Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim
Saturday May 06, 14:30

In the early 1990s, Hoffenheim were an amateur side playing in the eighth tier of German football. By the time local software entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp starting funding the club's rise in 2000, TSG had already climbed up a couple of levels to the Verbandsliga. Hopp knew the club well - he had played for them in his youth - and his backing helped spark a meteoric ascent. By 2008, Hoffe had made it to the Bundesliga, and they even topped the table midway through their maiden campaign.

Now Hoffenheim have booked a gold-encrusted ticket to the Champions League, and Hopp admits a game against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu would be his dream. There is work to do first - only the top three in the Bundesliga will secure automatic entry to the UCL group stage, so Hoffenheim must defend third spot to avoid a playoff.

Sitting just a point behind TSG are Borussia Dortmund, who have an eye on the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt, but know they must focus on the here and now. Thomas Tuchel's side looked tired in last weekend's goalless draw against Koln, losing intensity in the second half as the Billy Goats dug in for a hard-earned point.

Dortmund are rightly 1.55 favourites here. They haven't lost at home in the league for over two years, and they have won six of their last seven Bundesliga matches at Signal Iduna Park. However, Hoffenheim are likely to be stubborn opponents. 29-year-old Julian Nagelsmann has excelled as coach, showing he is remarkable not just as a leader, but as a tactician. Tuchel knows all about Nagelsmann's abilities - he gave him his first job as a scout at Augsburg, and then promoted him to assistant coach of the FCA youth team.
Hoffenheim have only lost three games in the league all season, but Dortmund's impeccable home form is putting me off opposing the hosts. However, Under 3.5 Goals is trading at 2.02, and that's a tempting price.

Although both teams like to play attractive football, and played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in Sinsheim, the magnitude of the game might imbue both sides with a little more caution. Hoffenheim have one of the best defensive records in the division, and it's worth noting that only three of Dortmund's last 12 Bundesliga home games have featured four goals or more.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 3.5 Goals at 2.02

Borussia Monchengladbach v Augsburg
Saturday May 06, 14:30

Augsburg boosted their survival hopes last weekend with a superb 4-0 hammering of fellow strugglers Hamburg, but I don't expect them to follow up with a positive result this weekend. FCA have been wretched away from home recently - they have lost their last four away games, conceding 14 goals and scoring just one in the process. 
Overall, the Swabians have lost four of their last six league games.

Borussia Monchengladbach have three games to rescue their season by qualifying for the Europa League. Last weekend's win at Mainz got the Foals back on track, and although they have been hampered by an extensive injury list, I still think Dieter Hecking's men can sneak into a place in the top six or seven.

Since Hecking took charge, Gladbach have lost at home to three of the top four sides, but have beaten everyone else at Borussia Park. The Fohlenelf should have enough quality to get the win here.

Recommended Bet
Back Borussia Monchengladbach to win at 1.78

Hamburg v Mainz
Sunday May 07, 14:30
Live on BT Sport 3

Hamburg fans have gotten used to the stresses and strains of relegation battles, but this season has been crueller than most. Just when HSV looked to be soaring clear of trouble, and coach Markus Gisdol penned a new contract, the Redshorts have imploded. They lost 2-1 at home to rock-bottom Darmstadt, and last weekend they were absolutely hopeless in a 4-0 defeat at Augsburg.

So we should lay them this weekend, shouldn't we? Well, as it happens, no. By and large, HSV have been able to use their vociferous support at the Volksparkstadion to good effect, and they have won eight of their last 10 home games in the league.

Mainz are in the thick of the relegation battle too, locked together on points with Hamburg, and they continue to look defensively fragile. It would be easy to be swayed by their battling 2-2 draw at Bayern Munchen, but the general pattern is far from encouraging. Mainz have lost nine of their last 11 games on the road, and they've kept just two clean sheets away from home all season.

I think Hamburg's crowd can push them here, and having hit rock bottom at Augsburg last week, they can bounce back.

Recommended Bet
Back Hamburg to win at 2.40

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