RB Leipzig's clash with Bayern Munich is stealing the limelight in the Bundesliga this weekend, but Kevin Hatchard also has three other games to focus on.
"Wolfsburg are unbeaten at home, and they are in the top three on merit. Koln are too sloppy and inconsistent to stop such a well-oiled machine."
Wolves to keep bounding forwards
Wolfsburg v Köln
Saturday 03 April, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
What was at one stage a fanciful dream for Wolfsburg and their fans morphed into a concrete possibility, and now a failure to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League would be seen as a devastating blow. Wolfsburg are in the Bundesliga's top three on merit - they recovered from a rather dull and timid start, and have become one of the most efficient sides in Europe. Only RB Leipzig have a better defensive record in the German top flight, and dependable Dutchman Wout Weghorst has crashed in 17 league goals. Coach Oliver Glasner has developed a side that counter-presses as well as anyone in Germany, and he's been backed up by some great work in the transfer market.
20-year-old Frenchman Maxence Lacroix, snapped up from Sochaux for just 4.5 million euros, has to be seen as one of the bargains of the season. He has struck up an excellent partnership with American John Brooks in central defence, while Maxi Arnold and Xaver Schlager are a fine blend of silk and steel in central midfield. Goalkeeper Koen Casteels is in my view the best Bundesliga stopper outside of Manuel Neuer.
Köln are currently the complete opposite. They have the second-worst defensive record in the division, and one of the lowest goal tallies. They were seconds away from a precious and deserved victory against Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago, but they couldn't hold on. A knee injury for star signing Sebastian Andersson has proved costly, while centre-back Sebastian Bornauw was laid low by a tumour on his spine.
Coach Markus Gisdol is clinging to his job, and his cordial relationship with sporting director Horst Heldt is being stretched to breaking point.
The Billy Goats have lost five of their last seven away games, and they have leaked 19 goals in that spell.
I'll back Wolfsburg to win and Wout Weghorst to score at 2.265/4 on the Sportsbook by using the Same Game Multi. Weghorst was left out of the Dutch squad, he has scored in his last three games, and he found the net in the reverse fixture.
Mainz to win six-pointer
Mainz v Arminia Bielefeld
Saturday 03 March, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
There have been various points in this season where Mainz looked dead and buried. The players started the season by completely falling out with coach Achim Beierlorzer, a man who has always looked out of his depth at this level. Beierlorzer's replacement was an internal appointment, as long-time assistant Jan-Moritz Lichte was given a shot at the big time. Lichte looked like a rabbit in the headlights throughout, and managed just one league win.
Mainz's third coach of the campaign has been a massive upgrade. Bo Svensson, who played for Mainz under Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, has managed to unite a fractured squad and get them playing competitive football. They are far more aggressive in the tackle, more disciplined in defence, and they carry a goal threat. Svensson has delivered wins over RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach, and overall the ZeroFivers have won five of their last nine matches.
Arminia Bielefeld's coaching change hasn't quite been as impressive or as effective. Frank Kramer has collected four points from four games since replacing Uwe Neuhaus, and his team has failed to score in three of those outings. I suspect their eye-catching win at Bayer Leverkusen owed more to Leverkusen's failures than Arminia's qualities.
Mainz have won three of the last four at home, and I think they are simply a better team than Bielefeld. I'll back the hosts to win here at 1.9210/11.
Berlin derby to catch the eye
Union Berlin v Hertha Berlin
Sunday 04 April, 17:00
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
The Berlin derby doesn't have the cache of Roma v Lazio or Atletico v Real in Madrid, but the longer these two sides are in the top flight together, the more lines will be added to their story. At the start of this campaign, you'd have reasonably said that Union had more chance of tumbling out of the Bundesliga than Hertha, but it hasn't worked out that way.
Union have been outstanding, and they have somehow maintained their momentum despite some damaging injury blows. Players like Max Kruse, Sheraldo Becker and Taiwo Awoniyi have all had significant spells on the sidelines, and yet Urs Fischer's men have managed to find ways to win. Union are in with a genuine chance of qualifying for Europe, whether it's for the Europa League or the new Conference League.
Hertha have spent a lot of investor Lars Windhorst's money on player recruitment, with varying degrees of success. It still feels more like a group of expensive strangers rather than a team, although dyed-in-the-wool Hertha man Pal Dardai is trying to change that during his latest spell at the helm. Hertha picked up a vital 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen before the international break, and they are looking for a third straight win against their city rivals.
I fancy both teams to find the net here at 1.910/11. Hertha have been vulnerable defensively all season, and they have kept one clean sheet in their last ten matches. Union have conceded seven goals across their last two Berlin derbies, and they have seen both teams score in 17 of their 26 league games.