German Bundesliga will hold the 20th week in this Valentine's Day weekend. Both Hoffenheim and Bayern München will face the great challenge in order to secure their place. Together with the post international matchday, there will be more uncertainties this week. Last week I have correctly tipped 5 matches and there were 2 correct scores within these. Now here's my tipping for this week:
1899 Hoffenheim (1st) vs Bayer Leverkusen (4th) - Friday: An early blockbuster this match week. Hoffenheim last week was a bit lucky to equalize the game against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The suspension of Carlos Eduardo and the injury of Vedad Ibisevic seemed to be the main factor that led Hoffenheim failed to win. It is very obvious that the absence of the duo led the team lose the core of the attack. It may help this week as Carlos Eduardo is free from suspension. However, the effect of Ibisevic's absence is still significant. Bayer Leverkusen on the other hand is starting to face the mid-season slump. They only managed to have 1 point in 2 matches. The loss against Stuttgart was tragic and they were comprehensively beaten. It is doubtful that Henrique is fit enough to play, as the center back replacement Lukas Sinkiewicz is having a tragic form. Arthur Vidal is suspended this week also affects the team so much. Toni Kroos may start this match, but it is very doubtful about his influence. I believe both teams are having their own trouble so a draw is very likely.
Last matchup: Leverkusen win 5-2
My tip: Match draw 2-2
Hertha Berlin (3rd) vs Bayern München (2nd) - Saturday: This is another huge blockbuster this match week. Hertha Berlin brought surprises to all bookmarkers that they played so well and solid. Their solid defense is very hard to break. Andrei Voronin is in top form, he made a lot of efforts last week against Armina Bielefeld but the other players could not finish for him. Voronin will be the great threat to Bayern as Marko Pantelic is not likely to start due to the conflict between the coach. Bayern München at the same time they picked up the form in the Nick of Time as they beated Borussia Dortmund last Sunday. Franck Ribery was a bit unlucky that he was unable to score goal as he made a lot of efforts in that match. However, Luca Toni is in the cold streak so it is very important for Miroslav Klose to score goals to lead to win. The defense of Bayern's away game is very solid, they only concede 9 goals so far as I believe they slow down the tempo. The key point of this match is if anyone can convert the limited chances into winning goal.
Last matchup: Bayern win 4-1
My tip: Bayern win 2-0
Eintract Frankfurt (12th) vs VfL Wolfsburg (7th) - Saturday: Not much surprise from Frankfurt as their performance so far is far from enough from being relegated. The whole team is not at a heavy pressure as they are far from qualifying the European matches as well. Nikos Liberopoulos is in top form and he can absolutely relieve the pressure of captain Ioannis Amanatidis. I believe Liberopoulos will still be the most important attacking force in this week. Wolfsburg on he other hand they are very good in home, but the poor away form always drag them down. Eden Dzeko played very well last week but he cannot perform as good as in home when they are away for matches. Grafite also has the same problem as well, so I do not believe they will make anything different in this week. I believe this is very clear that Frankfurt will win this one.
Last matchup: Match draw 2-2
My tip: Frankurt win 2-0
Hannover 96 (13th) vs VfB Stuttgart (6th) - Saturday: Hannover last week they lost to Energie Cottbus is not that surprised to me as they have changed too much. This week they go back home to play, there maybe different. This is because their defense is not that solid at all. The return of captain Robert Enke did not have any significant influence to the defense so this week they will also have a hard time to stop Stuttgart. The only different is the home court advantage can boost their morale and keep holding on. On the other hand, Stuttgart is in a very good form. They are still unbeaten in Bundesliga since the caretaking coach Markus Babbel is on the hot seat. Mario Gomez is improving his form and he will bring lots of threats to Hannover this week. Mathieu Delpierre on the other hand is becoming more solid every week, so it is very hard for Hannover to score goals. Consequently, I believe even Stuttgart is the away team, they are able to beat Hannover.
