• Thursday, 4 February 2010

    Bundesliga round 21

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

    Last time Bayern paid a visit to the VW-Arena, Wolfsburg tore them a new hole, winning 5-1 - thanks in part to this stunner from Grafite - and really laying down a marker en route to their ultimate title triumph. How times change. Grafite looks a fat, lazy shadow of the 2008/9 vintage, Zvjezdan Misimovic is not exerting the same influence on the side and only really Edin Dzeko is living up to the standards laid down by Felix Magath last season. By contrast, Bayern's only real problem are Arjen Robben's leggings. He's been wearing a pair of grey longjohns while the temperatures are rock bottom and the DFB seem concerned that he ought to be wearing red ones. Yes, really. If this is what they're worried about, then German football must be in rude health.

    Leverkusen go to Bochum as unbackable favourites, but it's this kind of trip that's caused them problems in the past, leading to the Neverkusen tag. They look in no mood to trip up this time. Barnetta, Kroos, Hyypia, Adler, Derdiyok... They're all in great form. Patrick Helmes can't get on the field and they've scarcely noticed that Simon Rolfes is done for the season. Bochum have picked up some useful points lately, but should be no match. Freiburg were Leverkusen's victims last week and they face fellow front-runners Schalke this week. It looks like a similar outcome to last week in the offing.

    Still eight points from safety, Hertha take on misfiring Bremen with both sides desperate for points. Despite all their attacking flair which took them, briefly, to the top of the tree, it's all gone wrong for Bremen while Hertha are just awful. This could be a war of attrition, but a win for either side may inject life into the campaign that's much needed. Nurnberg remain second bottom and face fast improving Stuttgart while Hannover go to Hoffenheim. The Villagers have been in rotten form and look increasingly unlikely to make Europe. If they are to get there, then this is the sort of fixture they need to get them back on track. Cologne have scored some great results lately and have a visit from Hamburg - a tougher test than they've had of late.

    Dortmund's run of six straight wins came to an abrupt end last week, but a home game with Eintracht should be a good way to get back on track while Gladbach can go above Mainz should they win that clash. Mainz at home are a tough nut to crack though.

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