Return of the Bundesliga

A lean spell for TFK soccer accumulators coincided with the absence of Bundesliga fixtures over their selfish winter break. But the German boys are back playing this weekend and hopefully will bring a bit more stability to the tipping.

1. Hansa Rostock v Bayern Munich… Bayern Munich at 2/5

Hansa Rostock have lost 33% of their home games and Bayern have won 63% of their away games. Other than an early victory over a Stuttgart team who were badly struggling back in the early autumn, Rostock don’t have any notable scalps. The imbalance in Rostock’s home form (they’ve won only 1 game on the road) stems from the fact that they’ve played all the big teams away from home so far. But they lost all four games against Bayern (3-0), Bremen, Hamburg and Leverkusen.

Bayern had a much publicised wobble before the winter break but they still have bundles of quality in their squad. A departing manager isn’t always a good thing, but the air of gloom has been lifted from Bayern and they should march on to win the title comfortably. A first game back in the Friday night slot (live on Setanta) should see them picking up 3 points.

2. Energie Cottbus v Bayer Leverkusen… Leverkusen at 11/10

Leverkusen have an almost 50% winning record on the road, Cottbus have won 33% of their home games. Not a great statistical basis to back the away side (but not bad), hence the price of just above evens for Leverkusen

Cottbus have had one shock win this season, home to Schalke in a Friday night game, but other than that they’ve looked out of their depth at this level. Three wins from 17 games is a fair reflection of their standing in the Bundesliga.

Leverkusen have a young and improving side. They’re in fourth place on merit and they’re pushing for a UEFA Cup spot at a minimum. A price bigger than evens at the vastly inferior Cottbus is too good to refuse.

3. Hamburg v Hannover 96… Hamburg at 8/11

Hamburg are unbeaten at home this year. They’ve already won at Hannover early on in the season and there’s no reason to expect them not to beat them again at home. At 8/11 they’re a small bit short but there’s too much class about HSV to stumble against Hannover.

4. Werder Bremen v Bochum… Bremen at 1/3

At this point I’ve realised that my Bundesliga tips this week are for the top four teams to win. I was going to leave Bremen out of it on the grounds of only being 1/3 (and because they’re not playing until Sunday) but really Bochum away from home against anyone half decent tends not to be much of a contest.

Bochum have two wins on the road, both against relegation fodder: Cottbus and Duisburg. Other than that they’ve 7 losses from 7 games on the road.

Bremen have played 9 home games, winning 8 - the only blotch an early hammering to a rampant Bayern Munich. They lost to Dortmund in the Cup during the week (Diego missed a late penalty) but the competitive match won’t have harmed their chances this weekend.