• Thursday, 26 August 2010

    Bundesliga round 2 previews

    Kaiserslautern v Bayern
    Schalke v Hannover
    Nurnberg v Freiburg
    Bremen v Cologne
    Wolfsburg v Mainz
    Eintracht v Hamburg
    St Pauli v Hoffenheim
    Leverkusen v Monchengladbach
    Stuttgart v Dortmund

    Three clubs were sweating on the Champions League draw ahead of this weekend's action. Bremen performed a superb comeback to beat Sampdoria. Leading 3-1 from the first leg, it shouldn't have been that hard, but Samp quickly built up a 3-0 lead on the night with Giampaolo Pazzini on fire. But Markus Rosenborg blazed in a stunning stoppage time goal that squared it all up on aggregate. It totally took the wind out of Samp's sails and extra time was all Bremen. Marko Marin set up Claudio Pizarro for a long-range winner that put them through and they've drawn Inter, Spurs and Twente. They'll be confident of qualification, no doubt. They've got Cologne in the league this week; again a task they'll be confident of completing. Bayern, as one of the top seeds, got a reasonable draw: Roma, Basel and Cluj. We like Basel in the offices here, but Bayern are easily the pick of those four and also way too good for Lautern on Friday night. Schalke also got a decent draw. Benfica have started their season exceptionally badly, Lyon are a lore unto themselves and then there's Hapoel Tel Aviv. Mind, they need to show something themselves before they can declare themselves favourites to progress. At home to Hannover, they'll be fine this week.

    Wolfsburg are closing on a move for Juventus's former Bremen playmaker Diego - at time of writing he's passed a medical - and he could play against Mainz this weekend. Not that they should need him: Die Wolfe by plenty there with or without him. Hoffenheim lead the way after one game and take on St Pauli, also round one winners, this week. This will be more of a test of St Pauli's Bundesliga credentials as The Villagers look pretty good this year. All the trouble makers that made Ralf Rangnick's life a misery last year are gone now that Carlos Eduardo's move to Rubin Kazan has gone through. We reckon they're in good shape. Stuttgart and Dortmund both lost in week one, but that was something of a surprise as they both look decent sides. This should be a good game, but is almost bound to finish goalless.

    Hamburg are away at Eintracht which may be more of a test than a misfiring and short-handed Schalke did last week. Eintracht look really hard to break down which may not be pretty, but can be pretty effective. Leverkusen looked impressive last week in dismantling Dortmund and take on a workmanlike Gladbach in round 2. And, for completeness, there's Nurnberg v Freiburg in which two sides short on quality will probably go out and produce a 5-4 thriller or somesuch. Or a 0-0 draw. One or the other - nothing in between.

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