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Ligue 1 Predictions Matchday 23

Currently, the Ligue 1 dominance of Paris Saint-Germain looks set to continue, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the league hasn’t had it surprises. Strasbourg and Lille may be the two best stories because it was not that long ago that Lille was in a relegation place, and Strasbourg was promoted. They are both competing with the likes of more established sides like Lyon and Saint-Etienne for the European places, and are very much in the hunt. At the other end of the table, Monaco seem to be in a bad spot. Not only are they now six points from safety, but they are on their third managerial change (second manager) and they were busy in the winter transfer window which could be unsettling given the sheer volume of turnover.

February 1, 2019

Lille SOSC vs. Nice

Nice have had a good time against Lille as they haven’t lost in the last nine times these two sides have played. Lille come in flying high in the league and will hope to continue their fine run of form in what should be a good match. I am a believer that teams can have the number of another team, and I think that there will be a draw in this match.

Prediction: Lille SOSC 1-1 Nice

February 2, 2019

AS Monaco vs. Toulouse

Prediction: AS Monaco 0-2 Toulouse

Stade Rennes vs. SC Amiens

Prediction: Stade Rennes 3-0 SC Amiens

Angers vs. Dijon

Prediction: Angers 1-1 Dijon

Reims vs. Marseille

Prediction: Reims 1-2 Marseille

February 3, 2019

Nimes vs. Montpellier

Prediction: Nimes 0-2 Montpellier

Saint-Etienne vs. Strasbourg

Prediction: Saint-Etienne 2-1 Strasbourg

Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Prediction: Lyon 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain

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Bundesliga Predictions Matchday 20

Matchday 20 of the Bundesliga season has arrived and Borussia Dortmund are still comfortably in the top spot, eight points ahead of Bayern Munich. At the opposite end of the table, Hannover 96 and Nürnberg need to start the turnaround or they could be relegated at the end of the season.

February 1, 2019

Hannover 96 vs. RB Leipzig

I see a comfortable Leipzig victory in this match. Hannover are really struggling and lost 5-1 to Dortmund their last time out. Hannover also have the second worst goals conceded marks this term, and a clinical Leipzig attack should prey on that. Expect goals for Leipzig in this one.

Prediction: Hannover 96 0-3 RB Leipzig

February 2, 2019

TSG Hoffenheim vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf

This should be a fixture that Hoffenheim win, but I can’t count against a surprise Düsseldorf result in the match. However, I still think the visitors will be unable to pick up points, but should be able to mount an effective resistance given how SC Freiburg fared at home against Hoffenheim last time out. I expect neither side to keep a clean sheet, and Hoffenheim will have enough to see this game out.

Prediction: Hoffenheim 2-1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Nürnberg vs. Werder Bremen

The visitors come to play the side rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table, Nürnberg. The hosts also have the worst goals conceded mark this term which does not bode well against a team currently sitting near the middle of the table. I can’t see past the visitors in this match that should see them walk out with a comfortable win.

Prediction: Nürnberg 0-2 Werder Bremen

Hertha Berlin vs. VfL Wolfsburg

The hosts face a tough matchup against a Wolfsburg side that has turned things around this season. Both sides sit within striking distance of a European place, but the result here could be influential going forward as both teams are level on points and goal differential. I don’t see much between the two sides, but I would not be surprised if Hertha Berlin do win this match.

Prediction: Hertha Berlin 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Dortmund

Eintracht Frankfurt host the current first-place team Borussia Dortmund, and the reverse fixture was dominated by Dortmund. I expect similar proceedings in this match as Dortmund have had a fairly easy go of things lately. Don’t count out the hosts, but this is a match Dortmund will hope to win if they are to be crowned champions at the end of the season.

Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich

Leverkusen have righted the ship in their recent slate of matches, but they come up on a tough home match in a situation where they badly need points so that they don’t fall out of contention for a European place next year. Meanwhile, the visitors are still trying to claw back into the title fight and mount the pressure on Dortmund. I see the visitors being able to win this match quite comfortably, and keep the race for the title on.

Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Bayern Munich

Shalke 04 vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

This has been a disappointing league season for Schalke despite the fact that they sit in the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Their opponents are repeating many of the same highs that Schalke hit last year as they currently sit third in the league ahead of RB Leipzig, who won on Friday. I think this is a very interesting contest, and I am going to predict a goal-heavy draw.

Prediction: Schalke 04 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

February 3, 2019

Augsburg vs. Mainz 05

This is an interesting match as the home side are desperately in need of points if they hope to stay in the Bundesliga for another season. The visitors have pulled away from the relegation scrap by pulling off solid results and comfortably sit safely in the bottom half of the league table. I see the visitors grabbing a quality win here.

Prediction: Augsburg 1-2 Mainz 05

VfB Stuttgart vs. SC Freiburg

This is another match that will have massive implications in the relegation fight as both sides seek to put some distance between themselves and the final relegation playoff spot. The home side have had trouble keeping the goals out, while the visitors will hope that their attack is firing on all cylinders. I actually go for a narrow win for the visitors although I can’t see much between the two sides.

Prediction: VfB Stuttgart 0-1 SC Freiburg

Serie A Predictions Matchday 20

Serie A has finally returned following a winter layoff and a round of cup matches. The Italian Supercup also crowned Juventus the winners following a match with AC Milan. I am just going to give straight predictions as I have not followed enough Serie A to offer a meaningful breakdown.

AS Roma vs. Torino
Prediciton: AS Roma 2-0 Torino

Udinese vs. Parma
Prediction: Udinese 1-1 Parma

Inter vs. Sassuolo
Prediction: Inter 1-0 Sassuolo

Frosinone vs. Atalanta
Prediction: Atalanta 3-0 Frosinone

Fiorentina vs. Sampdoria
Prediction: Sampdoria 2-1 Fiorentina

SPAL vs. Bologna
Prediction: SPAL 0-0 Bologna

Cagliari vs. Empoli
Prediction: Cagliari 1-0 Empoli

Napoli vs. Lazio
Prediction: Napoli 3-2 Lazio

Genoa vs. AC Milan
Prediction: AC Milan 2-0 Genoa

Juventus vs, Chievo Verona
Prediction: Juventus 3-0 Chievo Verona

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Premier League Predictions and Breakdown Matchday 23

Following a short layoff, I am back with my Premier League picks for an interesting weekend of matches.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Leicester City

This is an interesting matchup for Wolverhampton as it pits them against a very similar opponent in Leicester both in terms of performances and positioning in the league table. Wolverhampton surprised Liverpool with an upset victory in the FA Cup before they were thoroughly outclassed by Manchester City a week later despite being reduced to 10 men. Leicester had a less desirable outcome as they were bounced from the FA Cup by Newport County. They also lost to Southampton last weekend in a match I believed that they could win going into that match. I really have a tough time picking this match as both teams have been inconsistent, but they have a propensity for scoring.

Prediction: Leicester 2-1 Wolverhampton

AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United

Bournemouth enter this match in absolutely terrible form as they have been unable to muster a solid defense for the past two months. This has been compounded by a slip back into the bottom half of the table, and a re-emergence of questions surrounding their squad. Meanwhile, West Ham look like a side who have finally assembled their pieces together properly only for questions to be asked about the long-term future of Marko Arnautovic at the club. They have been better lately and have managed to climb into a more desirable mid-table place in the league as they look to regain a spot in the European places. I see a West Ham victory in this match as Bournemouth’s suffering will likely continue.

