Bundesliga 2012, Week 16 preview and fixtures: Bayern look to push lead at the top

Alexander Hassenstein

Bayern Munich travel to Augsburg with the hope of extending their lead at the top of the table.

Seven Bundesliga clubs entered European competition at the beginning of the season, and all seven will continue in Europe after the winter break. The league put on a masterful performance in the Champions League where Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and Schalke won their groups. After this weekend, there will be only one more match before the winter break.

Friday, December 7

Hamburg vs Hoffenheim - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM

Thorsten Fink's side are up to ninth in the table but will likely be playing their last two matches before the winter break without Rafael Van der Vaart and Maximilian Beister. Oh, wait! This week they're playing Hoffenheim. They shouldn't have any concerns about getting at least a point out of this match. Hoffenheim are on a four match losing streak, and manager Markus Babbel was sacrificed at the beginning of the week with hopes that it will invigorate this side. The problem is simple: Hoffenheim just aren't good enough.
Prediction: Hamburg 2 - 1 Hoffenheim

Saturday, December 8

Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

Jürgen Klopp rested several starters midweek against Manchester City in the Champions league, and Borussia Dortmund still came away with the victory. Yo, this team is good. After a slow start, Robert Lewandowski has scored 9 goals, and Marco Reus has shown that he is a world class player with 5 goals and 5 assists so far. They conceded first again Bayern last weekend, but they equalized within minutes. They're 11 points back right now but will hope to cut it to single digits before the break. Wolfsburg have struggled this season, and it's not going to get any better this weekend.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3 - 1 Wolfsburg

Stuttgart vs Schalke - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

While Germany received positive results midweek in Europe from most, Stuttgart was the one side that did not produce. They lost to Molde and only advanced, because Copenhagen could not beat 10-man Steaua București. In the league, they've managed to find their way into 7th place on 22 points. They still need to find consistency on the offensive and defensive ends in these last few matches before the winter break. Schalke have only taken two out of their last twelve points in the league. A quick turnaround here in the final two matches before the break will be positive as they look to get back into the title race.
Prediction: Stuttgart 1 - 2 Schalke

Nürnberg vs Fortuna Düsseldorf - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

Nürnberg saw a little three match unbeaten run snapped by Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. They had picked up five points in those previous three matches. Nürnberg aren't scoring goals this year, and their forwards have only chipped in three total. That's not going to win you many matches. Fortuna Düsseldorf were looking dead in the water, but they've thrown together an impressive unbeaten run with victories over Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt and a big draw away to Borussia Dortmund. I've been hugely impressed by recent results and don't see them losing this weekend.
Prediction: Nürnberg 1 - 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Freiburg vs Greuther Fürth - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

I believe I set the rules a few weeks ago. I will not be picking Greuther Fürth to win anytime soon. At least not until after the winter break. That's the earliest that I'll pick them to win.
Prediction: Freiburg 2 - 0 Greuther Fürth

Augsburg vs Bayern Munich - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

Bayern Munich are eight points clear at the top of the table, and they have the opportunity to push their lead at the top with a visit to Bavarian rivals Augsburg on Saturday. Mario Gomez is back and scoring goals. Bayern have a +35 goal differential after only 15 games. They've been in unbelievable form this year and are 30 points ahead of Augsburg in the table. Yikes.
Prediction: Augsburg 0 - 3 Bayern Munich

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen - 18:30 CET / 12:30 PM ET

Expect goals in this match as both sides have quality offenses and poor defenses. Eintracht Frankfurt are being led by Alexander Meier. The 29 year old has 9 goals this season and doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. Werder Bremen have seen massive contributions up front from Nils Petersen, Aaron Hunt, Kevin De Bruyne, and Marko Arnautovic. The four players have combined for twenty goals and ten assists. The match presents a huge opportunity for Bremen to pull into a top five place in the table with a win.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 2 - 2 Werder Bremen

Sunday, December 12

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Mainz - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM ET

Borussia Mönchengladbach are going to try to push their way up the Bundesliga table after a poor start to the season with a win over Mainz this weekend. Luuk de Jong is back from his injury, and he scored a goal midweek in the Europa League in his first match back. Mainz's Ádám Szalai has been performing well for Mainz with nine goals so far this season. Mainz are up to 6th in the table, and have the opportunity to push into third place if results go their way.
Prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 - 2 Mainz

Hannover 96 vs Bayer Leverkusen - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM ET

Hannover have one win and three losses in their last four matches, and they'll be hoping that they can turn the AWD Arena back into a fortress like it was last season when Bayer Leverkusen visit this weekend. Leverkusen have won six out of their last seven matches and have jumped up the table into second place. Stefan Kießling has continued his great run and has nine goals to his name so far and it's tough to find another forward in better form. Leverkusen are going to find a way to pull out the victory and keep the pressure on Bayern Munich.
Prediction: Hannover 1 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen

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