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Hot Bundesliga Tips: TSG Hoffenheim vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen 12/2/11

Teams that are fighting in the middle of the Bundesliga table duke it out on Friday afternoon, and we are set to make our Bayer Leverkusen vs. TSG Hoffenheim picks for a tremendous clash on the pitch.

The trick for Leverkusen in this one is going to be not looking too far ahead to the finale of the group stages of the Champions League next week against Racing Genk. In the UCL, Bayer 04 needs just a point from the duel with Genk to ensure progress, while a loss at least leaves a measure of doubt. For now though, Friday’s clash is the one on our mind, and it should be the one on the minds of the German behemoths as well.

TSG Hoffenheim vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Date/Time: Friday, December 2nd, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
TSG Hoffenheim vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Television Coverage: ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com

Leverkusen is in the midst of a fine run of form. The team has taken points from four straight fixtures overall, including a Champion League triumph over Chelsea at home last week. The squad hasn’t played all that well at home domestically though, leaving with a bitter 2-2 draw against Hamburg SV on November 5th and a 1-0 defeat against Schalke 04 on October 23rd.

Bayer 04 as scored at least one goals in six straight fixtures, and in four straight, the team has found the back of the net at least twice. What is surprising though, is that Leverkusen only has a +1 goal differential for the season in spite of the recent goal outburst.

Stefan Kiebling has scored three times this year, and he also has a pair of assists. The man that he is doing the most setting up for is Eren Derdiyok, who has five strikes domestically. Michael Ballack has played in 10 games this year for Leverkusen domestically, though the 35 year old isn’t quite in the same type of form that he used to have in his days with Chelsea in the EPL.

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim is going in the wrong direction right now, and it has a pair of road tests coming up in the next eight days that could prove to be brutal. The team hasn’t taken full points in a match since October 22nd, and the very predictable slide down the Bundesliga table seems to be in full force.

The very simple problem that this team has is a lack of scoring goals. The new boys in the Bundesliga haven’t scored more than one goal in a fixture since September 17th. At that point in the year, TSG had scored 12 goals in six fixtures. Now in its last eight, it only has four goals scored. That won’t cut it on the road to survival for another year in the top flight, and the relegation playoff is only five points away, a margin that is probably only going to be getting closer and closer as the weeks drift by.

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It should come as no surprise that the hosts are the heavy favorites here at Bay Arena. The team is the odds on favorite at -135, while Hoffenheim is a significant underdog at +350 to take the three points on the road. The ‘total’ has been set at 2.5, and the oddsmakers are expecting this one to go past the number with the ‘over’ ringing in at -135.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

Kaiserslautern vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Predictions, Tips, & Picks 11/18/11

After a week away for international play, our Bundesliga picks are back once again for Friday’s standalone game pitting Kaiserslautern against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. This match features two teams that are sitting in the middle of the table, and both are trying to find an identity as to whether they are challengers or relegation contenders this year.

We don’t believe that the visitors are in any imminent trouble this year. Leverkusen has one of the richer sides in Germany, and though it is only in 8th position on the table right now, we do see that improving before the year is up for sure. Don’t be shocked if this team ends up in European competition again for next year after a strong 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga a year ago.

Kaiserslautern vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Date/Time: Friday, November 18th, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Kaiserslautern vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Television Coverage: ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com

Leverkusen is going to have a rough road ahead in the Champions League this year, as it has two more matches over the course of the next two weeks to determine whether it will survive for the knockout rounds or be knocked into the Europa Cup.

Of late, the team has been in average form in the Bundesliga as well, accounting for just a 2-2 draw at home against Hamburg SV and a 1-0 loss to Schalke 04 in its last two home games. Still, Bayer has a respectable road mark at 3-1-2 and a level goal differential to show for its work.

Kaiserslautern has had its problems producing goals this year, as it only has 10 strikes in 12 matches. The squad is in 12th place on the table with 13 points, but it is only three points safe from the relegation zone. If there is good news though, it is that recent form has been rather good for the hosts in this one. The team has picked up at least a point in four straight Bundesliga matches and five straight if you include DfB Pokal competition as well.

