Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt Saturday 24 February, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
I haven't quite started wolfing down the humble pie, but I must admit Tayfun Korkut has made a much better start at Stuttgart than I thought he would. The Stuttgart native has picked a bold formation with two strikers, and both Mario Gomez and Daniel Ginczek have made their mark in recent games. Stuttgart have collected seven points from Korkut's three games, and they have only conceded one goal in the process. To be fair to Korkut, creative solutions like using Holger Badstuber to screen the defence from a deep midfield position have worked out so far.
Eintracht Frankfurt showed in Monday's win over RB Leipzig that they are the real deal, and could well grab a top-four finish this term. With all hell breaking loose off the pitch (Frankfurt fans blew vuvuzelas, crowded the goal at the home end and threw hundreds of tennis balls on the pitch to protest the staging of games on a Monday), the Eagles kept their composure and came from behind to beat a very good Leipzig team. David Abraham impressed on his return to the defence after injury, indefatigable forward Ante Rebic ran himself into the ground, and Kevin-Prince Boateng won the match with a very well-taken goal. Boateng is the only SGE outfield player this term to have been involved in every single Bundesliga game, and after a career of railing against authority, he seems to have settled down under Eagles coach Niko Kovac.
Frankfurt are the 3.05 outsiders here, even though they have won five of their last six games, and have one of the best away records in the Bundesliga. Stuttgart are playing with confidence, but they lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture despite playing most of the second half against ten men, and I believe that man for man Frankfurt are the better side. Take advantage of the price and back the visitors Draw No Bet.
Recommended Bet Back Eintracht Frankfurt Draw No Bet at2.10
Leipzig to bounce back with comfortable win
RB Leipzig v FC Koln Sunday 25 February, 17:00 Live on Betfair Live Video
Leipzig reached the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday night by knocking out the Serie A leaders Napoli, although they did so in somewhat shaky fashion. Napoli won the second leg 2-0, but tumbled out on away goals. Thursday's match was a good example of RBL's determination to allow youngsters to make mistakes and learn on the job. 20-year-old Konrad Laimer is learning how to play at right-back, and he was at fault for both Napoli goals, failing to properly track Lorenzo Insigne on both occasions. He will emerge from that painful experience as a slightly wiser player.
Although Leipzig have now lost their last two games, I fancy them to excel this Sunday against rock-bottom Koln. Die Roten Bullen have taken seven points from their last three home games in the league, they should be able to give a first start of 2018 to playmaker Emil Forsberg, and Naby Keita could also return after injury.
Koln have suffered some body blows recently. Last weekend they had a last-gasp winner against Hannover chalked off for an offside in the build-up, and in their last away game they attacked boldly as they sought out a much-needed win, and Frankfurt ripped them to shreds in a 4-2 defeat. Koln simply aren't built to go chasing wins away from home, but that's what they have to do, with nine points separating them from safety.
Leipzig won the reverse fixture 2-1, and I think their speed in attack will expose Koln's weaknesses. Star striker Timo Werner hasn't scored for over a month in the league, and that has seen his price to score in 90 minutes creep up to 2.40 on the Sportsbook. I would snap that up every day of the week - Werner has scored 16 goals in all competitions this season.
Recommended Bets Back RB Leipzig -1 on the Handicap at2.40 (Sportsbook) Back Timo Werner to score at2.40 (Sportsbook)
Mainz the wrong favourites so take advantage
Mainz v Wolfsburg Friday February 23, 19:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Friday night was supposed to be Martin Schmidt's return to the Opel Arena, as he looked to get a vital win for his new club Wolfsburg at his old side Mainz. However, the Swiss coach dropped a bombshell on Sunday, as he announced his resignation. Wolfsburg tried to persuade him that he was acting hastily, but it appears Schmidt felt his players weren't adequately responding to his coaching.
Step forward Bruno Labbadia, who proved his firefighting credentials by saving Hamburg from the drop three seasons ago. He will look to ignite the fire in a demoralised squad that has suffered more than its fair share of injury problems. VFL actually played really well in Schmidt's final game in charge, which was an agonising 2-1 defeat against Bayern. Teenager Gian-Luca Itter had contained Arjen Robben pretty well for most of the 90 minutes, but he failed to stop him setting up Sandro Wagner, and he naively dragged the Dutchman down for the late penalty that won the game.
Mainz picked up their first away win for over a year last time out, as they won 2-0 at Hertha Berlin. However, I'm still not convinced by Sandro Schwarz's side, and I don't see why they are favourites here. They have lost five of their seven games since the winter break, and they have lost three of their last four home matches.
Recommended Bet Back Wolfsburg Draw No Bet at 2.50