After 22 weeks of Bundesliga, the title challenge is still an unknown. Hertha Berlin had claimed the 1st spot as they were the only team who could claim all 3 points. Hoffenheim still could not solve the problem of the absence of Vedad Ibisevic and they will have the great challenge this week. Now here's the tipping of this week:
Schalke 04 (8th) vs 1. FC Köln (10th) - Friday: Schalke still had the problem of the attacking. It seemed coach Fred Rutten could not solve this problem at all. Even though Schalke had scored 2 goals last week, the attacking players were still inconsistent. Kevin Kuranyi again is still in cold streak and he just played in the first half in the DFB Pokal loss against Mainz. The midfield still could not create anything as Ivan Ratikic could not perform well. The attacking was still in the cold streak. I believe they are very hard to score against Köln. On the other hand, the defense of Köln is very solid recently, it is very hard to break them through. However, the attacking is too relying on Milivoje Novakovic. The midfield has the great power to tackle the opposition but they cannot assist the strikers. So I believe this match is all about the finishing and creativeness. Even Schalke has home court advantage, it is still hard to call they can win.
Last matchup: Köln win 1-0
My tip: Match draw 1-1
1899 Hoffenheim (3rd) vs Werder Bremen (11th) - Saturday: The match of the week. Hoffenheim has the problem of attacking since Vedad Ibisevic cannot play anymore this season. Demba Ba seems to be the best reliever but he is not so consistent. The defense still has lots of problems based on the position and the timing of tackle. Carlos Eduardo is still the creator of the team and he is very important to score against Werder Bremen. At the same time, Werder Bremen did very well against Bayern München last Sunday, but they lost Naldo as he had received a red card and caused him a 3-match suspension. Petri Pansenan is predicted to play as the centre back just like last match and it is still doubtful if there is any impact to the defense. Per Mertesacker is still the key player in the match as Werder Bremen needs to stop conceding goals to lead them to win. I believe this is a high scoring match and the team with better defense wins.
Last matchup: Werder Bremen win 5-4
My tip: Match draw 3-3
Borussia Mönchengladbach (18th) vs Hamburger SV (2nd) - Saturday: Gladbach seems to be improving in the recent weeks. However Hertha Berlin was too good for them so they lost the game. Marko Marin and Alexander Baumjohann are still the most important players in the team and they do hope they can rely on the home court advantage to bring a victory. However Gladbach needs the better defense in order to stop conceding goals as Hamburger are good on attacking. Hamburger was very surprising for me as they lost to Wolfsburg at home and missed the chance to be the 1st in the table again. I personally am pretty worried about them this match as their away match form is quite poor. Ivica Olic and Piotr Trochowski are the most important players in the team as they can create goals well. Marcell Jansen is another player to watch out for as his runs in left flank is very threatening. However, the poor away form drag them down. So this is the very tricky call for me and Gladbach has chance to make surprises.
Last matchup: Hamburger win 1-0
My tip: Match draw 1-1
Bayern München (5th) vs Hannover 96 (12th) - Saturday: Bayern could not convert the great form in Champions League into the league and they failed to win against Werder Bremen with 1-man advantage. Even worse, they lost to Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB Pokal. The main reason was the players were not fit and they had very few options in the squad as there was not any squad depth at all. Franck Ribery and Miroslav Klose will be very important as Luca Toni is very likely to be out of action. Also, they must defend well as they always concede goals before the score that leads them to have great pressure up front. It is quite lucky for them that they only face Hannover this week. Hannover is very poor in the away form, even though they won against Leverkusen last week, it cannot prove they are recovering in terms of form. So I still give my vote to Bayern, even they will concede goals again.
Last matchup: Hannover win 1-0
My tip: Bayern München win 3-1
Energie Cottbus (16th) vs Hertha Berlin (1st) - Saturday: Cottbus is the other team who is improving quickly. They were very careless that they lost to Bochum 3-2 last week. However, they showed their spirit and roughness to the opposition, the obvious example was the victory against Werder Bremen 2 weeks ago. So I think they can surprise Hertha Berlin this week. At the same time, Hertha Berlin is too relying on the home form but it seems they do not know how to win a game away from home. Andrei Voronin and Nicu will be the players Cottbus needs to watch out for and they are the main force to score goals. Even Hertha Berlin are very fit recently but I do not think they can win this one, as their away form is quite poor and Cottbus fighting spirit can bring Hertha Berlin trouble.
Last matchup: Cottbus win 1-0
My tip: Cottbus win 2-1
VfL Wolfsburg (4th) vs Karlsruher SC (17th) - Saturday: Wolfsburg is playing under the raider and they slowly but surely climb up to the 4th in the table. Now they are one of the title contenders. Eden Dzeko and Grafite keep improving the form and together with the solid defense from Andrea Bazagli, I personally am very confident that they can keep winning this week. Karlsurher on the other hand, I do not think they can make anything special this week as they have a very poor form recently. Also, they still cannot find the scoring formula. So they are very hard to score goals against the opposition. Even Wolfsburg lost 5-2 against Werder Bremen in DFB Pokal, Wolfsburg will not be affected and keep winning.
Last matchup: Karlsruher win 2-1
My tip: Wolfsburg win 3-0
VfB Stuttgart (7th) vs Borussia Dortmund (9th) - Saturday: Stuttgart finally had found the way to win the game, but the opposition was too weak for them. However, they are still in a good run as they are still unbeaten since the arrival of Markus Babbel. I believe their good form will keep on and they will bring lots of pressure to the opposition. On the other hand, Dortmund cannot convert their form into winning the game so they keep drawing. They have drawn 12 games out of 22 games so I believe it is very likely to draw this week. Mohamad Zidan and Nelson Valdez must pick up his form in order to break up the draw curse to win the game. The key of this game is who can break this deadlock first.
Last matchup: Dortmund win 3-0
My tip: Match draw 2-2
Arminia Bielefeld (15th) vs Eintract Frankfurt (13th) - Sunday: Bielefeid is still struggling to get the best form yet. Even Artur Wichniarek is in the good form but I do not believe he is good enough to bring the team out of trouble. I do not see there is any help from the team so if he play badly, the team will lose. On the other hand, Frankfurt did not have any motivation to win the game as they believe they are good enough to remain at the Bundesliga. So I believe this game Bielefeld will control the game and they will win this one in small margin.
Last matchup: Match draw 1-1
My tip: Bielefeld win 2-1
Bayer Leverkusen (6th) vs VfL Bochum (14th) - Sunday: Leverkusen is very inconsistent in terms of defense. They failed to win against Hannover last week and they remained at 6th position only. Manual Friedrich is out for injury for 8 weeks will hurt the team very much, as Lukas Sinkiewicz is very shaky in the defense line. I believe this is the weakest link of the team and Bochum may find some chance there. However, the victory of DFB Pokal will boost their morale very much so that I believe they still have upper hand. On the other hand, Bochum showed their toughness to beat Cottbus 3-2 last week and I believe this morale will keep on this Sunday. However, Leverkusen is too good for them to beat, so I believe Leverkusen can take all 3 points.
Last matchup: Leverkusen win 3-2
My tip: Leverkusen win 2-0
So that's it for this week! Happy weekend!