• Thursday, 21 January 2010

    Bundesliga round 19

    Freiburg v Stuttgart
    Nurnberg v Eintracht
    Hertha v Monchengladbach
    Bochum v Schalke
    Bremen v Bayern
    Mainz v Hannover
    Dortmund v Hamburg
    Wolfsburg v Cologne
    Hoffenheim v Leverkusen

    Top game in the Bundesliga this week sees resurgent Hamburg the latest side to try to break Dortmund's impressive winning streak. With Mladen Petric back from injury, Hamburg have a potency up front they missed badly in the months before the winter break. Prior to that, they were lost without Eljero Elia through whom all the attack was going. Now, at least they have options. Dortmund looked good enough without Mohamed Zidan - away with Egypt and looking good for a third straight Africa Cup of Nations - although they almost threw a handy lead away last week against lowly Cologne.

    In any other season, the trip to Bremen by Bayern would attract most eyes, but Bremen's woes of late coupled with Bayern's superb run make this look a one-sided affair in prospect. Schalke are also up at the sharp end and have a derby with Bochum to negotiate this week. They should be pretty comfortable with this one though and maintain their pursuit of Leverkusen who have a tricky one away at Hoffenheim. Dietmar Hopp demanded European football this season as recompense for his backing, but The Villagers are some way off the pace at the moment. They're capable of beating anyone in this league and probably many others, but consistency has eluded them and Leverkusen are very organised. Moreover, Simon Rolfes came back last week and Patrick Helmes got a bit more game time under his belt as he comes back from knee trouble.

    At the bottom, Hertha scored a morale-boosting win last week, but still remain some way adrift. They take on another struggling side this week in the shape of Gladbach and if there was ever a time to string some wins together, it's now. Hannover got rid of Andreas Bergmann following the defeat to Hertha and former Schalke supremo Mirko Slomka takes over in time for the trip to Mainz. Nurnberg are at home to Eintracht who continue to grind out results. Stuttgart aren't still completely out of trouble, but take on Freiburg who are hovering above the bottom three and the other side in trouble, Cologne, go to Wolfsburg. That looks a hopeless task, even if the champions aren't in great form themselves. Despite his club's form, Edin Dzeko's agent has told anyone who will listen that €40m will be enough to persuade his client to move. Frankly, that sounds like a bargain.

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