Last matchup: Stuttgart win 2-0
My tip: Stuttgart win 2-0
1. FC Köln (11th) vs Karlsruher SC (16th) - Saturday: Köln last week had played quite well, captain Milivoje Novakovic is very good in form and not he scored 2 goals last week, but he made lots of chances as well. I believe he will be the most important player who can lead the team to win this week. Pedro Tonon Geromel is the other important defender in the team in order to stop Karlsruher attack. Together with home court advantage, they have the upper hand. On the other hand, Karlsruher even boosted their morale after the great comeback against Hamburger SV, they have another trouble afterwards. The suspension of Marco Engelhardt really does hurt the team as Karlsruher will have not any midfield defense. As their defenders are always being outplayed, they will have a hard time to hang on.
Last matchup: Köln win 2-0
My tip: Köln win 3-0
Werder Bremen (10th) vs Borussia Mönchengladbach (18th) - Saturday: Werder Bremen did not perform well at all after the winter break. They are facing another huge slump as they did not get any point in last 2 matches. This week Diego and Claudio Pizarro will continue to serve his suspension so their attack is drastically affected. However, facing Gladbach is their very good chance to bounce back as Gladbach is not a strong team and their remaining attacking force is able to breakthrough. Gladbach on the other hand was very encouraging that they were so close to beat Hoffenheim. Goalkeeper Logan Bailly seems to be the right purchase of Gladbach as he made saves after saves last week. It is very unlucky for him to be unable to get a clean sheet or even a win. However, the defenders and the defensive midfielders make me very worried that if they can relieve the pressure to Bailly or even bring more harm to him. So I believe the key point of this match is how long Gladbach can hold.
Last matchup: Mönchengladbach win 3-2
My tip: Werder Bremen win 2-0
VfL Bochum (17th) vs Schalke 04 (8th) - Saturday: Bochum last week was back to original, they have lost to VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 showed that the team did not have any improvement, and also showed the week 18 victory was just a fluke. Diego Klimowicz and Vlad Munteanu are yet to be proven for they are capable to save the team from trouble. However, as the team now is running out of time, they are very hard to perform well instantly as they do not have time to mix and match. Schalke 04 on the other hand, Benedikt Höwedes caught the only chance to score and win against Werder Bremen. Even a win is a win, it showed that the attacking force such as Jefferson Farfan and Ivan Rakitic are not on form. The only weapon they have to win match is their defense. The pathetic attack from Schalke is enough to lead them to win this week, and with the solid defense, I believe they are able to carry through with a slim victory.
Last matchup: Schalke win 1-0
My tip: Schalke win 1-0
Borussia Dortmund (9th) vs Energie Cottbus (15th) - Sunday: Borussia Dortmund showed their inexperienced problem against Bayern last week. Felipe Santana made a huge mistake to make the team wasted all the efforts before 87th minute. They played very well last week and they were so close to hold out a draw and even a win, but I did not blame anybody as experience needs time. Captain Florian Kringe is the only factor I concern as he does not look confident at all so far. I do hope he can build up his confident soon. Energie Cottbus on the other hand they seem to start to bring out of trouble. They had beaten Hannover 96 comprehensively gave fans a huge confident. However, it is very unlucky to face Dortmund this week. It will be another very tough match for them as Dortmund outclass them. Even though the home record for Dortmund is not so good, I believe Cottbus will be very hard to beat them and Dortmund will have an easy win.
Last matchup: Dortmund win 1-0
My tip: Dortmund win 3-0
Hamburger SV (4th) vs Arminia Bielefeld (14th) - Sunday: Hamburger is the only team made me very disappointed last week. They could not hold on the lead and came home nothing in the end against Karlsruher. However, they are the different team in home so I still give the confident to them. The suspension of both Ivica Olic and Mlaten Petric makes me worried a bit as they do not have the other good striker. However, the defense of Bielefeld is so weak that Hamburger's remaining attacking force will be able to score goals. Bielefeld on the other hand, Artur Wichniarek is the only player who is in top form, and the others cannot help him at all. So his performance is the key Bielefeld to win this game. Even Bielefeld had 4 points in recents 2 games, which can be said they are in top form, I do not believe they can continue in this match and Hamburger will win this one due to excellent home form.
Last matchup: Hamburger win 4-2
My tip: Hamburger win 3-0
That's it for this week. Happy Valentine's Day!