If Alan Shearer thinks Newcastle United’s Premier League survival bid will go right to the wire, he should take a look at the Bundesliga table. With five games to go only three points separate the top five, guaranteeing one of Germany’s closest ever title race climaxes.
Wolfsburg will have something to say about that, as they hold a two point advantage over Hertha Berlin and the best goal difference of all the title contenders. The leaders host eighth-placed Hoffenheim this weekend and as usual should be backed to record a home win.
There cannot be a better home record in Europe than Wolfsburg’s – they have won 13 and drawn one of their 14 home assignments this term – and Hoffenheim, who went into the winter break top but have won only once since, will surely not end that run.
Most eyes will be on Bayern Munich after their recent sacking of Jürgen Klinsmann. Bayern are three points off the top having won five of their last seven, but the former national coach paid the price for high-profile defeats as much as under-achievement – recent hammerings by Wolfsburg (5-1) and Barcelona (4-0) have proved a bitter pill to swallow for the club’s hierarchy.
The reigning champions have also had their share of recent big wins, notably the 12-1 aggregate victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League last 16.
Few will be surprised if second-bottom Borussia Mönchengladbach are on the wrong end of a thrashing at the Allianz Arena on Saturday in Jupp Heynckes’ first match in temporary charge, and Bayern to win by three goals is a hard football bet to resist.
Hertha travel to fifth-placed Hamburg on Sunday in a crucial title race fixture. These two have drawn only seven matches between them this season and I fancy the away side to edge this one to go alongside two home bankers in this week’s Bundesliga selections.