday, November 26
Mainz - Nuremberg
With five wins, five losses, three draws, and sitting in 10th place, Nuremberg come pretty close to setting the standard for mediocrity in the Bundesliga. They have enough ball skill and goal-scoring threat in players like Julian Schieber, Mehmet Ekici, and Ilkay Guendogan to stay competitive in most matches, but that's not enough to put the hammer down on anybody. In other words, they've played a lot of close matches. Mainz have too - eight of their 13 games so far have been one-goal margin affairs - but there's a difference: Mainz usually win.
Prediction: 2-1 Mainz
Saturday, Nov. 27
Bayern Munich - Frankfurt
Mario Gomez should be skipping and jumping again on Saturday
Eintracht is one of Bayern's bogey teams – the Frankfurters have managed to get a win or a draw off the Bundesliga goliaths in five of the last seven years in which they've been in the top flight together. Often it's an all-out display of bunkering in which their keeper plays the hero. (See Oka Nikolov's 38-save performance of 3 November 2007 for details.) This time around, things should be different. First off, Frankfurt are in the unusual position of looking down at the Bavarians in the table. And second, in Michael Skibbe they now have a coach who likes his team to play football. This should make for an exciting match, but a likely loss for the “moody diva.”
Prediction: 3-2 Bayern
Hamburg - Stuttgart
Hamburg's season began with the promise of a new coach, a squad that was finally healthy, and a dance card free of European distraction. Hopes were high – some were even talking about the title. All that has evaporated, as Armin Veh looks like he's in over his head, the injury bug struck back with a vengeance, and the lack of midweek games became grounds for second-stringers to grumble about not getting a game. Their saving grace in this week's match is that Stuttgart look even worse. If you lose at home to Cologne, as the Swabians did last week, you are in a world of trouble.
Prediction: 3-1 Hamburg
Hoffenheim - Leverkusen
This match pits last year's late-season swoon specialists against those of two years ago. Each has let success go to its head in past years, but this season they are both quietly putting together solid runs of results that should see them in the hunt for Champions League spots through to the end. Moreover, each is capable of attractive football. We reckon with a draw in the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
Hanover - Freiburg
Slomka deserves a round of applause of his own
There are no two bigger surprises in the Bundesliga than Hanover and Freiburg. Each squeaked to top-flight safety in the season's closing weeks - stunning most observers - and today both are sitting pretty in the top six - to the even greater shock of the soccer pundit class. It's not down to any blockbuster buys either - each side's game-changer (Hanover's Didier Ya Konan and Freiburg's Papiss Demba Cisse) are in their second season at their respective club. Perhaps all it took was a little time for the teams to gel around their stars, and a little more time to learn from these clubs' underrated coaches, Robin Dutt and Mirko Slomka. There's not much in this one, but home field advantage will give an edge to Slomka's men.
Prediction: Hanover 2-1
Kaiserslautern - Schalke
Speaking of home field advantage, there is no tougher atmosphere for a visiting team to overcome than that on the Betzenberg. The 50,000-capacity stadium is sold out for this one, but Schalke is a team that ‘travels' well. Expect several thousand fans to turn up to support the Royal Blues, and expect them to be doing a lot of cheering if their team plays anything like as well as they did against Olympique Lyon at mid-week. Kaiserslautern have improved in recent weeks, but not enough to stop a resurgent Schalke. Prediction: 3-1 Schalke
Dortmund - Moenchengladbach
We could tell you about how Gladbach has played Dortmund close over the years, going down by more than a goal just three times in the last decade, and getting four wins to boot. We could tell you how Gladbach were unlucky to lose last week against Mainz, and have actually looked good for three weeks running now. We could tell you that Dortmund is due for a dip in form. But all that would be rank speculation. This is the first place team playing at home against the last place team, and we're not going to over-think this.
Prediction: 2-0 Dortmund
Sunday, Nov. 28
Bremen - St. Pauli
Times are tough in Bremen. They tailspun out of the Champions League this week, are winless in their last four matches in the league, and the local papers are filled with talk of crisis, seasoned with news of injuries (Wesley is the latest) and tales of misbehavior from the Bundesliga's No. 1 head-case Marko Arnautovic. St. Pauli, meanwhile, have been sliding down the table more quietly. After a strong start that saw them up to sixth after eight matches, they've done little but lose and find themselves in 14th - just where most of us expected to find them. If football games could end in scores with negative numbers, we'd pick that.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
Dzeko's nine goals so far have lifted Wolfsburg to a so-so 11th place
Cologne - Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg are a frustrating side. With the potent likes of Diego, Edin Dzeko, and Grafite assaulting opposing defenses, the Wolves ought to have put up big numbers - and indeed so far they've notched a respectable 21 goals, sixth in the league. Trouble is, they've let in a fifth-worst 22, and their habit of letting in goals in the last half hour has seen them turn wins into draws, or draws into losses, five times already this season. Cologne battled their way to a win last week in Stuttgart, but have thus far been incapable of putting two good results in a row.
Prediction: 2-1 Wolfsburg
Last week's results: 4 points
Schalke - Bremen 4-0 (DW Prediction 1-1)
Frankfurt - Hoffenheim 0-4 (DW Prediction 0-1)
Moenchengladbach - Mainz 2-3 (DW Prediction 0-2)
Freiburg - Dortmund 1-2 (DW Prediction 1-3)
Hanover - Hamburg 3-2 (DW Prediction 2-1)
Nuremberg - Kaiserslautern 1-3 (DW Prediction 1-0)
Leverkusen - Bayern 1-1 (DW Prediction 3-2)
Stuttgart - Cologne 0-1 (DW Prediction 3-0)
St. Pauli - Wolfsburg 1-1 (DW Prediction 0-2)
Total for the season: 58
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: Chuck Penfold