Bundesliga Betting: Stuttgart to take another important step
Our Bundesliga expert Kevin Hatchard has three more selections from games that affect both ends of the table.
"Stuttgart have improved significantly in recent weeks, and Hoffenheim have won just three of their last 14 Bundesliga matches."
Stuttgart to continue slow climb to safety
Stuttgart v Hoffenheim
Saturday 16 March, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Although the Bundesliga's bottom two (Hannover and Nurnberg) show few signs of potential improvement recently, the battle to avoid relegation from the German top flight is still fascinating. Recent revivals for Augsburg and Stuttgart have put Schalke under serious pressure in the race to avoid the relegation playoff.
Stuttgart currently occupy that slot, but they have collected four points from their last three matches, and they pushed title contenders Borussia Dortmund all the way last weekend before eventually slipping to a 3-1 defeat. VfB crushed Hannover 5-1 in their last home match, and there is a feeling that coach Markus Weinzierl is on a slightly surer footing than he was before Sporting Director Michael Reschke was replaced by Thomas Hitzlsperger.
Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the battle to qualify for the Europa League, but their recent form has been underwhelming. They scraped past rock-bottom Nurnberg 2-1 last weekend, and they have only won three of their last 14 league matches. On the road, Julian Nagelsmann's side has claimed maximum points from just one of their last seven outings.
People may look at Hoffe's 4-0 win over Stuttgart in the reverse fixture and think that's justification for the visitors to be odds-on here, but Stuttgart had Emiliano Insua sent off really early on, and eventually crumbled. I think this will be a lot closer, and I'll happily lay the visitors.
BVB to drop precious points
Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund
Saturday 16 March, 17:30
Live on Betfair Live Video and BT Sport
Borussia Dortmund had a nine-point advantage over Bayern Munich at one stage in the race for the Meisterschale, and now they find themselves behind the champions on goal difference with nine games to go. The reasons for BVB's wobble are numerous - they have had injuries to key players like Marco Reus and Manuel Akanji, young players like Dan-Axel Zagadou and Achraf Hakimi have begun to make costly mistakes, and the team has developed an alarming inability to defend crosses, especially at set plays.
All of this has combined to put enormous pressure on a group of players that wasn't really expected to push Bayern this hard and this deep into the season. Lucien Favre's side found a way to win last weekend against Stuttgart, but they haven't blown a team away for quite some time, and they have only won two of their last nine matches in all competitions. To make matters worse, dynamic midfielder Axel Witsel will miss this weekend's game.
Hertha are a strange team that never really plays at the same level from one week to the next, but overall they have done well to stay clear of the relegation scrap, and they are starting to play some attractive football, which is a departure for the norm under popular but pragmatic coach Pal Dardai. What you can usually rely upon is Hertha giving the big boys a scare - they have beaten Bayern in the league, they took them to extra time in the DFB Cup, and they got a 2-2 draw at Dortmund when BVB were playing some really flowing football.
Hertha have only lost twice at home in the league all season, and they have only been beaten by Dortmund in one of the teams' last six meetings. All of the pressure is on Dortmund here, and I suspect they'll lose points.
Foals to get back on course
Borussia Monchengladbach v Freiburg
Friday 15 March, 19:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Having overachieved for most of the campaign, Borussia Monchengladbach are now scrapping to keep their Champions League qualification dream alive. Last weekend's 1-0 win at Mainz was far from pretty, but it got the job done and took them back above RB Leipzig into the top three.
Having won their first nine BL home games of the season, Gladbach have lost the last three 3-0, 3-0 and 5-1. That's obviously a shocking drop-off, but all three defeats were against strong sides (Hertha, Wolfsburg and Bayern), and in the first two games they missed big early chances that would have changed the match, and they were caught on the counter as they pushed forward.
Freiburg are pretty much safe from the drop after reaching 30 points, and that's a remarkable achievement by the players and inspirational coach Christian Streich. However, the Black Forest side's away form still leaves a lot to be desired. They have lost four of their last seven on the road, they have won just twice away from home all season, and Opta tell us they have taken just five points from their last 14 Bundesliga visits to Borussia Park.
In recent away games, Freiburg have lost at Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt, and all three defeats to those top-level teams were by two-goal margins. I think they could suffer a similar fate on Friday night.
2018-19 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 77
Points Returned: 74.89
P/L: -2.11 points
Lay Hoffenheim v Stuttgart at [1.91]
Lay Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin at [1.9]
Back Borussia Monchengladbach -1.0 on the Asian Handicap v Freiburg at [2.0]