The Bundesliga returns this weekend after a rather disappointing week of action in European competition for the league. The nation managed two wins, two draws, and three losses. I saw the following quote on Twitter Thursday afternoon, but I don't remember who actually tweeted it. Sorry. "THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR THE COEFFICIENT!" Step your game up in Europe, Germany.
Friday, October 5
Augsburg vs Werder Bremen - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
Questions were raised immediately when Augsburg appointed Markus Weinzierl to take over after Jos Luhukay stepped down. Boy, does everyone look right now. Augsburg have picked up 2 points in their first six matches and currently sit bottom of the table of the table. Weinzierl has even gone so far to ban his players from Oktoberfest festivities until they win a match. Werder has been playing well as of late even though they lost 2-0 last week to Bayern Munich. They defended well for almost 80 minutes before falling apart late. Aaron Hunt seems revolutionized in his play this season with the addition of Kevin De Bruyne, Nils Petersen, and Eljero Elia. They're playing well so far and should have no problems with Augsburg Friday afternoon.
Prediction: Augsburg 0 - 2 Werder Bremen
Saturday, September 29
Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
After an absolutely abject performance midweek in Minsk, Bayern return to Bundesliga action against Hoffenheim. Desperate to put their first loss of the season behind them, Bayern will be flying when Hoffenheim comes to the Allianz Arena. Without Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle of midfield against BATE Borisov, Javi Martinez started alongside Luiz Gustavo. While both are very good midfielders and have a high completion percentage, neither take risks with their passing like Schweinsteiger does. Both players need to work on expanding their passing range throughout the season. Hoffenheim are still dealing with missing Boris Vukcevic due to his car accident. They surprisingly picked up seven of nine points in their last three matches. Markus Babbel finally has this side playing Bundesliga-quality football. Unfortunately, they're catching Bayern at quite an awful time.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3 - 0 Hoffenheim
Schalke vs Wolfsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Schalke may have lost two points when they conceded a late goal against Montpellier in the Champions League, but their biggest loss came when Julian Draxler broke his forearm. He scored a goal earlier in the match and drew a penalty when he was injured. The supporters in the stands have become restless to start this season, and the whistles are starting early at the first signs of non-brilliant play. Quite frankly, for the team to succeed at the expectations heaped upon them by their supporters, they need their full backing. Wolfsburg is off to a disastrous season after picking up that first win over Stuttgart. They're currently third from bottom, and they picked up draws against the two teams beneath them. Felix Magath's inability to get them playing anything close to winning football is quite disturbing. This Wolfsburg side is better than the measly number of points they've accrued to start this season.
Prediction: Schalke 2 - 1 Wolfsburg
Freiburg vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
After putting five goals past Tim Wiese and Hoffenheim in Matchday 3, Freiburg hit a dry spell in the next week. With three games in a week, Freiburg only managed two goals and one point. Christian Streich's side has picked up only 5 points so far this season and sit just north of the relegation zone. Nürnberg started the season brilliantly picking up seven points in their first three matches. The next three didn't go so well. They picked up zero points and were outscored 8-2. It's time they turned things back on, and they should be able to do that against Freiburg.
Prediction: Freiburg 1 - 3 Nürnberg
Mainz vs Fortuna Düsseldorf - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Mainz had been struggling in recent weeks, but Sunday's 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg was very impressive. They didn't get many opportunities, but they scored on the ways they had. The most impressive part was how well they held up defensively. Unfortunately for Mainz, they're running into the stone wall that is Fortuna Düsseldorf. After allowing zero goals in their first five matches, they finally conceded two goals against Schalke. While Mainz can look toward that match as signs that the defense can be broken down, Mainz doesn't have Schalke's offense.
Prediction: Mainz 0 - 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Greuther Fürth vs Hamburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Fürth have struggled to score so far this year. With only 2 goals in 6 matches, the goals aren't coming for Fürth, and we knew that this would be their problem coming into the season. They haven't fully recovered from losing last season's 2.Bundesliga leading goal scorer Olivier Occean to Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer. Hamburg had 0 points after the first three matches of the season, and they picked up 7 in the next three matches. The difference? Rafael Van der Vaart is pretty good. His talent and leadership on the pitch has carried over to other players like the South Korean Heung Min Son. Defensively they're still coming together, but Michael Mancienne has been stellar in recent weeks. Rene Adler has been great in goal and is pushing his name back into consideration for the national team.
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 1 - 2 Hamburg
Sunday, September 30
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Oh, what an awful start to the season for Lucien Favre's side. In 13th place with only 6 points in the league and only 1 point in their Europa League group, Gladbach are struggling in all facets of the game. They've only scored seven goals in the first six matches, but they're at least getting some diversity in their goalscoring. All of those goals have been scored by different players. Their big summer signing Luuk de Jong has only managed to score once so far this season and can only be described as a disappointment so far. Frankfurt are off to an unbelievable start with 16 out of 18 points won. A record bettered only by Bayern Munich. The Bavarians are also the only side to score more goals than the Eagles to begin the season. Takashi Inui, Stefan Aigner, and Alexander Meier have been pushing forward constantly for Frankfurt causing mistakes by their opponents and are then in a position to capitalize on these mistakes.
Prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Stuttgart vs Bayer Leverkusen - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Stuttgart won their first match of the season last week over Nürnberg. It was basically a must win for Bruno Labbadia's side, and they won. Remarkably, scoring goals has been difficult for them. Only the three sides in the relegation zone have scored fewer goals so far this season. Before the season started, many people were projecting Stuttgart to finish among the league's elite. The talent is there to turn things around at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but they need to start it against Leverkusen. With wins over the bottom two teams in recent weeks, Leverkusen find themselves in 7th place on 10 points. I'm banking on this finally being the match that Stuttgart puts in a complete performance on their way to a win.
Prediction: Stuttgart 2 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen
Hannover vs Borussia Dortmund - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Hannover have started the season brilliantly and will try to keep that streak going when the champions visit the AWD Arena. They currently sit on 10 points while Dortmund have 11. The brightest spot to Hannover's start has been midfielder Szabolcs Huszti. The Hungarian has 3 goals and 7 assists through the first six matches. So far this season, if you can stop Huszti, you can stop Hannover. BVB are coming off of a dominating yet disappointing performance away to Manchester City in the Champions League. On any other day (Or, possibly, facing any other goalkeeper.), BVB come away with all three points. The biggest surprise to start this season has İlkay Gündoğan. The young midfielder has locked down a starting spot in the center of midfield with some great play to start the season.
Prediction: Hannover 1 - 2 Borussia Dortmund