Leverkusen vs Bayern and Schalke vs Bremen are among the big matches this weekend.
15:30 Eintracht Frankfurt – Hoffenheim
15:30 Nuernberg – Kaiserslautern
15:30 Borussia Moenchengladbach – Mainz
15:30 Schalke – Werder Bremen
15:30 Freiburg – Borussia Dortmund
15:30 Hannover - Hamburg
18:30 Bayer Leverkusen – Bayern Munich
15:30 Stuttgart – Koeln
17:30 St Pauli – Wolfsburg
Eintracht Frankfurt – Hoffenheim
Frankfurt were unable to extend their winning streak in round 12, but die Adler still managed to earn a scoreless draw against Bremen. Michael Skibbe’s men face a real check of their form in Hoffenheim on Saturday. As he makes his preparations, Skibbe will have to manage without Chris, Zlatan Bajramovic, Marcel Titsch-Rivero, and Sebastian Rode.
Hoffenheim were unlucky not to beat Freiburg in their most recent match, but ended up losing thanks to an injury time goal from Papiss Cisse. The Sinsheim outfit will have to be more clinical as they take on a dangerous Frankfurt side. Ahead of the match, Ralf Rannick has ruled out Chinedu Obasi, Tom Starke, and Josip Simunic.
Nuernberg – Kaiserslautern
The highly anticipated Bavarian derby turned out to be a frustrating match for Nuernberg, who lost to local rivals Bayern by 3-0 margin. Dieter Hecking’s side are nonetheless in fine standing in the Bundesliga, and will be keen to reach top form once more. Javier Pinola is suspended, and in addition, Albert Bunjaku and Rubin Okotie will have to miss out on the action due to injury.
Kaiserslautern rallied from three goals behind against Stuttgart to earn a 3-3 draw. The red devils have struggled in recent weeks, and will need wins if they are to avoid a return to the 2. Bundesliga. Coach Marco Kurz will be without Flrian Dick, Rodnei, Jan Simunek, and Chadlj Amri for this Saturday’s match.
Borussia Moenchengladbach – Mainz
After a scoreless first half, Gladbach stormed out of the gate to earn an emphatic 4-0 victory over Koeln in their classic Westphalian derby. Die Fohlen remain 17th in the league, however, and will need to improve if they are to avoid relegation. During Saturday’s match with Mainz, Michael Frontzeck will have to do without an injured contingent including Roel Brouwers, Dante, Jean-Sebastian Jaures, Tony Jantschke, Christian Dorda, and Bernhard Janeczek.
Losses in four of their last five matches have seen Mainz drop from first to third in the Bundesliga table, and the “oh fives” are now seven points behind leaders Dortmund. Thomas Tuchel will hope to get the best out of his squad against struggling Gladbach. The coach is expected to rotate his squad, but will have a full squad at his disposal.
Schalke – Werder Bremen
Schalke were somewhat fortunate to earn a 2-2 draw away to Wolfsburg in their most recent match. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s accidental but decisive hand ball allowed the Dutchman to net the equaliser that capped a comeback from two goals behind. Die Koenigsblauen slipped back into the relegation zone last weekend, and will hope to improve with a win. Coach Felix Magath has ruled Nicolas Plestan, Tim Hoogland, and Levan Kenia out of this weekend’s clash with rivals Bremen.
Werder Bremen were held to a rare scoreless draw by Frankfurt in round 12. Thomas Schaaf’s men have gone without a win for five matches, and are really struggling. Ahead of Wednesday’s must-win Champions League clash with Tottenham, Bremen could use some momentum, and that could come from a high profile match against traditional rivals Schalke. Claudio Pizarro, Sebastian Boenisch, Tim Borowski, Naldo, and Christian Vander are all injured, and will have to miss out on the match.
Freiburg – Borussia Dortmund
Freiburg earned a last-gasp victory over Hoffenheim last weekend, and in doing so, advanced to fourth place in the Bundesliga. Now in the nosebleed area of the table Breisgau-based side will hope to edge closer to an early achievement of their pre-season target of 40 points. The high-flying club will be short of Heiko Butscher, Johannes Flum, Jonathan Jaeger, Simon Pouplin, Pavel Krmas, and Tommy Bechmann.
