Bundesliga 2013, Week 22 preview and fixtures: Battle for second place rages on

Alex Grimm

While Bayern Munich have the title all but wrapped up, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund face each other in a match with second place on the line.

After many weeks of outstanding action in the Champions League and Europa League, the Bundesliga disappointed this week with three draws and three losses. League play returns this weekend with a massive battle for second place going on between Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt. Elsewhere, Bayern look to keep cruising at Wolfsburg, Mainz host Schalke who are still trying to regroup, and Werder Bremen look to continue their streak against Freiburg

Friday, February 15

Wolfsburg vs Bayern Munich - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET
I could go on a lengthy explanation on why Bayern Munich will come away from the Volkswagen Arena with a victory on Friday afternoon, but it's not really necessary. Simply put: Bayern are playing better than everyone else. They've won all four matches since returning from the winter break outscoring opponents 11-0. Oh, yeah, they're unbeaten in their last twelve. They've also been playing out of their mind away from the Allianz. They have nine wins and one draw, and they have outscored their opponents 25-1. WHAT? I don't like your chances, Wolfsburg.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 0 - 3 Bayern Munich

Saturday, February 16

Werder Bremen vs Freiburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
Freiburg have been one of the surprise sides of the season and are currently sitting in fifth place in the Bundesliga table. If you had to guess the team with by far the second best defense in the Bundesliga, you probably wouldn't guess Freiburg. Well, you'd be wrong. Pavel Krmas and Diagne Fallou have anchored a defense that is only bested by Bayern at this point in the season. They've only allowed 20 goals thus far, and the pair have been a solid wall in front of goalkeeper Oliver Baumann. Werder Bremen are all the way down in 11th place, but only three points separates the two sides. They've been very up and down this season with eight wins, four draws, and nine losses. Can they put things together and grab a huge win over a tough opponent?
Prediction: Werder Bremen 1 - 0 Freiburg

Bayer Leverkusen vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
After a stellar first half of the season where they were basically the only side that could still see Bayern Munich in the table, Bayer Leverkusen have hit a few snags since returning for the winter break with draws against Freiburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach and a loss to Borussia Dortmund. In the Europa League midweek, they were downright awful against Benfica. They've started to collapse a bit defensively, and Augsburg is a good opponent to be coming in and instill a little confidence in your team. Since the winter break, Augsburg are undefeated. The problem is only one of those four matches has been a win. They need the points. They're one point out of the relegation playoff spot and nine points from escaping relegation completely.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2 - 0 Augsburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Greuther Fürth - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
Oof, this match could be a little brutal to watch. Fortuna Düsseldorf are sitting in 15th place, while Greuther Fürth are propping up the bottom of the table. While both of Fürth's wins this season have come away from home, Düsseldorf should handle them in this match. It'll be a grind.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 - 0 Greuther Fürth

Mainz vs Schalke - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
While sitting back and thinking about what is going on at Schalke, I believe I finally figured it out. The team that we saw through early November was abducted by aliens and replaced by a team of awful, awful, awful players. Nope? That's not right? Uh oh, they're in trouble. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is expected to miss another match for the club, and there are some rumors that Jens Keller is thinking of going to a strikerless formation. Mainz are in sixth place in the table thanks to an impressive defense. Can they keep this Schalke side from scoring? Yeah, they sure can. Will they? I have no reason why I'm taking them, but I think Schalke somehow... Somehow... Take this one.
Prediction: Mainz 0 - 1 Schalke

Hamburg vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
Hamburg took all six points from Borussia Dortmund this year with 3-2 victory at the Volksparkstadion and a stunning 4-1 smashing at the Westfalenstadion last weekend. They followed up the first match with a 2-2 draw at Gladbach. They can definitely do it again. Hamburg are playing well with Artjoms Rudnevs and Heung-Min Son with ten and nine goals respectively. Borussia Mönchengladbach's games since returning from the winter break with one win, one loss, and two draws. Couple that with their midweek 3-3 draw with Lazio, and you see they're not only scoring goals but conceding them as well.
Prediction: Hamburg 2 - 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 18:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
Far and away the candidate for "Match of the Weekend", Eintracht Frankfurt travel to the Westfalenstadion to take on Borussia Dortmund. The hosts are in second place and the visitors in fourth place, but they are only separated by two points. BVB had a difficult match midweek in the Champions league away to Shakhtar Donetsk. Both teams have a propensity for high scoring matches this season, so it should be a barnburner.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2 - 3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Sunday, February 17

Nürnberg vs Hannover - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET
Nürnberg seem like they're too far away to be bothered by relegation, but they're not playing well enough to challenge for a European place. They've played okay since the winter break and get the added bonus of Hannover coming of a European League game. Russia was unkind to Hannover, as they were handed a 3-1 loss at the hands of Anzhi Makhachkala Thursday. They've been really struggling defensively this season, but Nürnberg don't really have the players to give them a lot of problems Sunday.
Prediction: Nürnberg 1 - 1 Hannover

Hoffenheim vs Stuttgart - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM ET
Stuttgart have lost their last five Bundesliga matches by a combined score of 14-3. Seriously. They're down in 14th place, and it leaves you wondering just how Bruno Labbadia has a job. The team is listless, and something needs to happen to change things. Yep, I had this team finishing second in the Bundesliga this year. Oof. That was a mistake. Hoffenheim are in the relegation playoff place, but they only have a one point lead over 17th place Augsburg. It's time for Hoffenheim to start shaping up if they want to stay in the Bundesliga.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 2 - 2 Stuttgart

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