Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich
Saturday April 04, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 1
This clash of Bundesliga titans usually has the highest possible stakes. In the past few seasons, these two footballing leviathans have contested Champions League finals, German Cup finals and Bundesliga title deciders. This time around there isn't quite as much on the line, but the game is still important for both teams.
Bayern are in the unusual position of having to recover from a defeat, after they had their pants expertly pulled down by Borussia Monchengladbach at the Allianz Arena. The usual hand-wringing that follows a Bayern loss has been made worse by worrying injury news. Star man Arjen Robben continues to struggle with a stomach injury, and David Alaba will be out for at least seven weeks with a knee problem picked up on international duty with Austria. Both players will be sorely missed. Robben has had a superb season, while Alaba has been hitting top form in recent weeks.
Borussia Dortmund are no strangers to injury woes themselves, but their problems are finally clearing up, and they have managed to extricate themselves from a potentially embarrassing relegation dogfight. A run of five wins and two draws has taken BVB into the top ten, and they are only five points adrift of the Europa League spots. Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have stepped up in recent weeks, and midfield maestro Ilkay Gundogan is beginning to dictate games in the way we know he can.
Bayern won this fixture 3-0 last season, but they have since lost two of their four games against their old rivals. They were beaten 3-0 at the Allianz Arena last April, and went down 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park in the German Supercup. It's worth noting that Bayern have lost on four of their last six visits to Signal Iduna Park, and BVB can also take solace from the fact they played really well in a 2-1 defeat at the Allianz Arena back in November. Jurgen Klopp's men were at their lowest ebb then, but still led 1-0 with 18 minutes to go before a late collapse.
Bayern are without Robben, Alaba and Ribery, and I think at 2.111/10 they are too short for the win. Skipper Philipp Lahm should be back in the starting line-up, but he is still feeling his way back after a long spell out. Jerome Baoteng will start, but he may be somewhat distracted after being accused of domestic violence by his ex-fiancee. There may well be starts for former Dortmund heroes Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze.
Bayern are the league's best team, but because most matches are so straightforward for them, they are finding it tough to raise their game against elite opposition. Dortmund are in good shape, and it's a great chance for them to secure a morale-boosting win that will give them momentum for the rest of the campaign. I'm opposing the visitors.
Lay Bayern Munich at 2.111/10
Hoffenheim v Borussia Monchengladbach
Saturday April 04, 14:30
Borussia Monchengladbach produced the identikit away display in their 2-0 win at Bayern Munich before the winter break. They soaked up pressure, with dynamic duo Christoph Kramer and Granit Xhaka screening an excellent back four. When the chance came to counter, Lucien Favre's men did what they do best, attacking with speed and precision. Admittedly they got a helping hand from off-colour Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer, but no-one should take anything away from what was one of the best displays of Gladbach's wonderful season.
The Foals are third, and on course for a return to the Champions League. That success has been built on a rock-solid defensive foundation. Gladbach have leaked just four goals since the winter break, and they have only shipped 20 in 26 league games all season. Skipper Martin Stranzl is a defensive behemoth, and how the magnificent Tony Jantschke isn't a shoo-in for Germany is beyond me. At the other end, Raffael has finally returned to form with four goals in three games, and the lightning-fast Patrick Hermann is playing some of the best football of his career. Herrmann has been rewarded with a new deal, and is now pushing for a regular place in the Germany squad.
Hoffenheim are also defending well, and have kept four clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions. They have returned to the kind of security they were enjoying in the opening weeks of the campaign, before their traditional defensive demons clambered out of the cellar.
This is a big game for Hoffenheim, as they are still in the fight for European qualification, but they have a host of players unavailable. Defender Ermin Bicakcic is suspended, which means Hoffe coach Markus Gisdol will be without both of his first-choice centre-backs. Defender Tobias Strobl and midfielder Eugen Polanski both have flu, Kevin Volland and Pirmin Schwegler are both struggling with injuries, and playmaker Sejad Salihovic has a calf problem. If even half of those players don't make the starting eleven, Hoffe are in trouble.
Gladbach are on a high and should be clear favourites to win this. They aren't favourites in the market, so let's give ourselves some insurance by backing the visitors Draw No Bet, as Hoffe have only lost three of their home games.
The market is expecting goals, but both sides are defending solidly, and with so many players out Hoffenheim may approach this game more cautiously than they usually would. No in the Both Teams to Score market looks too big at 2.3411/8.
Back Borussia Monchengladbach Draw No Bet at 1.9720/21
Back No in the Both Teams To Score market at 2.3411/8
Hertha Berlin v Paderborn
Sunday April 05, 16:30
Live on BT Sport 1
When he replaced Jos Luhukay at the coaching helm in February, I thought Pal Dardai would struggle to lift Hertha Berlin out of relegation danger. Despite having hero status as a Hertha player, I thought he would find juggling the job with his role as Hungary's interim boss too onerous a task.
To give him his due, Dardai has managed to get the best out of a limited squad, and the capital club are in a healthier position than they were when he took charge. BSC aren't out of the woods, as they are just four points above the bottom three, but I suspect they'll ease their worries with another three points this weekend.
Since taking the reins, Dardai has led Hertha to three wins, two defeats and two draws. They secured an impressive home win against Augsburg, and came within a whisker of beating Schalke at the Olympiastadion. Just as he did with Hungary, Dardai has concentrated on getting the defensive basics right, and Hertha have kept four clean sheets in his seven games. It's also worth noting that the Hungarian doesn't suffer fools gladly - he has publicly slammed Anis Ben Hatira for getting injured on international duty with Tunisia, after Hertha had asked him to stay at home and get treatment for an existing injury.
While Hertha are on the up, Paderborn are on their uppers. The minnows have failed to score in nine of their last ten games, and they have collected a measly five points since the winter break. Andre Breitenreiter's side are playing with fear and a lack of confidence, and they have slipped into the bottom two.
Hertha are without Ben-Hatira and midfielder Tolga Cigerci, who is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture, but they should still have enough to beat a Paderborn side that has totally lost the plot. I'm pleasantly surprised to see Hertha trading at evens to win, so take advantage.
Back Hertha Berlin to win at 2.01/1
Kevin will be commentating on Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin v Paderborn for TuneIn radio and talkSPORT. To listen to live commentary, search "Bundesliga English" on the TuneIn app, or go to the Bundesliga's official website.