Prediction: West Ham United 2-0 Bournemouth

Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

Liverpool enter this match following a rebound against Brighton that followed up their previous league match which ended in defeat to the defending champions Manchester City, Liverpool’s first of the season. They have put together one of the best seasons in Premier League history and have been borderline unstoppable for most of the season. Palace come into this fixture having inflicted some surprise results including a 3-2 victory over Manchester City earlier this season. However, they still only sit four points clear of safety, and have been uninspiring in their last five matches. I see a comfortable Liverpool victory over Palace.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Crystal Palace

Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Manchester United look like a side that finally solved the puzzle that was so difficult for former manager, José Mourinho: play attacking football. Since they made the change in management, United have not dropped a single point and look like the high-flying sides of the Sir Alex Ferguson years. Brighton have been a pleasant surprise once again this season as they find themselves in 13th place comfortably outside the relegation zone. Despite some recent draws, Brighton remain one of the most resolute sides in the Premier League. I think this is a nut that Manchester United can easily crack, and will do so again at home.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Newcastle United vs. Cardiff City

Newcastle come into this match fresh off of a win a week ago, but they have been playing more negative football lately which hasn’t yielded kind results. Newcastle will hope that points from this match helps them on their march to safety as this is a crucial fixture for both sides. Cardiff have seen a series of mixed results that has seen small streaks of brilliance compounded by an inability to secure valuable points in the quest for survival. Their recent form that is filled with losses and draws does not forecast well across the final months of the season. I see a narrow Newcastle victory in what is likely to be a scrappy affair.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-0 Cardiff City

Southampton vs. Everton

Southampton initially experienced a positive start to life under their new manager, but that quickly faded following a series of disappointing results. It seems like they may be on the right track, and this is an opportune fixture against an Everton side that has rebounded, but has previously looked vulnerable. Everton appear to be enjoying the new year much more than 2018, but they have still been fairly inconsistent. Despite this, they still find themselves in the middle of the table and in a stable state following an adjustment period to their new manager at the start of the season. I see a draw between these two sides as nothing immediately jumps out at me as something to separate them.

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Everton

Watford vs. Burnley

Watford have rebounded from a slight dip at the new year, but still find themselves nine points outside the European places. They have managed to win their last two matches, but their leaky defense will be of some concern against a Burnley side which appears to have regained its spirit following a series of good results. Burnley are looking more like the side from a year ago as they have now won four straight and have crawled out of the relegation places into safety. They still only sit three points clear, but a massive road result could do wonders for their confidence. I see a surprise Burnley victory as they look to build on their last results.

Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Watford

Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Arsenal enter this match a far cry from the high-flying side that was challenging for a Champions League place at this time a month ago. Several missed opportunities in front of goal and a large number of injuries has left the squad pretty depleted. Chelsea have continued to make strides under their new manager and appear to be clicking at an opportune time as they look to sneak into the Champions League places themselves. Their recent form shouldn’t fool you as this is a side who are clicking on many levels right now. I see a Chelsea win in this one (it hurts to say), but they are currently the better side with Arsenal unable to sort out its defensive woes.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester City

Huddersfield face a stern test under their new manager as they welcome the defending champions to their home. Huddersfield remain rooted to the bottom of the league, and their leaky defense could be problematic throughout the day. Manchester City appear to be the dominant force that they were for most of last season following a victory over title rivals Liverpool. City have picked up their form at the best time, and should relish their opportunity to keep the pressure on Liverpool at the top of the table. I see a comprehensive victory for City in this match.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Huddersfield Town

Fulham vs. Tottenham

Fulham have continued to disappoint despite a change in management due to their frail defense. That defense has cost them points this season, and they are in serious trouble if they are unable to rectify the situation. Tottenham have their own crisis as Harry Kane picked up a serious injury in their last match and will be unavailable until March. They still sit in third place, and will hope to find a makeshift option until their goal-scoring talisman returns to the side. I see a draw in this match as I am unconvinced of Tottenham’s ability to score goals at the moment.

Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Tottenham

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Ligue 1 Predictions and Breakdown Matchday 21

Ligue 1 returns after a busy midweek that included a full slate of league fixtures. Once again, I’m back attempting to pick the results of this weekend’s matches.

Lille vs. SC Amiens

Lille looks to have finally regained their fine form after slipping up around the new year. They still sit second in the table and look ready to compete for one of the coveted European places in Ligue 1. SC Amiens are a bit of a different story as they currently find themselves only one point from the relegation playoff. Their recent form hasn’t been encouraging, and they will need their very best if they hope to steal valuable points on the road. Lille has been better lately, and I see that continuing against relegation opposition.

