Stuttgart v Hamburg Saturday March 31, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Korkut to claim another win
I am now getting fat on humble pie, because I've had to wolf down so much of it since Tayfun Korkut took over as coach of Stuttgart. I had huge reservations about the Stuttgart native's ability to turn the team's fortunes around, but he has delivered a run of five wins and two draws from the last seven outings. VfB have been incredibly solid defensively, conceding just four goals in those seven games.
Rock-bottom Hamburg are a total mess. New coach Christian Titz (stop giggling at the back) is their third boss of the season, and he lost his first game 2-1 at home to a Hertha Berlin team in awful form. HSV have now gone 14 Bundesliga games without a win, and are sliding towards their first ever relegation in the Bundesliga era. Senior players Walace and Mergim Mavraj have been demoted to the Regionalliga side, while influential centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos has been warned about his future conduct after openly criticising his new coach.
HSV have little inspiration in attack (they have scored just twice in the last six games), they are leaking goals (they have conceded 13 times in six games), and their confidence has been shredded. I can see little reason to think that a Stuttgart team on such good form will fail to pick up a win here.
Hannover v RB Leipzig Saturday March 31, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
After Bayern win, Leipzig to return to reality
The international break came at a bad time for RB Leipzig, as it took away some of the momentum they'd built up so impressively by beating Bayern Munich. It was a stirring comeback victory, full of the qualities that have made Die Roten Bullen such a success under coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. RBL showed pace, work-rate and attacking flair.
However, finding consistency has been the issue for Leipzig this term. They have only managed back-to-back Bundesliga wins three times this season, and there is no doubt that their European exploits have thrown them out of their rhythm at times this term. With a big Europa League quarter-final coming up against Marseille on Thursday, there is no guarantee that Hasenhuttl will select his strongest side against Hannover.
Leipzig's away form is a concern as they battle for a place in the top four. They have won just one of their last eight road matches in the Bundesliga, and they have lost four of those games.
Hannover aren't in great shape, having lost their last four matches, but to be fair that's probably a reversion to the mean rather than a sign of a worrying collapse. Die Roten shouldn't really have any relegation concerns, but there are some issues that coach Andre Breitenreiter is trying to address. The Hannover native has pleaded with the club's fans to end their long-running dispute with club president Martin Kind, and give the team its full support. He has also hinted that he wants summer reinforcements, or he may leave at the end of the current campaign.
Leipzig are evens to win this, and I think that's too short. Hannover have only lost four home games this term, they pushed RBL all the way in Leipzig in the reverse fixture, and I just don't think Hasenhuttl's men have an away record that justifies such a short price.
I'd lay the visitors.
Mainz v Borussia Monchengladbach Sunday April 01, 17:00 Live on Betfair Live Video
Foals to win battle of the strugglers
With Cologne closing the gap between themselves and Mainz to five points, fears are growing at the Opel Arena that it might not just be a relegation playoff that fans of Die Nullfunfer have to worry about. The team has lost its last two league games without scoring, and they have collected just five points from the last nine matches. They have only won one of their last six home games, and a lack of quality throughout the squad is starting to really show through.
Borussia Monchengladbach are also in bad nick, having taken just five points from their last eight games. However, some of their injured players (especially attacking talisman Raffael) are starting to return, and they showed great fighting spirit to come back from a goal down three times in a 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim before the international break.
Given that Gladbach have lost six of their last seven away games in the league, you might think I'm mad to back them here, but Mainz are in equally bad form. The Foals have more quality, especially in attack, and can nick a result here.
Back Stuttgart to win v Hamburg at 1.82
Lay RB Leipzig v Hannover at 2.00
Back Borussia Monchengladbach Draw No Bet v Mainz at [2.01]