Bundesliga Predictions and Best Bets – February 26-28, 2021
It was a surprisingly tough week for Bayern, as the almost perennial Bundesliga champions drew with Arminia Bielefeld on Monday and then lost to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Those results have allowed RB Leipzig to now make the title race very interesting. Julian Nagelsmann’s side is just two points behind Bayern with 12 games to play.
Dortmund swept aside Schalke in the Revierderby, much to the annoyance of the Schalke fans. The result was probably one of the more predictable of the week, though – and now Dortmund may feel as though it has a chance of finishing in the top four.
At the bottom, Mainz took advantage of everyone else losing by recording another victory that could go a long way to helping the club stay up this season. That didn’t seem very likely just a few months ago.
Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt kick-off matchday 23 on Friday – and I’ll be looking at that and the eight other Bundesliga fixtures over the weekend. I’ll also pick out three of the best bets to consider in the German top-flight over the next few days.
Eintracht Frankfurt to Beat Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen went down badly last weekend, losing 4-0 to Hoffenheim in a game that head coach Florian Kohfeldt would have looked at as a potential win. A lack of goals has been a problem all season for Bremen, and even the return of Milot Rashica has not helped matters. There is not that much of a gap between the club and those at the bottom of the table, so it needs to pick up a few points from somewhere soon.
That probably won’t happen on Friday, as Frankfurt comes to town full of confidence after beating Bayern Munich last week. When it was announced that André Silva would miss that game, not many would have thought the Eagles had a chance. But an excellent first-half effort – and a defensive master class in the second – earned Frankfurt the points. Silva should be back for this one, and an away win looks to be on the cards.
Bayern Munich to Beat Koln
Bayern has had to deal with a number of injuries, positive COVID tests, and extra fixtures due to its participation in the FIFA Club World Cup – but winning just one point from games against Bielefeld and Frankfurt is still a big thing. Hansi Flick will not be happy with those results, and Koln can probably expect a fearsome reaction on Saturday. Bayern did manage to put four past Lazio in the week, but there is just a two-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga now.
Koln might not have to deal with the twin threat of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, but it might have to work out how to stop teenage sensation Jamal Musiala. He elected to play for Germany in the week and could start this one. Koln has played better since the start of the year but comes into this one on the back of defeats to Frankfurt and Stuttgart – and there will be very few that feel that the Billy Goats can get anything from their trip to the Allianz Arena.
Borussia Dortmund to Beat Arminia Bielefeld
The good news for Dortmund fans is that Erling Haaland looks to be back to his very best. He has been directly involved in the last 12 goals his team has scored and was influential in the Champions League victory in Seville before the thrashing handed out to Schalke in the Revierderby. Results have not been quite as good, though, and Dortmund cannot afford to slip up against sides such as Arminia Bielefeld.
Bayern did just that last week, of course. But it would take a huge effort on Bielefeld’s part to come away from the Westfalenstadion with anything. That sensational draw with Bayern was the only positive result in the last four – and it was comprehensively beaten by Wolfsburg last weekend. Bielefeld only sits behind Hertha on goal difference, but head coach Uwe Neuhaus should be wary of Mainz directly below.
Stuttgart to Beat Schalke
It was announced in the week that the best-case scenario for Stuttgart would be that it kept one of its two stars – Silas Wamangituka or Sasa Kalajdzic. The club would receive a good amount of money for either but will want to make the most of them before the end of the season. Both strikers could get in the action on Saturday as they line up against the worst defense in the Bundesliga. So there could be a few more goals to celebrate this weekend.
They probably won’t be for Schalke – although American Matthew Hoppe will do his best to add to a tally that is fairly impressive, considering it is his first season in the Bundesliga, and Schalke has been so bad. The Royal Blues are really only playing for pride now – and there is not much of that left after the mauling it received from Dortmund in its biggest game of the season.
Christian Gross has been forced to turn to his third-choice keeper for this game, and it remains to be seen whether he is any better than what has come before.
Wolfsburg to Beat Hertha Berlin
While Bayern’s defeat to Frankfurt highlighted the closeness of the title race between the champions and RB Leipzig, it is the club in third that has been quietly going about its business. Only Leipzig has conceded fewer goals, and no one has lost fewer games than Wolfsburg this season. Oliver Glasner will be missing John Brooks at the back for this game, though, after he picked up one too many yellow cards. But he will have Wout Weghorst upfront – and the Dutch striker is sure to be hungry for more goals after failing to score in the last two games.
It is a completely different story for Hertha, who is flirting dangerously with relegation and only sits above the playoff place thanks to a superior goal difference than Arminia Bielefeld. Pal Dardai is still to celebrate a victory as head coach, and the arrival of Sami Khedira has not had the expected boost on the pitch. A lot is put on the shoulders of Matheus Cunha to provide the chances and score the goals for the Berlin side. But he cannot do it all alone, and this game looks like being another frustrating day for the Brazilian.