Watch out for Etey Shechter in this match. He only has three goals for the season, but the 24 year old has shown a real eye for goal since coming here from Hapoel Tel Aviv in the transfer season. He has 18 shots on target in nine matches.

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Last year, this was a series that was dominated by Bayer 04. The team won 1-0 here at Fritz-Walter Stadion, and 3-1 back at home. The last result in this series for Kaiserslautern came back in 2009 when the team was in the lower division. The hosts won that day 3-1 in the second round of the German Cup.

It should come as no surprise that the visitors are the slender +130 favorites, or at a pick ‘em -135 on the Asian Handicap. The ‘total’ rings in at 2.5, with the ‘over’ and ‘under’ coming in rather on rather level terms.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

Mainz vs. VfB Stuttgart Predictions, Tips, & Picks 11/4/11

Mainz FC is floating around the relegation zone right now in the German Bundesliga. On Friday, they’ll have a tough task in front of them just to claim a single point with one of the top sides in the country, VfB Stuttgart coming to town.

Mainz isn’t exactly in fine form right now, coming into this one off of a relatively expected 3-1 loss to the Werder Bremen at home on October 29th. The team hasn’t taken three points in a match since the first two fixtures of the year, and that’s why it has gone from near the top of the table to level with Hamburg SV for the relegation playoff in just nine fixtures. There is still a long, long season ahead, and things don’t look good for Mainz in its hope for survival.

This defense is just atrocious. The team has allowed 22 goals this year, and though that isn’t shocking, at least in terms of what the rest of the league has been able to do offensively for the most part, averaging allowing two goals per game is a recipe for relegation in virtually whatever league and whatever level of football you’re playing at.

Surprisingly, Mainz got off to a hot start last week against Bremen by coming out of the blocks with a 23rd minute goal from Niko Bungert. It was Bungert’s second goal of the campaign, and he became the fourth member of the team to strike at least twice. Maxim Choupo-Moting has three goals, and he is the only one to stake claim to have more than two goals for this team on the year.

Stuttgart has taken at least one point from four straight fixtures, though it probably is bitterly disappointed about its back to back draws at home against Borussia Dortmund and away at Nurnberg. There are still definitely some strong hopes about getting into European competition this year once again, something that the team isn’t involved in this year. Right now, Stuttgart is hanging in sixth place at 5-3-3 and 18 points, but there are only two points separating it and the Champions League as well in a tightly knit top of the Bundesliga table (beyond Bayern Munich).

There are already five players that have scored twice this year for VfB Stuttgart, led by Martin Harnik, who has four goals. This is another one of these teams atop this league that generally has no problem putting balls in the back of the net, and we don’t anticipate it being much of a problem this time around either.

This game is lined at a straight pick ‘em, and both sides are at -110 on the moneyline. We tend to think that the best play of the bunch is on the ‘over’ 2.5 goals at -105, as both of these clubs have the ability to score goals, and Mainz’s defense is about as strong as a leaky faucet or a slice of Swiss cheese. Expect at least three, if not more goals on Friday night at Mainz.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

SC Freiburg vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen Predictions, Tips, & Picks 10/28/11

On Friday afternoon, two teams that are battling to stay out of the relegation zone on the Bundesliga table meet up at Badenova Stadion in Freiburg, as SC Freiburg takes on Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

The truth of the matter is that Leverkusen should be in a heck of a lot better shape than this with Michael Ballack manning the captaincy. The team is 4-2-4 to show for its work thus far on the season, an awfully average mark for a team that has above average talent. The relegation zone is only six points away, but the march to get to European competition next year is only three points short. This is the type of fixture that this team should be taking against a team that knows that it will be fighting for its life for the rest of the season.

Ballack hasn’t tallied yet in this 2011-12 Bundesliga season, but he has had an assist and continues to be one of the better men in this lineup on a regular basis. Stefan Kiebling has three goals to lead the team, but the real contributions are coming from this defense. In a season in which it is becoming awfully routine for winning teams to have found the back of the net two, three, or even more times than that, Leverkusen is holding teams to just 1.4 goals per game in spite of its average place in the table.

