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Saturday’s Bundesliga Preview: Wolfsburg And Schalke Have It All To Prove

Raul Bobadilla's Powerful Frame Will Provide A Stern Test To Kaiserslautern.

Der Bundesliga continues with a massive match-day ten. Bottom-feeders Koln host Hamburg, Kaiserslautern take on Gladbach in a tough relegation six-pointer, Frankfurt visit St. Pauli in a tough mid-table battle, Wolfsburg host Stuttgart in one of the games of the weekend, Werder Bremen take on Nurnberg, and Leverkusen travel to Schalke in what will be another huge encounter. Let’s get to it then!

FC Koln v Hamburg SV

Zvonimir Soldo’s sacking as manager of Koln has brought about an instant bit of success, coming in the form of Koln’s 3-1 win over 1860 Munich in the DFB Pokal in mid-week. Whether or not caretaker manager Frank Schaefer will be able to keep that up against Hamburg, who were convincingly thrashed 5-2 by Frankfurt in the Pokal in midweek, is a whole other story. Koln will definitely be playing against the odds, because Armin Veh will urge his side to right the wrong they inflicted on their fans in midweek, and thump their weekend opponents. Koln, on the other hand, will also be up for it. A new manager can bring about a quick fix and a new bit of belief and enthusiasm, and as long as that translates to Koln’s key men, the home side have a real chance of upsetting the odds here.

Kaiserslautern v Borussia Monchengladbach

Kaiserslautern have failed to record a Bundesliga win since their shock 2-0 upset over Bayern Munich at the end of August. Since then, they have managed to take a total of one (!) point from a possible twenty-one. That’s shocking! What’s even worse, is that Kaiserslautern have to play Leverkusen and Stuttgart after they get through this Gladbach match, so it’s not going to be getting any easier anytime soon. All that means, is that this game is essentially a must win for the home side. Gladbach are in similarly bad shape, with only two points out of a possible twenty-one since they recorded their last win. Ironically enough, that win was during the same weekend in August that Kaiserslautern’s last win occured, and they were both huge upsets (Kaiserslautern defeated Bayern Munich 2-0, and Gladbach thumped Leverkusen 3-6.) I think this one will be feisty. Both sides are in desperate need of a positive turn of events – although both sides won in the DFB Pokal in mid-week – but unfortunately for Kaiserslautern, I can see Marco Reus and co. edging this and condemning their hosts to a place in the relegation zone.

St. Pauli v Eintracht Frankfurt

This is Frankfurt’s match for me. They crushed Hamburg in mid-week in the DFB Pokal by five goals to two, and if they can remain consistent, or if Theofanis Gekas can continue scoring goals in abundance, then I think they’ll have too much for their hosts. It’s an away win in my book, because I just can’t see where St. Pauli will be able to find the strength and determination to keep Frankfurt out.

VfL Wolfsburg v VfB Stuttgart

Wolfsburg have made a stuttering start to the Bundesliga season, which really has to be seen as a big disappointment considering the money new boss Steve McClaren spent on big transfers in the summer. Now, Wolfsburg have to make it count against a resurgent Stuttgart side who will be looking to get what could be a pivotal three points come the end of the season. Both sides will be pushing for European places when it’s all said and done, so they’ll both be looking to kill off their opponents’ European ambitions this weekend. Wolfsburg have a whole array of attacking talent, but have conceded far too many goals to be able to make it count. Stuttgart, on the other hand, have gone through a change in manager to reverse their fortunes, and have looked good since the Swiss tactician was dismissed. This is going to be a close one; Wolfsburg will need to be wary of giving away their lead, and Stuttgart will need to remain composed and compact against a Wolfsburg side that boast one of the most formidable front-lines in Europe.

Werder Bremen v Nurnberg

Werder Bremen’s mid-week loss to Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal will surely dent confidence, but Thomas Schaaf will be urging his side to bounce back against Nurnberg and turn their focus back to the Bundesliga. Torsten Frings will likely miss the match through injury, which means Tim Borowski will likely deputise. Marko Marin and Aaron Hunt will be looked to for creativity, and Claudio Pizarro will obviously be the main threat in front of goal. They should have too much for Nurnberg, but you can never tell when it comes to Werder Bremen; they sure do love to make a mess of things.

Schalke 04 v Bayer Leverkusen

This is huge. Schalke are playing Leverkusen at exactly the right time, with die Werkself losing their last two matches (on penalties against Gladbach in the DFB Pokal, and 0-1 against Mainz in the league last weekend). Felix Magath will know that going all the way to penalties in mid-week can really tire a team out, and Schalke’s quick midfield may be too much to handle for Jupp Heynckes’ side. Jefferson Farfan, Jose Jurado, Raul and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar certainly do look dangerous on paper, but, unfortunately, they’ve not hit top form yet on the pitch. Schalke haven’t actually won a Bundesliga match since they defeated Freiburg on the 22nd of September, which is not at all a good record. Schalke finished in second place last season, and they’ll at least have to qualify for the Europa League – whether it be through the DFB Pokal or a league table finish – to satisfy the fans and the board.

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  1. Johann

    November 2, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Koln beat 1860 3-0 and not 3-1

  2. fan

    October 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    der Bundesliga??

    • Dylan Thomas

      October 30, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      die bundesliga?

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