German Bundesliga Preview, Matchday 3: Borussia Dortmund Look To Rebound Against Nurnberg

After a disappointing loss last week to Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund host FC Nürnberg looking to get back on track to defending their Bundesliga title. In other matches, Bayern München host Hamburg on Saturday and Mainz 05 host Schalke on Sunday.

Friday, August 19

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs VfL Wolfsburg
Gladbach earned a victory and a draw against Bayern and Stuttgart in their first two matches. They'll get to host a Wolfsburg club that will be feeling hard done by after last week's last minute loss to Bayern. Wolfsburg signed free agent midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger this week, and we'll have to see if Felix Magath deems him fit to see time after not going through a preseason. Patrick Helmes and Mario Mandžukić will need to be shooting perfectly to beat Marc-André ter Stegen. The Gladbach goalkeeper is only 19, but he looks like a potential star in the net. Pick: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 1 VfL Wolfsburg

Saturday, August 20

FC Augsburg vs 1899 Hoffenheim
The Hoff come off of a massive victory last week at home against Dortmund. Sejad Salihović scored a spectacular free kick to give his side the win. Augsburg was able to pick up draws in their first two matches again Freiburg and Kaiserslautern, but Hoffenheim will be their first true test. Holger Stanlislawski has to be pleased with the sides performance last weekend, and they should carry it over this week. Pick: FC Augsburg 0 - 2 1899 Hoffenheim

VfB Stuttgart vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen
I'm a huge fan of young André Schürrle, but his first two league matches have not been impressive in a Leverkusen shirt. I'm waiting for him to kick off, and I think it's going to happen soon. I'm still amazed that Leverkusen brought in 19 year Bernd Leno on loan from Stuttgart and threw him right into the fire last weekend against Werder Bremen where he earned his first clean sheet in his first top flight match. Stuttgart will be counting on Cacau to score goals this year, and he has two after two matches. I expect him on the scoresheet again this weekend. Pick: VfB Stuttgart 2 - 1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

FC Bayern München vs Hamburger SV
No team has been more disappointing after two matches than Hollywood FC. Without the last minute strike from Luiz Gustavo last week against Wolfsburg, they'd be sitting on one point after two matches. That's definitely not the way that many people's preseason favorite were supposed to start the season. Arjen Robben missed last weekend, but he did feature midweek in the UEFA Champions League qualifier against FC Zurich. Robben is expected to play this weekend, and he should prove to be the difference. Hamburg have been very poor to begin this season especially defensively. Through two matches they've given up five goals. I don't expect improvement this weekend. Pick: FC Bayern München 2 - 0 Hamburg SV

Borussia Dortmund vs 1. FC Nürnberg
After last week's shocker, expect to see Dortmund come out firing against Nürnberg. Großkreutz, Götze and Kagawa should be back in top form attacking the Nürnberg defense from all corners. Neven Subotic should return this weekend to the side and re-solidify the central defense with Mats Hummels. Limiting Tomáš Pekhart's scoring chances will be vital to ensuring that Dortmund get back in top form. Pick: Borussia Dortmund 3 - 1 1. FC Nürnberg

SV Werder Bremen vs SC Freiburg
Freiburg forward Papiss Cisse has continued to be linked with a move this summer. The Senegalese forward has two goals this season adding to his tremendous total last year. As for Bremen, they haven't sold captain Per Mertesacker which will benefit the club. Keeping him in the central defense is vital to their chances this season. The club is good enough offensively to get past the Freiburg defense with Marko Marin and Mehmet Ekici. I'm a big fan of Ekici and think he can be the focal point for any club on the offensive end. Until Claudio Pizarro returns can they score enough goals to stay high in the table? Pick: SV Werder Bremen 2 - 1 SC Freiburg

1. FC Köln vs 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Both clubs have looked quite awful to begin the season and will try to straighten things out against each other. Who will get things moving first for their side, Lukas Podolski or Cristian Tiffert? Pick: 1. FC Köln 1 - 1 1. FC Kaiserslautern

Sunday, August 21

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs FC Schalke 04
I'm going to be completely honest in the fact that I though at the beginning of the season that Schalke had the talent to be a possible dark horse candidate for the championship. They looked good against Köln last week, but you can't take much from that much. The hope will be that Klaas Jan-Huntelaar has found a groove in which goals will come easily for him. Mainz has started the season on fire for the second straight season. Currently on top of the table, Mainz will be looking at this game as an opportunity to take all three points. I'm a fan of Sami Allagui and can see him giving Benedikt Höwedes trouble in the back. Pick: 1. FSV Mainz 05 2 - 2 FC Schalke 04

Hannover 96 vs Hertha BSC Berlin
No Bundesliga side has looked better this earli season than Hannover. With wins over Hoffenheim and Nürnberg to begin the season and a midweek victory over Sevilla FC in the Europa League, they've shown that they're ready to continue their fantastic run from last season. Mohammed Abdellaoue has been excellent for Hannover to begin the season and will look to add to his total this weekend. Hertha doesn't look like the team to stop Hannover at this point. Pick: Hannover 96 2 - 0 Hertha BSC Berlin

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