With 31 points, there is no club in Bundesliga history that has been as successful through 12 matches as this year’s Dortmund. The Ruhr club comfortably have the best goal scoring and goals conceded record in all of Germany, and have shown no signs of slowing up. Mohamed Zidan and Tamas Hajnal could make long-awaited returns to action, but Sebastian Kehl, Patrick Owomoyela, and Florian Kringe remain unavailable due to injuries.
Hannover – Hamburg
A swirling wonder goal from Sergio Pinto was all Hannover needed to beat Mainz in round 12, in a result that saw the “96ers” move to seventh in the Bundesliga table. Die Roten will have to dig deep if they are to earn points against a hungry Hamburg side. Mohamed Abdellaoue, Moritz Stoppelkamp, Carlitos, and Leon Andreasen remain injured, and will join suspended duo Karim Haggui and Steve Cherundolo in the stands.
Hamburg fought valiantly, but ultimately were outplayed by Dortmund en route to a 2-0 loss in their most recent fixture. Armin Veh’s men still remain near the elite tier of the Bundesliga table, but will have to win all their remaining fixtures if they are to finish the fall campaign in the top three. HSV continue to struggle with a long list of injured players, including Dennis Aogo, Joris Mathijsen, Gojko Kacar, Frank Rost, Marcell Jansen, Collin Benjamin, Dennis Diekmeier, Tunay Torun, Miroslav Stepanek, and Romeo Castelen.
Bayer Leverkusen – Bayern Munich
Leverkusen’s ascent in the Bundesliga continued last weekend as die Werkself became established as the main competition for leaders Dortmund. Jupp Hyenckes’ men have won three consecutive matches, and have shown no signs of stopping despite injuries to key players. Stefan Reinartz is suspended and Michael Ballack and Stefan Kiessling remain unfit, and the trio will be unable to feature in Saturday’s showdown.
Bayern were in outstanding form in last Sunday’s 3-0 win over Nuernberg in the Bavarian derby. The defending Bundesliga champions have shown resurgence over the last month or so, but still have some distance to go if they are to end the fall campaign within striking distance of Dortmund. Arjen Robben, Ivica Olic, Miroslav Klose and Holger Badstuber remain injured, and will have to miss out on Saturday’s action. In addition, Edson Braafheid has been dropped from Louis van Gaal’s squad.
Stuttgart – Koeln
Stuttgart were 3-0 ahead of Kaiserslautern in their most recent match, but saw their lead evaporate late and had to settle for a draw. Still just 14th in the Bundesliga table, the Swabians will have to be more careful if they are to have a chance to qualify for European competition. Coach Ahead of this weekend’s match, Jens Keller has ruled out Khalid Boulahrouz, Johan Audel, Martin Harnik, and Serdar Tasci.
Last weekend, Koeln suffered a second half dismantling at the hands of Gladbach in what turned out to be real meltdown. Now dead last in the Bundesliga table die Geissboecke are in full crisis. To make matters worse, Adil Chihi has been dropped due to a row with coach Frank Schaefer, and Kevin McKenna, Sebastian Freis, Manasseh Ishiaku, and Kostas Giannoulis will be unfit to play on Sunday.
St Pauli – Wolfsburg
St Pauli held a draw with Leverkusen for 81 minutes last Saturday, but ultimately slumped to a 1-0 defeat. The Hamburg-based club have sunk to 13th in the Bundesliga, and have now lost four consecutive matches. Only Dennis Daube will be missing from the St Pauli squad as they prepare for this weekend’s challenging clash.
Wolfsburg may have been unfortunate to be held to a draw with Schalke last weekend, but still blew a two-goal lead at home. It was the third time this season that die Woelfe lost a multi-goal lead. Wolfsburg are now 10 points adrift of a Champions League spot, and cannot afford to waste any more opportunities. Ahead of Sunday’s match, Steve McClaren has ruled out unfit duo Fabian Johnson and Arne Friedrich, as well as suspended midfielder Ashkan Dejagah.
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