Soccer / fixtures
Bundesliga Preview: Week 15
With three match days to go until the winter break, Borussia Dortmund look set to become the Herbstmeister, or "autumn champions". Can the chasing pack make up ground on the league leaders? One thing is certain: this season has thrown up plenty of surprises, so there will surely be more this weekend... As usual, I am going to be predicting the scores for all nine matches from Friday through to Sunday evening. There is also the competition for this week, where you can put your own predictions in the comments section and win 1 SCR if you beat my total score.1.FC Nürnberg v VfL Wolfsburg (Fri.) Struggling Nürnberg are desperate to stop their slide with a welcome home win, but they have picked the wrong time to run into opponents Wolfsburg. After a bit of a slump after their great start, the Wolves have found a rich vein of form again and will look to finish in the first half of the season in the top half of the table. Bruno Labbadia's side to take this by the odd goal in three, plunging Der Club into deeper relegation trouble. Prediction: Nürnberg 1:2 Wolfsburg TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Borussia Mönchengladbach (Sat.) Already eliminated from the Champions League, Hoffenheim bowed out of European competition altogether with a defeat against Manchester City. Julian Nagelsmann's side will be looking to recover their poise and chase down the European places again, but will be right up against it when they face second-placed Gladbach. This will be a close one, but Dieter Hecking's Foals should have enough to take all three points. Prediction: Hoffenheim 1:2 Gladbach VfB Stuttgart v Hertha BSC (Sat.) Stuttgart would suffer a setback last week in Mönchengladbach, but Markus Weinzierl has started to slowly turn things around at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena. Opponents Hertha however will be a hard nut to crack, and despite blowing a little hot and cold have managed to stay in touch in the top six. Stuttgart will fancy their chances of a second home win on the spin, but Hertha will do enough to pick up a point. Prediction: Stuttgart 1:1 Hertha FC Augsburg v FC Schalke 04 (Sat.) Augsburg have been solid and have only been beaten by two or more goals once this season, but this series of draws and close defeats has seen them being sucked towards the relegation zone. Schalke are just a point ahead of Manuel Baum's men, but their progress has been in the opposite direction while being far from convincing. They come into this match off the back of a late but well deserved Champions League triumph over Lokomotiv Moscow. This is a tough one to call, but I am predicting another draw for FCA - probably with their conceding a last-minute equaliser. Prediction: Augsburg 2:2 Schalke Hannover 96 v FC Bayern München (Sat.) FC Bayern are back in domestic action after a dramatic 3:3 draw against Ajax, which saw them clinch top spot in their Champions League group. The reigning champions will be firm favourites to beat second-bottom Hannover, but past results this season have shown that no opponent can be taken for granted. Hannover will join many others in scoring against Die Roten this season, but this will not be enough. The Bavarians to take all three points with relative ease, as they continue to put their poor run of Bundesliga form behind them. Prediction: Hannover 1:3 FC Bayern Fortuna Düsseldorf v SC Freiburg (Sat.) Now on their own at the bottom of the Bundesliga, Düsseldorf fans will be hoping for the first win in a month. Opponents Freiburg have been one of the surprise packages, overcoming a poor start to climb into twelfth spot. The Breisgauers come into this match hot off a stunning three-goal win over high-flying RB Leipzig, and will be looking to climb into the top half. Freiburg to take this one by the odd goal in three as they continue their excellent run of form. Prediction: Düsseldorf 1:2 Freiburg Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen (Sat.) Borussia Dortmund have been "doing a Bayern" this season, winning matches that they could have lost and scoring vital goals just at the right time. Lucien Favre's men will also be high on confidence after clinching top spot in their Champions League group. Opponents Werder Bremen have slumped pretty badly after their excellent start to the season, and will be no match for the in-form league leaders. Prediction: Dortmund 2:0 Bremen RB Leipzig v 1.FSV Mainz 05 (Sun.) A month ago, Leipzig were one of the form sides in the Bundesliga. Last week they collapsed 0:3 in Freiburg, and were eliminated from the Europa League in midweek after conceding a late equaliser against already eliminated (and pointless) Rosenborg BK. Mainz have won three out of their last five matches, and have shown that they are a tough nut to crack. Ralf Rangnick's side are favourites on paper, but this one could be closer than many expect. Prediction: Leipzig 1:1 Mainz Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Sun.) The final match of the weekend sees Eintracht Frankfurt, fresh from closing out their perfect Europa League group phase with a win in Rome against Lazio, against Bayer Leverkusen, who also topped their group with a 5:1 win in Cyprus against AEK Larnaca. Heiko Herrlich's Werkself have been the model of inconsistency this season, while Frankfurt's charge up the table was halted last week with a defeat in Berlin. This will be a close affair, with home advantage providing the edge for Adi Hütter's side. Prediction: Frankfurt 2:1 Leverkusen For more Bundesliga fun stuff, check out my Little Bundesliga Book project. Copies of the 2016 pocket book are still available, with the aim of raising funds for a new edition at the end of this season.