VfB Stuttgart vs Hamburg
Stuttgart need three points to avoid relegation
Stuttgart will play at home against direct rivals Hamburg in the race to avoid relegation. The Swabians have been bottom of the table since Matchday 20 and are one point adrift of safety with two games to go. After three games without a win, Stuttgart delivered an impressive performance against Mainz on Saturday to triumph 2-0 on goals by Daniel Didavi and Filip Kostic. With this victory, the Swabians gained ground and are only two points behind their next opponents Hamburg, who are also threatened by relegation. Stuttgart will try to keep their momentum going as it is a six-point game and the winner will take a big step towards safety. It remains to be seen if the team of coach Huub Stevens can win three points in the relegation battle. In their first game against each other, Stuttgart had the upper hand with a 1-0 win at Imtech Arena thanks to a goal by Florian Klein shortly before the half-time whistle blew. The Swabians will be without Konstantin Rausch and Carlos Gruezo. Defender Antonio Ruediger will probably miss Saturday’s game with flu-like symptoms.
Hamburg lifted their morale ahead of their game against Stuttgart
Hamburg are currently in good form and have gained a lot of confidence and morale in their last games. They defeated Augsburg in their own stadium 3-2 and recorded an important last-minute victory over Mainz. Last weekend, the team of coach Bruno Labbadia played at home against their direct rivals Freiburg in the battle to avoid relegation. It was a hard-fought game with some scoring opportunities but Freiburg goalkeeper Roman Buerki made a great save against Stieber. Admir Mehmedi had fired the visitors into the lead in the 25th minute, with Hamburg toothless for most of the match. As the final whistle edged nearer and nearer with Freiburg’s one-goal advantage still in tact, belief was growing that Freiburg would take home three points from the Imtech Arena. That belief was lost in the 88th minute though, when Gojko Kacar headed in the crucial equaliser from a corner. It was once again Kacar who became the hero of the day and secured his team a point in a tight clash. Hamburg currently sit in 14th place, just one point above the drop zone. With a victory over Stuttgart they could take a big step towards Bundesliga safety. Hamburg will be without Drobny, Behrami, Mueller and Ilicevic. Cleber is likely to miss Saturday’s game against Stuttgart due to a torn capsular.
Odds and tips
Stuttgart are the clear favourites in their own stadium with odds between 1.73 and 1.90. Hamburg are not a strong away side and have odds varying from 3.90 to 4.89 with a 7.2% value in the maximum odds. A draw between the two teams will pay out odds between 3.50 and 3.90. Our tip: This game will be a really tight relegation battle and every point is vital for the bottom teams. In spite of the fact that Hamburg have won only 3 of 16 away games I expect them to win because they are in a good form and have not lost in three successive matches.
VfL Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund
Wolfsburg have qualified for the Champions League
After three games without a victory, Wolfsburg made a remarkable turnaround in their last match against newly-promoted Paderborn at Benteler Arena. The home side seized the initiative and took the lead early in the 16th minute when defender Timm Klose headed home a corner swung in by Ricardo Rodriguez. Eight minutes later, Wolfsburg doubled their lead. Ivan Perisic crossed to the unmarked Bas Dost who scored in his second consecutive game following a drought. Dost scored another goal in the 82nd minute to extend the lead to three for Wolfsburg. Lukas Rupp scored a consolation goal for Paderborn in injury time and the game ended 3-1 with a great performance for the Wolves. With this victory, Wolfsburg have moved up to second place in the table and secured qualification for the Champions League next season. The team of coach Dieter Hecking will face Dortmund in their last home game of the season. The first game against each other ended with a 2-2 draw but Wolfsburg are a strong home side and have won all of their home games and for that reason Hecking is confident that his team can win three points. Hecking can field a full squad as all injured players have recovered.
Dortmund two points away from qualifying for Europa League
While Wolfsburg have had a dream run this season, Dortmund on their part have had a difficult journey and are now two points away from a Europa League qualification spot. The team of coach Juergen Klopp have not lost in four successive games and climbed to 7th place in the table. Anything is still possible for Dortmund. Last weekend, Klopp’s side played against Hertha Berlin at home and showed a good performance. Neven Subotic and Erik Durm provided the goals which secured the Westphalians a 2-0 victory and took them to within two points of local rivals Schalke. Their next game will be a very difficult one, away at Wolfsburg who have a strong squad and are unbeaten in their own stadium with 12 victories. Dortmund are not a strong away side and have won only four of 16 away games this season. Coach Klopp will miss some of his key players as Sahin, Großkreutz, Blaszczykowski and Ramos are all injured. It is still uncertain whether the German international Marco Reus can play due to muscular fatigue.
Odds and tips
Wolfsburg are slightly favoured to win their home game against Dortmund with odds between 2.30 and 2.55. Dortmund hope for an away win which will pay out odds varying from 2.60 to 2.96. A draw between the two teams will pay out odds between 3.25 and 3.75. Our tip: It is true that Klopp’s side are enjoying a turnaround in form and have not lost in five matches but Wolfsburg are very strong in home games and for that reason they will also win their last home game of the season.