RB Leipzig to Beat Borussia Monchengladbach
Julian Nagelsmann would have been bitterly disappointed by the loss to Liverpool in his side’s home’ leg in the Champions League last week. But he will be happier with the way his players have responded in the Bundesliga – and that Bayern’s poor results have allowed Leipzig to consider itself a true title challenger this season. There is still a long way to go, but Leipzig will now feel that it is in with a chance. Crucial games against Frankfurt and Bayern come up in the next month, though.
It is not that long ago that Borussia Monchengladbach was included in the conversation as possible title challengers. But a poor run of form has seen the Foals drop out of the running, even for a top-four finish. The strange timing of the announcement that head coach Marco Rose will be leaving to take over at Dortmund next season has also had a negative effect. There are some good players in this team, but there is a feeling that Gladbach might limp along to the end of the campaign now.
Union Berlin to Beat Hoffenheim
It is not unfair to say that Union Berlin has overachieved this season and is not part of the top group of clubs in the Bundesliga. But Die Eisernen is also only three points off a European place and could welcome Max Kruse back to the side on Sunday. He may not be quite ready to start a game, but he is still the top goal scorer and holds a huge influence on this team. With Hertha performing so badly, Union is by far the better Berlin side this season – and a top-six finish would top off a very successful season.
Union should be able to get the better of Hoffenheim on Sunday, as the visiting side has not been able to play well consistently this season. For every good win, there has seemed to be more defeats. Last week’s 4-0 win over Werder Bremen was impressive, though, especially as it was not left to Andrej Kramaric to score the goals. The Croatian striker is usually the one to find the net, but there were four other goal scorers last week. I doubt that will be the case this Sunday, though.
Mainz to Beat Augsburg
Kevin Stoger did it once again last week. The midfielder scored with just minutes to go to earn all three points for Mainz away at Borussia Monchengladbach. It was the same player that found the net in stoppage time the week before to snatch a draw away at Leverkusen. But it is not just him that has made it easier to get over the loss of Jean-Philippe Mateta. Mainz is now unbeaten in three games and just one point behind Hertha, who sits one place above the relegation playoff spot. Another win on Sunday could see the 05ers climb out of the drop zone.
Augsburg may not find Mainz an easy opponent, but it will be glad to have finished a run of fixtures against the top teams in the Bundesliga. Unsurprisingly, Augsburg has lost to Bayern, Dortmund, Leipzig, and Wolfsburg in the last month – but it did manage a draw with Leverkusen last weekend. After being gifted a goal very early on, it should probably have been a rare victory for Heiko Herrlich’s side, but it couldn’t quite hang on and conceded an equalizer deep into stoppage time. Strangely, Mainz might be an even tougher opponent on Sunday.
Bayer Leverkusen to Beat Freiburg
Leverkusen will rely on its tricky wingers to inspire a first win in three in the final game of matchday 23. Peter Bosz will have to make do without the suspended Moussa Diaby, but that may mean that Demarai Gray gets his first start for the club. He has looked very good as a substitute since switching from the English Premier League and might be the one that unlocks the Freiburg defense on Sunday. With Frankfurt and Wolfsburg continuing to play so well, Leverkusen cannot afford not to win its home games now.
Freiburg has not won in its last two games either, but that means that the Black Forest club will probably not be making a push for one of the European places now. Union Berlin beat Christian Streich’s side last week, and that keeps it down in ninth and six points off the final European place. Streich has no real injury problems to deal with but may well change around his team to combat the danger posed by the lively Leverkusen wide men.
My Top Bundesliga Picks for February 26-28, 2021
Here are my three picks in the Bundesliga for matchday 23. Odds are courtesy of Betway.
- Eintracht Frankfurt to beat Werder Bremen – 1.33
- Union Berlin to beat Hoffenheim – 2.30
- Mainz to beat Augsburg – 2.05
There is a remarkably straightforward set of fixtures in the Bundesliga this week, so that makes for some less than exciting odds. But I have still chosen three that should bring some winning returns at the very least. The first one being for the Frankfurt side to overcome Werder Bremen away from home. If Andre Silva is fit to play, this should be even more of a certainty.
Next, I’ve gone for Union Berlin to beat Hoffenheim in the early game on Sunday. Die Eisernen may have faltered slightly, but it has been able to keep close enough to the top teams to cause some worry – and now that Max Kruse is back, there should be a few more goals scored. Hoffenheim crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday and could be in for some more disappointment in Berlin at the weekend.
My final pick of the week is for Mainz to continue its excellent run of results and beat Augsburg at home. The visiting side’s recent record is a little skewed because of the caliber of opponent, but I really like the way the 05ers have been playing – even without the injured Robin Quaison.