Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund carried the Bundesliga banner into the semifinals of the Champions League this week, and both did so in style. They return to Bundesliga action this weekend, but neither side's match is that important. Friday is a big encounter between Freiburg and Hannover. A win for Freiburg will put some real pressure on Schalke who host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, while a win for Hannover will see them get back into the Europa League race.
Friday, April 12
Freiburg vs Hannover - 2:30 PM ET / 20:30 CET
Friday's match between Freiburg and Hannover is a big one for both sides. If Freiburg win, they'll pull level on points with Schalke who don't play until Saturday. For a club like Freiburg to qualify for the Champions League (It's still a HUGE "if".) out of the Bundesliga, it would be quite the impressive accomplishment. The club from the Black Forest have been grinding out results this season while occasionally playing really attractive soccer. It was announced on Thursday that Freiburg midfielder Max Kruse will be heading to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer, so it'll be interesting to see if that unsettles him at all on the field. Hannover missed an opportunity last week with a scoreless draw against Stuttgart, but they can really get their Europa League qualifying campaign back on track here.
Prediction: Freiburg 2 - 2 Hannover
Saturday, April 13
Bayern Munich vs Nürnberg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
How in-depth should one go in this preview? Another day, another game, another shutout. Bayern win.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Nürnberg
Wolfsburg vs Hoffenheim - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Wolfsburg could put some more breathing room between themselves and the relegation when they face Hoffenheim who are (shocker) in the relegation zone. They have a ten point advantage at the moment, and they'll absolutely love being thirteen points up with only five games left. I'm calling Ivica Olic to get the winner.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 0 Hoffenheim
Mainz vs Hamburg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
I'm expecting a crazy exciting game between Mainz and Hamburg even if it's not the best. Both sides need a win for their challenge to qualify for next season's Europa League. The last three matches have been pretty rough for Hamburg, but it really hasn't been any better for Mainz. This is one not to miss.
Prediction: Mainz 2 - 2 Hamburg
Greuther Fürth vs Borussia Dortmund - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
We're getting closer and closer to the day where Greuther Fürth are mathematically relegated to the 2.Bundesliga. So... Yeah... This weekend they play Borussia Dortmund. I'm taking BVB.
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 0 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Werder Bremen - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Fortuna Düsseldorf haven't won since the middle of February, and they've slipped farther down the table to the point where they're now threatened by potential relegation. With only a five and six point lead that seems to dwindle a little bit all the time, Düsseldorf could really a win this weekend. Bremen are all over the place every single weekend, so why shouldn't they pick up a big win to move themselves closer to safety?
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 0 - 1 Werder Bremen
Schalke vs Bayer Leverkusen - 12:30 PM ET / 18:30 CET
This is a big match for both sides. If Bayer Leverkusen are able to win, they'll move seven clear of Schalke in cementing their stake on third place in the league. If Schalke take all three points, they'll put more points between themselves and fifth place and move within one point of Leverkusen for the third and final guaranteed Champions League group stage place for next season. The player to watch for Schalke is Julian Draxler. The nineteen year old midfielder has been excellent this season and could cap it off by leading Die Königsblauen back to the Champions League since the departure of Lewis Holtby. For Die Werkself, Stefan Kießling is the key... Stefan Kießling is always the key.
Prediction: Schalke 1 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Sunday, April 14
Stuttgart vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 9:30 AM ET / 17:30 CET
I'm going to continue my "Hate on Stuttgart" campaign. If you're new here, I picked Stuttgart to finish second in the league this season. Good god could I have been more wrong? Haha. They're quite awful. Gladbach are a better side and will find a way to win this one.
Prediction: Stuttgart 1 - 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Augsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 11:30 AM ET / 17:30 CET
Augsburg are still within striking distance of finding their way out of the relegation zone, but taking three points from Die Adler this weekend will be extremely difficult. After a great run of form to start the second half of the season, Augsburg have now lost three of their last four, and their end of season run is rather difficult. One point is on the table, however, as Frankfurt's offense has been sputtering over the last two months. They've only managed four goals in their last eight games and have been shutout in six of them.
Prediction: Augsburg 1 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt