Sunday’s Bundesliga Preview: Matchday Nine
The Bundesliga’s top two will both look to keep their leads at the top of the table today, but both Dortmund and Mainz face difficult tests against Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen respectively. Elsewhere, a struggling Stuttgart side will look to improve their fortunes against St. Pauli. With Bayern Munich dropping more points, wins for Dortmund, Mainz and even Leverkusen could be crucial.
Borussia Dortmund v TSG Hoffenheim
Jurgen Klopp’s men have become everybody’s favourites after some excellent football and a whole lot of heart. With players as enthusiastic and technically skilled as Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Sven Bender, Lucas Barrios and center-half pairing Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic, they really are a team with enough quality to pose a serious threat to Bayern Munich in the title race. Playing Hoffenheim will not be easy, but the visitors’ away form is very poor and you wouldn’t bet against Borussia Dortmund on the form they’re on. Unfortunately, Sven Bender is ruled out of this match after picking up a thigh strain against PSG in midweek. I see Dortmund winning this and extending their lead over Mainz. 3-1.
Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz
Leverkusen’s push for a Champions League spot continues today against a Mainz side coming off their first defeat of the season. Unfortunately, Leverkusen’s home form is pretty shocking, with just a single win at home after four matches. Mainz are undefeated on the road, and they’ve definitely got the players to be able to unlock Leverkusen’s defense in Lewis Holtby and Sami Allagui. If Mainz win, they can keep the pressure on Dortmund and continue their remarkable challenge for a Champions League place. 1-2.
VfB Stuttgart v St. Pauli
Stuttgart sacked Christian Gross and little has changed at Stuttgart. They remain rooted to the bottom of the league, and show little signs of improvement. St. Pauli have shown how hard they are to beat this season, and have a fantastic away record so far this season, with three wins out of four matches. I don’t think Stuttgart will get the result here. They’ve been shockingly poor, and I can’t see that changing too quickly, especially not against a side as resilient as St. Pauli. Also, St. Pauli have begun to score some goals, which is even worse news for Stuttgart. 1-2.