Prediction: Lille 2-0 SC Amiens

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Guingamp

PSG come into this fixture the dominant force in Ligue 1 that they always seem to be. They actually lost this exact fixture in the league cup, but I expect that PSG will put a far better foot forward in this match. Meanwhile, Guingamp come into this match in the bottom spot in Ligue 1 and facing a relegation crisis as they sit five points from safety. They have seen a reversal in their fortunes recently by picking up valuable wins, but still have an uphill climb in this clash. I cannot see past a comfortable victory for the home side in this clash.

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Guingamp

AS Monaco vs. Strasbourg

Monaco come into this clash following a draw with mid-table Nice, but Thierry Henry hasn’t been able to reverse the fortunes for Monaco who continue to battle against relegation. They have been able to cobble together more draws recently, but they need all three points from this fixture. Strasbourg are currently flying as they have won four of their last five matches in all competitions. They aren’t completely out of the fight for European football next term, but they will be more than content with their current position in the league. I see a victory in this for the road side who should be able to capitalize on the weakness of their opponents’ defense.

Prediction: Strasbourg 2-1 AS Monaco

Nimes vs. Toulouse

Nimes currently sit in the bottom half of the league table, but their recent form has been far from inspiring. They have only managed to win one of their last five matches which has led to them sliding down the league table ahead of a clash that could help them stay closer to the middle of the table. Toulouse have been better lately, but they only find themselves four points outside of the relegation zone. They will understand that even a point could help them in this match, and they will hope to build on their draw the last time out. I see a draw in this match as both of the sides are fairly evenly matched.

Prediction: Nimes 1-1 Toulouse

Stade de Reims vs. Nice

Reims have fluctuated between wins and draws over their past five matches which has been positive for the newly promoted side. They currently sit in tenth and look fairly safe which will have been their mission coming into the season. Nice come into the match following a draw and what has been uninspiring form for the European hopefuls. Their squad should have enough quality to secure a win, and they will be hoping to claw back into the competition for the European places. I see a win for the road side as they are the team with the superior quality which should carry them through.

Prediction: Nice 1-0 Stade de Reims

Stade de Rennes vs. Montpellier

Rennes come into this match flying high as they have only lost one of their previous five matches and find themselves in eighth place. They have a solid combination of scoring goals and preventing them which has catapulted them up the league table. Montpellier had been soaring in the league as they once occupied a European place, but they have slid on the back of lackluster performances that have only seen them grab two of their last fifteen points. They still possess one of the best defenses in Ligue 1, so they should rebound sooner rather than later. I see a Montpellier victory in this one as their quality should shine through.

Prediction: Montpellier 2-1 Stade de Rennes

Angers vs. Nantes

Angers come into this match in dismal form and they currently sit three points from safety. They have a decent goal differential, but they will need to turn the results around if they hope to survive. Nantes sit three points clear of their opponents and two places higher in the league table. Their form has been better, but they will hope to curb their losing streak at two matches. I see a draw in this match between two fairly even teams.

Prediction: Angers 1-1 Nantes

Caen vs. Marseille

Caen enter this match one point clear of the relegation places and in decent form. They have been fairly stable for most of the season and will hope to pick up points against an under-performing Marseille side. Marseille have experienced a recent drop in their league form which has mostly dashed their hopes of European football next term. They boast a potent attack which they hope will propel them to victory in this less-than-straightforward away encounter. Marseille have sufficient quality to dispatch of their opponents, but it may not be comfortable.

Prediction: Marseille 2-0 Caen

Bordeaux vs. Dijon FCO

Bordeaux enter this fixture on inconsistent form, but they will hope to change that against opposition in the heat of the relegation battle. They still have quality in the squad, but the likes of Malcolm are surely missed, even if the funds from his sale have left the club in a better place financially. Dijon possess one of the league’s worst defenses and are paying for it by sitting in the relegation playoff place. Their last two matches have helped better their condition in the table, but they will need more than that if they hope to climb out of the relegation zone. I think Bordeaux has enough to see this match through.

