The Bundesliga returns this weekend with the second matchday of the season. While there are some games to keep your eye on during Saturday's actions, there are two quite tasty matches that don't kick off until Sunday. Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, and Borussia Mönchengladbach face lower table sides while Bayern Munich host Stuttgart in Sunday's main clash.Friday, August 31
Mainz vs Greuther Fürth - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
While the Bundesliga generally does a good job of getting quality matches for their Friday night showcase, this probably isn't one of the best. Mainz are coming off of a draw with Freiburg where they played well but needed a penalty to find their only goal. Unfortunately for Fürth, their first ever Bundesliga match put them up against Bayern Munich. That obviously didn't go well. I can see Mainz getting stalled again in the offensive half of the field against this Fürth defense.
Prediction: Mainz 1 - 1 Greuther Fürth
Saturday, September 1
Schalke vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Augsburg had a golden opportunity to start their second Bundesliga campaign with a win against newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf, but they failed miserably in a 0-2 defeat. Their second match isn't any easier as they have to travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke. I expect Klaas Jan Huntelaar and company to ease to a victory over their opponents.
Prediction: Schalke 3 - 1 Augsburg
Bayer Leverkusen vs Freiburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Aside from their one goal, Bayer Leverkusen looked poor against newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday. Stefan Kießling was active up top all match long, but Leverkusen must get more productivity out of Andre Schürrle. He is going to have to be better for this Leverkusen team to shine. Freiburg earned a point in a hard fought draw at home against Mainz, but they'll be disappointed to have give up all three after conceding that penalty. It was avoidable, but they looked good. Freiburg has been really good since Christian Streich was appointed manager during the winter break last season, but I think they'll get pipped on the road by a "garbage goal" from Kießling.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 1 - 0 Freiburg
Werder Bremen vs Hamburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Can I say how much I don't like this Hamburg side. I like to think that they're too good to get relegated, and I think they can still finish midtable. Something has to give though. Thorsten Fink needs to reconsider his centerback partnership of Michael Mancienne and Jeffrey Bruma. They don't play well together, and it's costing them points. Bremen put in a pretty good performance against Borussia Dortmund last Friday. I was surprised at how quickly their midfield gelled together. If they can find the groove they were in last week, they should have no problems against Hamburg.
Prediction: Werder Bremen 2 - 0 Hamburg
Nürnberg vs Borussia Dortmund - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Marco Reus has settled into this Borussia Dortmund side just fine. Nürnberg has a decent side this season, but this match won't be their finest 90 minutes.
Prediction: Nürnberg 1 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Hoffenheim pleased their fans by announcing the buyout of Ryan Babel's contract. The Dutch player (Forward? Winger? Whatever he is it doesn't work.) never found success wearing a Hoffenheim shirt, and now the club can look to their other options. Frankfurt had a good summer on the transfer market, and it showed in their match last week against Leverkusen. They're going to give Hoffenheim a run for their money in this match, and they may be able to come away with the win.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 1 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 18:30 CET / 12:30 PM EDT
Last week they pulled of a miraculous Bundesliga return with a win away to Augsburg in their first top flight match in 15 years. This week they play host to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Foals downed Hoffenheim last week thanks to the brilliant play of Juan Arango. The visitors should play a disciplined match and come away with an easy victory.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 0 - 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Sunday, September 2
Wolfsburg vs Hannover - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
The first of two fantastic matches on Sunday sees Hannover traveling to Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg held on in the Mercedes Benz Arena for 90 minutes before finding their winning goal against Stuttgart in week one. Hannover didn't leave it as late in their match against Schalke, but Adrian Nikci scored an equalizer in the 80th minute for a 2-2 draw. I like this Wolfsburg squad, but I was (and still am) concerned with how their defense will hold up throughout the season. I like Hannover to find an early goal thanks to Jan Schlaudraff. Wolfsburg will rebound in the second half, and I expect another big match from Bas Dost.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 2 - 1 Hannover
Bayern Munich vs Stuttgart - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Bayern handled Bundesliga new boys Greuther Fürth last week and eased to a 3-0 victory. With Franck Ribery being a late scratch, Bayern threw Xherdan Shaqiri into the starting eleven, and he played well. Stuttgart suffered a horrible final three minutes against Wolfsburg in week one. Vedad Ibisevic saw his penalty saved, and he then put the rebound over the bar. Minutes later Bas Dost scored to give Stuttgart a home loss on opening day. I think Bayern will get a goal in the first half, but Stuttgart will keep it close until late in the second half when the hosts score a second to end the match.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Stuttgart