Needless to say, things are going to have to improve for Bayer 04, as it has already been beaten twice this year at home, most recently in an 0-1 drop to Schalke 04. The team only has one point in its last two matches in the Bundesliga, though it does have a Champions League win over Villarreal to show for its work in the mix as well.

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Freiburg’s offense revolves completely around Papiss Demba Cisse. He has seven of the team’s 14 goals on the season, and when he doesn’t get on the stat sheet in some form or another, this team struggles.

Problems in defense have really cost this team though, as SV Freiburg is averaging allowing 2.5 goals per game, easily the most in the Bundesliga. The good news is that most of those goals have come in five away fixtures, as at home, Freiburg has actually outscored its foes 7-6 in spite of its 2-0-3 mark there.

There is definitely some hope for SC Freiburg though, as wins over Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach here at the Badenova Stadion have to give it some confidence going forward.

Still, it’s Leverkusen that is getting the slight nod at +100 to take all three points in this fixture on the road. Don’t be surprised though, if the hosts come out with sound and fury and not only hold Bayer 04, but perhaps take all three points as well.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

Hannover 96 vs. Bayern Munich Predictions, Tips, & Picks 10/23/11

Sunday afternoon wraps up the long weekend of Bundesliga scores, and we are back with our Bundesliga tips for the battle between two of the top sides in the country. We’re all set to make our Hannover 96 vs. Bayern Munich predictions and tips for arguably the biggest fixture of the weekend!
These two sides both had championship aspirations this season after falling flat last year and finishing in third and fourth. Hannover 96 has come quite a long ways since barely avoiding relegation in 2009-10 and being a mid level team in the Bundesliga table for basically a decade before it. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich just continues to dominate, as every single year, it is partaking in European competitions.

This year though, it is Munich that is truly dominating. In nine fixtures this year, the kings of German football have scored a whopping 25 goals, easily the most in the league. And, on top of that, they have only conceded a single strike, also better than anyone else by a solid five goals.

The only truly questionable result was the lifeless and scoreless draw at TSG Hoffenheim at the start of October. However, immediately after that fixture, Bayern turned around and smashed a more formidable foe, Hertha Berlin 4-0, their third win by at least four goals on the campaign.

Of course, it’s truly hard to argue with a side that hasn’t allowed a goal domestically since August 7th and that hasn’t given up a goal on the road all season long, but we are here to warn that Hannover has the team that could pull off one of the biggest upsets of the season.

Mohammed Abdellaoue has had a fantastic year for the Die Roten, as he already has six of the team’s 11 goals on the season. He is the only man to have scored more than once domestically on the season, and he is sure to be the focal point for the attack on Sunday as well.

Hannover has held its own in the Europa League this year, which has been a real accomplishment for this side. It is 1-1-1 in three fixtures, and it had to win a nervy playoff against Spanish side, Sevilla FC just to get into the competition.

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Domestically, it has been a true bag of mixed results. A 3-2 win at home over Werder Bremen has to give a lot of hope that this upset is possible, as does a 2-1 win over last year’s champs, Borussia Dortmund. However, on the flip side, a draw at home against lowly Mainz and a questionable 2-0 loss at FC Cologne last week are results that are going to potentially haunt as well.

We aren’t ready to lay that goal and a half quite yet on the road with Bayern Munich even though it clearly has the more consistent side in this match. In fact, we’re even willing to go out on a limb and say that we think that it is Hannover that can take the three points in this match. Getting nearly 7 to 1 on the Bundesliga odds is a gift for a team at home that has some real potential, and we plan on taking full advantage of it.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

FC Augsburg vs. SV Werder Bremen Predictions, Tips, & Picks 10/21/11

Our German Bundesliga tips are revved up again on Friday afternoon, as FC Augsburg tries to take out Werder Bremen.

Augsburg is sitting in the relegation zone right now, but the truth of the matter is that just staying alive in the Bundesliga is going to be a tremendous accomplishment. This is a team that has never been in the top flight of German soccer, and it claimed its first win ever on the road at Mainz just six days ago. It was a joyous event for all Augsburg fans, but sitting at just 1-4-4 through nine fixtures, the reality is striking there are going to have to be more wins on the horizon to keep this club alive without making the immediate drop back down to 2. Bundesliga.

So far on the campaign, scoring has been the big problem for Augsburg. This team only has seven goals in nine fixtures, and in the goal-happy Bundesliga, that’s a huge issue. Only Kaiserslautern has seven goals as well, but every other team in the league has at least 11 strikes on the campaign. The good news is that the ‘D’ has only allowed 16 goals, which is fewer than the other four teams in the relegation fight right now.

And then there is Werder Bremen, a team that is still fighting for one of the spots in European competition for the 2012-13 season. Bremen is 5-1-2 on the season, but those two losses have come in back to back matches.

Last Friday, Borussia Dortmund came into the Weserstadion and walked out with a 2-0 victory in spite of the fact that many were making their Bundesliga tips on the hosts in that match. It was the first time since August 14th that the team failed to score a goal in a match, and it was the first time in three fixtures that the squad didn’t strike twice.

Still, Claudio Pizarro, Markus Rosenberg, and Marko Arnautovic, who combined have scored 12 of Bremen’s 15 goals on the season, have to be licking their chops about going against this team, even on the road. The issue is that Werder Bremen only has netted five goals in six fixtures on the road this year, and this could be a big problem if the offense doesn’t get going in a hurry.

If the hosts are going to get their first three points at home in team history in the Bundesliga, they are going to have to do so as big time underdogs. Werder Bremen is a half goal favorite at -120, and the expectations are definitely there to snare three points from this fixture. Anything less will be considered a disappointment, especially against a side that many figured would be the worst in the league this year. The ‘total’ has been set at 2.5 over -150.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga

Werder Bremen Club vs. BVB09 Borussia Dortmund Predictions 10/14/11

Bayern Munich is absolutely destroying the rest of the competition and making for great Bundesliga tips this year, but on Friday, we are set to tackle the clash between Werder Bremen Club vs. Borussia Dortmund.

This has been a very, very strange run for Werder Bremen. The River Islanders won the Bundesliga 1 four times in their time in the top flight, most recently in 2003-04, and they have been runners up seven times, including in 2005-06 and 2007-08. However, last year, in a season which was as odd as could be in the Bundesliga, Bremen only just barely avoided the drop, staying clear in 13th place with just 41 points.

To make matters worse, lowly Heidenheimer SB knocked off Bremen 2-1 in the DFB Pokal in the first round, which leaves it with just the Bundesliga to play in this year. No cups. No European competition. Just domestic play.

So far, Bremen has made the most of this chance, posting a 5-1-2 mark through eight matches and leaving it in second place in the Bundesliga. That being said, it has been dominating at home, going 4-0-0 and outscoring teams by seven goals.

Claudio Pizarro is the leader of this team, and he already has six goals, one of the best marks in the league. Only Mario Gomez ad Klaas Jan Huntelaar have more goals with eight and seven respectively. Pizarro will be on display in this one, and he will be difficult to stop.

Don’t think that BVB09 is going to just lay down, though. No one really expected to see Dortmund win the Bundesliga last year, even relatively late in the season. However, the team posted at +45 goal differential and accounted for 75 points to win the league by seven points.

This year, Dortmund only has four wins in eight fixtures, and to make matters worse, it has three losses as well. The defending Bundesliga champs have a heck of a lot more to play for this year. They survived their first round DFB Pokal fixture with SV Sandhausen, winning 3-0 at the Hardtwaldstadion, and they are competing in the UEFA Champions League this year as well.

For a team that isn’t used to all of this activity, this could be part of the problem with its form. BVB09 has only accounted for one point in its first two matches in the UCL.

The good news is that Dortmund is coming off of a big time 4-0 win over FC Augsburg at home in the Bundesliga. The team has been split for almost two full weeks during the qualifying for Euro 2012, but so many of these stars will have played two fixtures in that timeframe.

These two teams split their fixtures last year with identical results. The home team won both matches by a 2-0 count, and there was little doubt about the hosts taking three points in either match. Of course, by the time these two teams met on May 7th in the Bundesliga, BVB09 had already become the 2010-11 Bundesliga champions.

Posted in Featured, German Bundesliga


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