Bayern Munich v Mainz
Saturday April 22, 14:30
With a sense of deep injustice burning in their hearts, Bayern Munich left European football's VIP club on Tuesday night, dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid. Although Bayern can justifiably be aggrieved at the second-leg sending-off of Arturo Vidal and some atrocious offside decisions at the Bernabeu, the brutal truth is that Bayern fell short in the first leg in Munich. They failed to convert a penalty when already 1-0 up, and then collapsed when Javi Martinez had been sent off.
With the Champions League campaign now in tatters, domestic dominance is the target for coach Carlo Ancelotti in his first season. Bayern are eight points clear with only 15 left to play for, and they can still win the German Cup, although they have to play Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals next week.
Mainz boosted their survival hopes with last weekend's crucial 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin, and they were the only German side to beat Bayern in Munich in the Bundesliga last season, but I fear for them here. Martin Schmidt's men have defended poorly all season, and have lost nine of their last ten away matches in the league, conceding 21 goals in the process.
Even if we give wounded Bayern a two-goal handicap, they should still overcome it, as they have done in their last six Bundesliga home wins.
Back Bayern Munich -2.0 on the Asian Handicap at [1.96]
Hamburg v Darmstadt
Saturday April 22, 14:30
The way Darmstadt postponed relegation last weekend was typical of the way they have scrapped their way to success in recent seasons. Facing the drop, the Lilies scored with virtually the last kick of the game to secure a 2-1 win over Schalke, but I believe they'll reach the end of the road this weekend.
Darmstadt are bottom, they have lost all 14 of their Bundesliga away games, and they visit a Hamburg team that has produced red-hot home form in the last few months. HSV have won seven of their last eight league games at the Volksparkstadion, which is just as well, because their wretched away displays have kept them in trouble. Markus Gisdol's side are only a point above the bottom three, with just five games of the season remaining.
Hamburg won the reverse fixture 2-0, and I believe they will secure a similar result here. Five of Darmstadt's last seven away defeats have been by a margin of two goals or more, they have the worst attack and the worst defence in the league, and they are visiting what has become one of the Bundesliga's toughest venues for visiting sides.
Back Hamburg -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.19]
Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund
Saturday April 22, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 1
We will never know if Borussia Dortmund might have made it through their Champions League quarter-final against Monaco if they hadn't been the victims of a frightening attack on their team bus. In light of what happened less than a fortnight ago, BVB deserve credit for the way they have handled themselves as a group of players. They battled gamely against the Ligue 1 leaders, but every error they made over the two legs was painfully exposed by a side in terrific form.
Now Dortmund must try to make sure they return to the Champions League, but at present they face the prospect of a playoff at the start of next season, as only Germany's top three sides qualify automatically for the group stage. Dortmund are fourth, and visit a Borussia Monchengladbach side that could still qualify for the Europa League, either through the league or through winning the DFB Pokal.
Although Gladbach were thumped 5-3 at Hoffenheim last weekend, I feel they should be confident ahead of this encounter. They have only lost four of their 13 league games since Dieter Hecking took charge, and three of those defeats were against the current top three. They have won three of their last five Bundesliga home matches, and have only lost one of their last six home games against BVB.
It's also worth noting that Dortmund simply aren't as strong away from home under Thomas Tuchel as they are at Signal Iduna Park. They have lost five of their last eight away games in all competitions, and in the league they have only won four times on the road all campaign.
I don't feel that a drained and disheartened Dortmund should be [2.04] here against a good side, so I'm taking on the visitors.
Lay Borussia Dortmund at [2.04]
2016-17 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 93
Points Returned: 113.14
P/L: +20.14 points
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