Prediction: Bordeaux 1-0 Dijon FCO

Saint-Etienne vs. Olympique Lyon

Saint-Etienne have ridden their recent form into a European place and look like serious contenders to hold one at the end of the season. This match will determine who occupies the final Champions League place, and the home side are in control as they sit two points clear of their visitors. Lyon come into this match desperately needing all three points following disappointing league results lately. Normally a Champions League mainstay, Lyon will be hoping to get back into the hunt for a Champions League place with a win. I see a cagey affair that will not produce any goals despite plenty of opportunities.

Prediction: Saint-Etienne 0-0 Lyon

La Liga BBVA Predictions and Breakdown Matchday 20

La Liga returns after week filled with Copa del Rey clashes, and this weekend should not disappoint with matches. I’m back once again to attempt to make correct predictions, but we’ll see how that goes given my track record.

Let’s start with the predictions.

Getafe vs. Alavés

Getafe come into this match vying to be the third Madrid-based team to secure European football next term. They are currently in a fine run of form as they have only lost once in their last five, and currently sit in sixth which would see them qualify for the Europa League Final Qualifying Round. Alavés are another surprise team this term, and for most of the first three months of the season, occupied a Champions League place. Recently, they have come crashing back to earth, but they also have gotten encouraging results lately which should set this clash up nicely. I foresee an entertaining draw between these two sides who are very similar.

Prediction: Getafe 2-2 Alavés

Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

Real Madrid come into this game rested after their Copa del Rey triumph allowed them to rest key members of their squad with an eye on this match. Things have turned around under caretaker manager Santiago Solari, but this could be his sternest test yet against third-place Sevilla. Sevilla lost their last league game against relegation candidates Athletic Club Bilbao, but have been one of the best sides in Spain this season. They should be worried by their drop in form over their last three league matches, but they will surely be ready to fight for everything against Real Madrid. Sevilla have fared better when this fixture is at home for them which is why I’m taking Real Madrid.

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Sevilla

SD Huesca vs. Atlético Madrid

Huesca find themselves firmly entrenched in the bottom spot of La Liga as they have the worst defense in La Liga. Their recent form has been mixed with a win in their second to last match. Atlético have used their tried and true formula of defensive excellence once again this season, and find themselves perched in second, five behind Barcelona. The one thing Atlético may be wary of is the potential for a draw which they will hope to avoid if they want to remain in the title chase.

Prediction: Atlético Madrid 1-0 SD Huesca

Celta Vigo vs. Valencia

Celta Vigo enter this fixture in alarming form as they have only taken four points out of their last fifteen, and they currently sit one spot above the relegation places. Celta have been effective in scoring goals, but they will have to better at keeping them out if they hope to survive this season in La Liga. Valencia have been inconsistent this year as their squad struggles with the strain of competitions on three fronts. Their form still hasn’t been great, and they are a far cry from the solid team that nicked a Champions League place last term. I foresee a very cagey affair between two sides that desperately need points, but I am going to take the home team in this one.

Prediction: Celta Vigo 2-1 Valencia

Real Betis vs. Girona

Real Betis enter this match following their Copa del Rey triumph where they went through on away goals. The league has been crueler to them lately as they have not won a league game in over a month when they defeated Espanyol 3-1. Girona have been the kings of the draw lately as they have drawn all five of their previous five matches. Coming off of their triumph over Atlético Madrid in the Copa del Rey because of away goals, they may have the confidence needed to get a win. What do I think? A draw.

Prediction: Real Betis 2-2 Girona

Villarreal vs. Athletic Club Bilbao

Villarreal have had a season to forget as they currently languish in 19th place in the league with their only success coming in the Europa League. The only real thing that jumps out has been a series of unfortunate results domestically and an inability to convert draws into wins. Athletic Club recently climbed out of the relegation places, but they have sorely missed Kepa who departed for Chelsea over the summer. They would be in a similar position to Villarreal had they not gotten a crucial victory last weekend, but cannot count themselves as safe yet. These are two nearly identical teams and a draw makes too much sense. I am taking the away side.

