German Bundesliga 2011, Week 9 Preview And Fixtures: Werder Bremen And Borussia Dortmund Highlight The Weekend

The top four of the table are all at home this weekend. The weekend is highlighted by Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund.

After the national team put in two dominate performances against Turkey and Belgium in the last week, the Bundesliga returns to action in epic fashion on Friday night. Borussia Dortmund travel to Werder Bremen in a match in a match that the both sides will be looking at as crucial if they have any title aspirations.

Friday, October 14

SV Werder Bremen vs Borussia Dortmund

Werder Bremen host Borussia Dortmund in the highlight match of the weekend. It's easy to look at Dortmund's season to this point and say they've struggled. Of course they have compared to their brilliance from last year, but in the grand scheme of things they're not in bad shape. They're only six points behind leaders Bayern Munich, and they should be getting star forward Lucas Barrios back to full fitness shortly. For the last several weeks, Barrios has been on spot duty, but he should be moving into the starting eleven sooner or later. If Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels can reestablish their dominant pairing in the middle of defense, Dortmund will make a run at the title. If Bremen can pull out a victory at home against Dortmund, they'll really make a statement that they're a legitimate threat to Bayern this season. They'll be on the attack through Claudio Pizarro up top, though they might be hindered by Marko Arnautovic's suspension. Defensively they're going to struggle to contain Dortmund's offensive weapons. We could be in for a shootout. Pick: SV Werder Bremen 2 - 3 Borussia Dortmund

Saturday, October 15

FC Bayern Munich vs Hertha BSC Berlin

Former Bayern defender Markus Babbel leads his Hertha Berlin side to Munich for the first time as manager. Christian Lell, Thomas Kraft and Andreas Ottl are also making their return to the Allianz Arena since leaving Munich. Unfortunately for Babbel, this Bayern team is a well-oiled machine. While they may not have scored any goals in week 8 against Hoffenheim, I expect Mario Gomez and company to have a really good game against Berlin. Pick: FC Bayern Munich 3 - 0 Hertha BSC Berlin

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs FC Augsburg

Mainz won their first two matches of the season. Augsburg haven't won at all. Struggling. This could be an absolute awful match to watch. Well, that or the greatest. Pick: 1. FSV Mainz 05 1 - 1 FC Augsburg

VfB Stuttgart vs 1899 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim put in a great performance in their last match against Bayern Munich holding the leaders scoreless. Stuttgart and Hoffenheim are two of the stingiest defenses in the league, and the match doesn't look to be full of goals. Roberto Firmino and Ryan Babel for the Hoff has been in good form and are forming quit the attacking trio with Sejad Salihovic. Stuttgart will be looking for their attack to go through Shinji Okazaki. The Japanese international was in great form for his country over the last week and will need a moment of brilliance for his side to be the victor. Pick: VfB Stuttgart 1 - 1 1899 Hoffenheim

VfL Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Nürnberg

Felix Magath has wrapped the rope around his club and is in the process of slowly dragging it up the table to a respectable position. They're sitting on nine points, and that's just not good enough for the taskmaster manager. Wolfsburg needs to buy a goalscorer in the January transfer window in order to pull themselves completely out of the funk they've been in the for the last year and a half. We'll get to see two of the Bundesliga's future great defenders for Nürnberg in 21 year old American Timmy Chandler and 22 year old German Philipp Wollscheid. Pick: VfL Wolfsburg 2 - 2 1. FC Nürnberg

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

If there was one match that could rise to the occasion to steal the show from Bremen and Dortmund this weekend this would be it. Gladbach have been excellent this year and have the second best defense in the division. While Leverkusen haven't been on top form like they were last season, they've still been pretty good. I will be interested to see who Lucien Favre decides to start in the place of Igor De Camargo who was injured while on international duty with Belgium and may be out for some time. Eren Derdiyok made headlines across the world in his last match with the spectacular bicycle kick. He'll need a similar moment to break down the Gladbach defense this weekend. Pick: Borussia Mönchengladbach 0 - 1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

FC Schalke 04 vs 1. FC Kaiserslautern

Schalke is too good for this Kaiserslautern team. With Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul scoring the goals and Jose Jurado and Jefferson Farfan supplying the service from the wings, Schalke could really be in for a breakout game offensively. FCK fans need to take heed and prepare defensively. Pick: FC Schalke 04 4 - 1 1. FC Kaiserslautern

Sunday, October 16

SC Freiburg vs Hamburger SV

Hamburg take to the road in the first match on Sunday looking to pick up their second win of the season. As the caretaker manager Rodolfo Cardoso thrust 20 year old Lam Zhi Gin into the starting eleven for the matches against Stuttgart and Schalke. Gin performed above expectations in both matches, and he'll likely be in the starting lineup against Freiburg. The hosts are coming off of a massive victory last week against Gladbach. It pulled them out of the relegation zone and helped end a three game losing streak. Freiburg are always a threat to score when Papiss Cisse on the pitch, but Hamburg's defense has been far more impressive over the last two matches than they were at the beginning of the season. Pick: SC Freiburg 0 - 1 Hamburger SV

1. FC Köln vs Hannover 96

After two weeks of very impressive results over Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim, Köln really looked awful against Hertha Berlin. Lukas Podolski and Milivoje Novakovič will need to put in an excellent performance and convert the few quality chances that they'll get this week. Hannover forward Mohammed Abdellaoue has scored 10 goals in 10 matches this season in all competitions. The Norwegian international has been in spectacular form and will be a threat to the Köln defense the entire match. Pick: 1. FC Köln 0 - 2 Hannover 96

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