• Friday, 26 February 2010

    Bundesliga round 24

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

    Top game needs no real big build-up: it's Schalke v Dortmund in the Friday night game. While Schalke go into the game third and very much in the running for the title, they come into the game on the back of a loss against Wolfsburg. Dortmund had a bit of a wobble over the last few weeks, but battered woeful Hannover last week to restore a bit of confidence. Trying to draw a form line is pretty pointless. This is one of the big derbies in Europe and form counts for little.

    Elsewhere, Bayern welcome Hamburg to the Allianz Arena in what looks a tasty clash. Hamburg squeezed through in the Europa League, away goals enough to beat PSV, but could welcome Ruud van Nistelrooy back after he missed last week's stalemate with Eintracht. Bayern haven't been at their swashbuckling best, but are still grinding out the results. With players like Ribéry and Robben, they're always capable of something special, often enough to see them through. Leverkusen continue to lead and their unbeaten record shouldn't be troubled by Cologne who are in terrible form.

    Woflsburg came to life last week, a Grafite double enough to beat Schalke, and scored a stunning win in Europe over the week by blitzing Villarreal 4-1. It's far too late to mount a proper defence of their title, but Hannover won't present anything like the challenge the Yellow Submarine did and perhaps Die Wolfe can get something out of this sorry season. Bremen also won well in Europe, also 4-1 against FC Twente, and have been buoyed by Aaron Hunt committing to the club long term. Hopefully, he'll be back for the trip to Mainz who are a tough proposition at home. Stuttgart continue to rise and had a decent result in Europe in midweek with a draw at home to Barcelona. Cacau is man bang in form and angling for a World Cup berth and a decent performance against Eintracht won't hurt. Elsewhere, two of the bottom four have tough away trips to negotiate. Gladbach and Bochum will both start short-odds favourites to see off Freiburg and Nurnberg respectively.

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