Prediction: Athletic Club 2-1 Villarreal

Levante vs. Real Valladolid

Levante enter the match on a negative run of form that has seen them lose two of their last three league games with the other result being a draw. Unlike other teams in the bottom half of the table, Levante has been able to score goals, but they have not been as great at keeping them out. Real Valladolid are a similar story, but their form has been slightly more concerning across all competitions with two draws being their most positive results in their last five matches. Valladolid are slightly better defensively, but would prefer to score more frequently if they hope to pull away from the relegation pack. I see goals in this one with a draw being a fair result.

Prediction: Levante 2-2 Real Valladolid

Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Sociedad

Don’t let the recent positive form fool you into believing that Rayo Vallecano are in a desirable position. They currently sit on 19 points which is good enough for 18th place and has them firmly locked in the relegation battle in La Liga. Real Sociedad find themselves just outside of the European places and only have La Liga to focus on after being knocked out of the Copa del Rey. They should come into this match committed, and will hope to take all three points in order to stay within striking distance of the European places. I see the away side getting a gritty, but needed result.

Prediction: Real Sociedad 2-0 Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona vs. Leganes

Barcelona have had an interesting week after fielding an ineligible player in their Copa del Rey tie against Levante, but were allowed to stay in after it was deemed that the complaint arrived too late. Regardless, they come into the match in peak form and are in the driver’s seat for the La Liga title. Leganes are in a battle to avoid relegation, but have been a solid side all season. Their recent form has been encouraging, but they will have to be at their best in order to topple the leaders of La Liga. The only result is a comfortable win for Barcelona, but I expect some consolation for the visitors.

Prediction: Barcelona 4-1 Leganes

Eibar vs. Espanyol

Eibar’s catastrophic form over their last five matches has seen them plummet into the thick of a relegation scrap. Their numbers indicate that they might be able to survive the drop, but it doesn’t bode well against opposition from the middle of the table. Espanyol have been solid, if unspectacular, in their recent matches and will hope to improve their goal difference with a positive result in this match. I expect Espanyol to emerge victorious in the final match of the La Liga weekend.

Prediction: Espanyol 1-0 Eibar

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Bundesliga Predictions and Breakdown Matchday 18

After a multi-week layoff for the break interspersed with a few friendlies, the Bundesliga is back in action. What does that mean? I’m also back to give my two cents on each match and give you my predictions. If you know my history of predictions on this site, I am only going for one semi-correct prediction (i.e. a match was 2-1 at some point).

Let’s break them down, shall we?

TSG Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich

Hoffenheim come into the fixture boasting one of the best attacks in the Bundesliga, but have been in unspectaular form as they have not won a match in their last five. That mainly comes down to their less than stellar defense which regularly concedes goals and could give them problems against a Bayern side that also scores lots of goals. Hoffenheim have beaten Bayern in this exact fixture before, but that was in 2017. Bayern come in resembling the dominant team in Germany that many saw them as early in the season. They have not lost in the Bundesliga since their 3-2 humbling at Dortmund, and may have finally turned the corner that will allow them to pressure Dortmund at the top of the table. This match is likely to see plenty of goals, and should be entertaining for the neutral fan, but I can’t see past Bayern in this one.

Prediction: Bayern 3-1 Hoffenheim

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

Leverkusen have been playing better as of late, but still find themselves way off the pace to finish in one of the Champions League places. One of the main reason for this has been a leaky defense that has shipped more goals to opponents than Leverkusen have scored which creates many problems for a side. However, Leverkusen did win the reverse fixture 5-0 very early in the season. Monchengladbach come into this fixture sitting third in the Bundesliga with one of the best goal differences in the league. Many things have changed for the side over the past year, but their recent spotty form could be a little concerning in this match. I see a gritty affair between these two sides, but I expect the quality of Monchengladbach to shine through.

Prediction: Monchengladbach 2-1 Leverkusen

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. SC Freiburg

Frankfurt’s most recent fixture saw them hammered 3-0 by Bayern Munich at home, and was not the best way to enter the winter break. Leading into that fixture, their form had been mostly up-and-down, but they still sit in a good place in the league table where they are challenging for European football next term. Freiburg find themselves slightly above the relegation places, but they are not quite safe as far as the relegation battle is concerned. They do pose a serious threat because this is a team that is quite content to pick up points against top of the table opposition as their goal difference is only at a -4 which is very solid for a lower half team. This one is a draw for me as Frankfurt hasn’t convinced me lately, and Freiburg seem poised to settle for a draw away from home.

Prediction: Frankfurt 1-1 Freiburg

FC Augsburg vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf

Augsburg come into this match having scuffled lately in the Bundesliga having only taken two points from their last five matches. For a relegation battle team, they are also one of the best goalscoring teams which may indicate that their position in the league table could change. Düsselfdorf may be the team that has compiled some of the most shocking results of the season as they beat league leaders, Dortmund, 2-1, and drew with second-place Bayern 3-3. However, they boast one of the leakiest defenses in the Bundesliga and rightfully find themselves near the bottom of the table. A win here helps both sides immensely, but I believe Augsburg begin to turn things around with this match against a team right next to them in the table.

Prediction: Augsburg 1-0 Düsseldorf

Hannover 96 vs. Werder Bremen

Hannover are in a very precarious position as they sit three points outside the spot for the relegation playoff and five points from safety based on goal difference. They have conceded the second-most goals in the entire Bundesliga while registering one of the lowest number of goals scored. Bremen haven’t been convincing recently, but they still sit mid-table and have been a consistent side all year. Their recent form may ring some alarm bells, but they are the better side in this match. I really can’t see past a scrappy victory for Bremen in this match.

Prediction: Bremen 2-1 Hannover

VfB Stuttgart vs. Mainz 05

Stuttgart enter this match currently occupying the relegation playoff place, and only three points above the relegation places. They did get an important win their last time out, but their season has been far than ideal as being locked in a relegation scrap does not suit their defense which has conceded throughout the season. Mainz find themselves in the lower half of the table which is a far cry from their challenging for European football a year ago. They have shown signs of being better lately as they have managed a few results to make sure that they don’t edge towards the relegation places. This one should be fairly straightforward for Mainz.

Prediction: Mainz 3-0 Stuttgart

RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund

Leipzig enter this match on form that has been inconsistent, and perhaps alarming for the Champions League hopefuls. Their position is not for a lack of quality in the side as they have one of the most dynamic, youthful teams in Europe, but their squad depth has been a problem for the side that has only been in the Bundesliga for three years. Dortmund have been a dominant force in Germany this season, and rightfully have a cushion at the top of the table. They will hope that the loss to Düsseldorf is not the beginning of the end, and that they will lift the Bundesliga trophy at the end of the season. This will be the most entertaining match of the weekend, and is a toss-up for me, although I’ll pick Dortmund.

Prediction: Dortmund 3-2 Leipzig

Nürnberg vs. Hertha Berlin

Not much has gone right for newly-promoted Nürnberg as they find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table boasting the worst defense and the second-worst goal tally in the league. Their recent form doesn’t suggest that a turnaround is in sight as they have lost in four of their last five. Hertha come into this match not boasting the best form, but they currently sit in the middle of the table where they usually reside. They will come into this match relishing the opportunity to pick up points as their quest for European football is still alive. I see a thorough victory for Hertha in this one with Nürnberg not being able to match the quality.

Prediction: Hertha Berlin 2-0 Nürnberg

Schalke 04 vs. VfL Wolfsburg

Schalke enter this match looking to continue the turnaround in their form that has found them a shadow of themselves last season when they finished second. Much of that can be attributed to a transition of the club following key departures at the end of last season which left massive holes in their squad. Wolfsburg appear to have made the turnaround themselves after appearing in the relegation playoff the previous two years. They currently sit fifth in the table and boast one of the most well-rounded teams in the Bundesliga. I see a close contest with Wolfsburg being able to secure a result.

Prediction: Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke