German Bundesliga Week 22 Preview

Bayern Munich versus TSG Hoffenheim (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Bayern Munich's terrible away record continued last weekend as they allowed Cologne to come back from 2-0 down at halftime to win 3-2; the German champions have not won consecutive away games in the league this season. However, the Bavarians are a very different proposition at home with a perfect record in the Allianz Arena since October, and Bayern have scored three or more goals in their last six home matches. Mario Gómez and Arjen Robben could both be back, while left back Diego Contento is on the long road back to fitness

Hoffenheim nearly suffered the same fate that Bayern did last weekend - Kaiserslautern came from 2-0 down at halftime to pull level with a half-hour to go. However, Vedad Ibisevic put Hoffenheim back ahead with twenty-five minutes to play and that goal proved to be enough for the win, which lifted the hosts up into seventh. Hoffenheim haven't been great away from the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, but have only lost once in their last nine league games. The Bavarians need to win to keep pace in the race for the Champions League places, and while they'll have added pressure after throwing away three points a week ago, Bayern should be able to keep their strong home run going.

Eintracht Frankfurt versus Bayer Leverkusen (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Just as Bayer Leverkusen looked to be securing second place, helped in no small part by Bayern Munich's collapse in Cologne, Bayer themselves fell to a 1-0 defeat in Nurnberg. The Westphalians are still in second, but they are now just two points ahead of Hannover 96 and Mainz 05. Eintracht Frankfurt have been nearly in free-fall, only picking up their first points of the new year last week with a 0-0 draw against Freiburg. Although Frankfurt picked up a result, they have yet to score a goal in 2011 and will have a tough time against a Leverkusen side that had been unbeaten on the road before last week.

Schalke 04 versus SC Freiburg (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

This is a tricky fixture on both sides; Schalke somehow scraped a 0-0 draw away to Dortmund last week but are still in the bottom half of the table, while Freiburg drew 0-0 at home to Frankfurt and are now just two points behind Bayern Munich for the last European spot. Schalke have improved their home record significantly and have a good chance to get back on track at the Veltins Arena after falling in their last home match against Hoffenehim. Freiburg have improved a bit at the back with consecutive clean sheets, but their scoring rate has fallen off at the same time. Look for Papiss Cissé to give Schalke's unconvincing central defence problems, but the hosts should have enough in midfield and attack to win this one.

St. Pauli versus Borussia Mönchengladbach (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

St. Pauli had last weekend off after the Hamburg derby was postponed until February 16th because of a waterlogged pitch at the Imtech Arena. They now face Borussia Mönchengladbach in a key relegation battle for both sides - this is 'Gladbach's second consecutive six-pointer, made all the more crucial after they gave up a 2-0 halftime lead at home against Stuttgart. The visitors this weekend still haven't won at Borussia-Park this season, and were condemned to another defeat by a late penalty. Gladbach have a pretty good away record and will be absolutely desperate for any kind of a result in this game as they sit six points from safety.

VfB Stuttgart versus FC Nurnberg (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

2-0 down at halftime last week, and Stuttgart were staring down the barrel of a six-point gap to safety. However, they pulled off a great second-half comeback at Borussia-Park, leveling the score just eleven minutes after the break and snatching victory with a late penalty from Timo Gebhart. Nurnberg also pulled off a win against the odds, as Christian Eigler grabbed the lone goal with a half-hour to go before being sent off with four minutes to go against Bayer Leverkusen. Stuttgart haven't been great at home, but the Bavarians have won just a single game away from the EasyCredit Stadion. Still, Nurnberg have been doing well of late and Stuttgart will have to play better than they did against Gladbach to get a result out of this game.

VfL Wolfsburg versus Hamburg SV (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

The news seemed like it had been coming for some time, and this was finally the week when Wolfsburg lost patience with Steve McClaren, off the back of a 1-0 loss at home to Hannover 96. Hamburg SV didn't play last weekend as the Hamburg derby against St. Pauli was postponed, and they will be trying to scrape their way back into the race for Europe - they're four points off of fifth with a game in hand. Wolfsburg, by contrast, are in twelfth, but only a point above the relegation play-off place, and they've been playing like it. They've only taken seven points from their last eighteen at home, and another draw seems quite possible here as Hamburg may have one eye on their midweek derby.

FC Kaiserslautern versus Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 12th February 2011, 17:30 GMT)

Manuel Neuer and the frame of his goal managed to keep Borussia Dortmund off the score-sheet last week, for just the third time this season, but don't expect a repeat performance in this game. Kaiserslautern thought they had pulled off a great comeback against Hoffenheim, but Vedad Ibisevic scored the winner, leaving Kaiserslautern level with Cologne and St. Pauli, only above the relegation zone on goal difference. Dortmund have scored more than two goals per game on the road and should win again here as they try to break Bayern Munich's Bundesliga points record of 79.

FC Cologne versus Mainz 05 (Sunday, 13th February 2011, 14:30 GMT)

Third from bottom against third from top - and a crucial game for both sides because the races against relegation and for the European places are so tight. Mainz 05 finally got a new result last week - their first draw of the campaign after a late Claudio Pizarro goal denied them victory against Werder Bremen. Cologne, of course, were Bayern Munich's tormentors in the second half last Saturday, as they came from behind to win 3-2, and could have scored more in the waning minutes. Cologne are on better form than their visitors this weekend, and should be on a high after their win last weekend; a win for the hosts seems unlikely, but another draw for Mainz looks quite possible as Cologne battle for every point they can get.

Werder Bremen versus Hannover 96 (Sunday, 13th February 2011, 17:30 GMT)

A season ago, this match was near-top against near-bottom. It still is, as Werder Bremen are a single point above the relegation zone, and Hannover 96 are in fourth. Hannover have been climbing to the top with very different football than Bremen played last season - they have a goal difference of -1 - but should present a real test for their hosts. Bremenr were on the brink of losing their third game in succession and dropping into the relegation zone last weekend before Claudio Pizarro scored an equalizer against Mainz 05 two minutes into stoppage time. This is a very tough game for Bremen as they need to improve their home record to ensure safety; Hannover don't score many goals away from home (just one per game on average), but given Bremen's awful defence they should have the chances to win this match and put more pressure on Leverkusen in second.

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