German clubs had another really good week in European competition with only one loss in seven matches in the Champions League and Europa League. Last weekend, Bayern Munich managed to stretch their lead atop the table to eight points, while Stuttgart and Wolfsburg put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Friday, November 23
Fortuna Düsseldrof vs Hamburg - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
Hamburg will look to continue their climb up the table with a visit to struggling Düsseldorf on Friday afternoon. Heung Min Son has been crazy good for Hamburg this season scoring six of the club's twelve goals this season. However, the big turnaround this season has been the defense. Thorsten Fink has been tinkering with the defense all season long trying to find the right combination and has currently settled on Dennis Diekmeier, Michael Mancienne, Heiko Westermann, and Marcell Jansen with a resurgent Rene Adler in goal. They've allowed the third fewest goals in the league this season with only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund besting them at this time. Strengthening the defense was Hamburg's number priority this summer, and it appears so far that this has happened. Düsseldorf have only taken one point in their last six matches. Uh oh.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 0 - 2 Hamburg
Saturday, November 24
Bayern Munich vs Hannover - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Bayern Munich struggled last weekend in the derby against Nürnberg and then again midweek in the Champions League in Valencia. Hannover comes to the Allianz Arena, and they'll look to get back on track and at least maintain their current eight point lead at the top of the table. There's a chance that Jupp Heynckes gives Mario Gomez his first start of the season this weekend. Bayern struggled against Nürnberg without Franck Ribery and/or Arjen Robben in the starting lineup. Hannover haven't been great defensively this season, so Bayern will get their opportunities. They have to finish. Hannover can be successful against this Bayern backline if they apply pressure early and often. While they're all good on the ball, they have struggled constantly this season when pressured out of the back.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3 - 1 Hannover
Schalke vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Schalke host Eintracht Frankfurt in a match between the league's second and third place sides. After starting the season strong, Frankfurt have taken only four of twelve points. Schalke have strengthened defensively this season but will likely be without Atsuto Uchida and Marco Höger again as the two recover from injuries. While I've been entertained by this Frankfurt side, they don't necessarily scare me. They're beginning to come back to earth now, and I think Schalke will score goals on this leaky defense.
Prediction: Schalke 3 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Wolfsburg have scored three goals in each of their last two games and have won both of them? Whoa. Really? Wow. Impressive. Well, the win over Bayer Leverkusen was impressive. The win over Hoffenheim gets you no credit from me. However, the play of Diego and Bas Dost has improved tenfold since Felix Magath was sacked by the club. With those two players performing at their current abilities, it would be tough for any team to beat them, let alone a side like Werder Bremen. Bremen has looked pretty good at times and are being led in the midfield by Aaron Hunt. The 26 year old is leading the club in scoring and has freed up the play of Marko Arnautovic and Kevin De Bruyne in front of him. With Nils Petersen appearing to have figured out how to play the forward position in the top flight, Bremen could be in for an excellent second half of the campaign.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 2 - 2 Werder Bremen
Mainz vs Borussia Dortmund - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
I really don't want to do this to Mainz. They've been playing some good football over the last month. But... Borussia Dortmund are rolling right now. Marco Reus has been amazing all season since his move back to BVB, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a player in better form than Mario Götze right now. Jakub Blaszczykowski has recently returned to the squad to add even more firepower to their attack. Again... Sorry, Mainz.
Prediction: Mainz 1 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
Greuther Fürth vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
There are two teams that I don't see being very good for the remainder of the season, and Greuther Fürth is one of them. Yeah, Nürnberg picked up a point against Bayern Munich last week, but how good are they? They're not very good, but they're better than Fürth.
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 0 - 1 Nürnberg
Sunday, November 11
Freiburg vs Stuttgart - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
I have a lot of faith in this Stuttgart side. At the beginning of the season, I picked them for a Champions League place finishing ahead of Schalke. They've struggled so far to start the season. Currently in 12th place on 16 points, they could find themselves all the way into 6th place if certain results went their way this weekend. It's going to be a tough contest as Freiburg are playing well. They've only lost once in their last six contests, and that was against Borussia Dortmund. The difference in this match will be Vedad Ibisevic.
Prediction: Freiburg 1 - 2 Stuttgart
Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
I haven't quite figured out what's wrong with this Hoffenheim team. Oh, wait. Yes, I have. They're not good. Seriously. Hoffenheim are just awful. Bayer Leverkusen slipped two weeks ago against Wolfsburg, but they rebounded quite nicely this past weekend with a big win over Schalke. Leverkusen have Germany's "most in-form over the last calendar year" striker in Stefan Kießling. Leverkusen should stroll.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 0 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Augsburg vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Congratulations, Augsburg! You're the second team I won't be picking to win any games. Borussia Mönchengladbach have been inconsistent at best this season, but they sit on 16 points in the crowd at the middle of the table. Luuk de Jong and Granit Xhaka haven't yet lived up to the hype that their signings brought this summer while the players they replaced have gone on to do good things at their new clubs. They've been a mess defensively with only the abject Hoffenheim allowing more goals at the back. Perhaps it's now obvious to everyone that Gladbach greatly outkicked their coverage last year with their fourth place finish. At this point, they're a midtable club, and there's not a single thing wrong with that.
Prediction: Augsburg 0 - 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach