Sunday German Bundesliga action
Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen
Hoffenheim has just one point after three matches this season, but despite this they have not performed that poorly on the field. They were better than Darmstadt in the last match, but were unable to convert their chances to goals. They previously lost to Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, but in both matches they scored early and only lost by a goal.
There have been several changes to the Hoffenheim squad this season, especially in offence. The club star Firminho, who left for Liverpool, would have been good to have when they played against Darmstadt. And they have also lost Modeste to Koln. They have brought in new players that are good, but for instance Kuryani has not lived up to the expectations, and a lot will depend on Kevin Volland. In defence they seem to have better control, and the team overall seems better balanced compared to previous seasons. They have more possession and are no longer just focusing on counter attacks. No new injuries or suspensions have been reported for today’s match.
Werder Bremen has started the season with four points in three matches, something they are probably ok with. The team has lost their two best offensive players Di Santo and Selke, but the replacements have done ok, and especially Ujah has impressed with strong aerial skills. In the first match they lost 3-0 to Schalke, and did have problems converting their chances, but they have improved on this lately against Hertha Berlin and Gladbach. For today’s match they will miss Bargfrede, one of their best players and important in the role of defensive midfield. His replacement Kroos will be hard pressed to perform at the same level.
Werder Bremen has done well against Hoffenheim in previous encounters, but things have changed over the years. Both teams seem a lot less Gung-ho compared to earlier, and have perhaps lost some power in offence. Bremen has a good momentum at the moment as they started the season with a loss, then a draw, and then a win, but overall Hoffenheim has impressed more and is due a home win now.
Bet365 has 1.95 (19/20) for Hoffenheim to win, a bet we will try. We might play this match live though, assess the situation after 10-15 minutes and then perhaps go for the -0.25 around 1.90-2.00.
Schalke v Mainz
Schalke has had some turbulent years recently, and despite a lot of time and money spent on player development and new signings, they have not found a proper balance in the team. The team has varied between playing very offensive football, to very defensive under Di Matteo, and now with Breitenreiter as coach they are a bit back in the offensive style of play.
So far this season Schalke has earned four points. They started in good fashion by beating Werder Bremen 3-0, but then they tied 1-1 at home to Darmstadt, and deservedly lost 3-0 to Wolfsburg.
Julian Draxler, a very good offensive player, has left the club. Hojbjerg has come in as a loan from Bayern Munich – he is a good player, but not a good enough replacement for Draxler. Schalke has struggled with some injuries. For instance Hoewedes, a really good defender, has been out and might be ready for today’s match. But most likely we will see Neustadter and Matip in central defence, and Hoewedes might get some minutes on the pitch. Nastasic and Uchida, both defenders that might have been in the starting XI, are also out. The young and talented Sane is maybe ready for play again, and he could look forward to more time on the pitch now that Draxler has left the club.
Mainz has had a very good start to the season, contrary to the expectations that they would struggle. They lost the first match at home to Ingolstadt, but then they beat Gladbach away and Hannover at home. They have recently sold their skilled defender Joo-Ho Park, and the offensive player Ja-Cheol Koo has also left. New signings are Sereno from Kayserispor and Bussmann from Metz, both should improve the defensive play. When it comes to the offensive play, they have brought in Cordoba from Granada. Cordoba has played regularly for Granada for the last two seasons without impressing, so we will see if he performs better in the Bundesliga. He will probably not start today, Mainz has played well in offence and no need to make too many changes.
Schalke shoud be the better team, but it is hard to put money on them at the moment. We expect Schalke will control the match and they have offensive players that should be able to convert their chances (depending on who get to play, they have Huntelaar, Choupo-Moting, Hojbjerg, Di Santo, Sam, Sane and Meyer - all very capable). Mainz has shown that they do well in counter attacks, and we believe they will get several chances today. With offensive players like Muto, Clemens, Sampeiro and Malli, plus being in good form, they should be able to convert their chances. If you agree, you can get over 2.5 goals at odds 9/13 (1.69) with Unibet.