There are five Bundesliga matches on Wednesday, and Kevin Hatchard's back with tips from three of them.
Bayer to take derby spoils
Bayer Leverkusen v FC Köln Wednesday 17 June, 19:30 Live on BT Sport ESPN and Betfair Live Video
Although Bayer Leverkusen produced arguably one of their worst displays of the season on Sunday, drawing 1-1 at a surprisingly spunky Schalke, Peter Bosz's team deserves credit for digging out a point. Paulinho forced Schalke defender Juan Miranda into a late own-goal, and Bayer moved into the top four as a result.
Bayer have still won 16 of their last 21 games in all competitions, and although they have lost their last two home matches in the league, I expect them to pick up three points here. Their opponents Köln haven't won since the restart, and were dreadful in a 2-1 home defeat to Union Berlin on Saturday. Markus Gisdol's team aren't working and pressing as intensely as they were earlier in the campaign, creative fulcrum Mark Uth is struggling for form, and the team looks ready for the end of the campaign. Their sloppy defending for both goals against Union (keeper Timo Horn dithered at a corner for the first, and the defence pushed out too slowly for the second) was indicative of Köln's lethargy.
Although complete safety isn't mathematically guaranteed, it's unlikely Köln will be relegated, with 35 points already on the board. While I don't think they'll get a positive result, they'll contribute to a lively Rhineland derby. The Billy Goats have scored in each of their last 17 Bundesliga matches, the longest run of any team in the division. I'll double up a Bayer win with an Over 2.5 Goals bet on the Sportsbook at 1.89.
Jittery Mainz to sink deeper into trouble
Borussia Dortmund v Mainz Wednesday 17 June, 19:30 Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
As a former maths teacher, Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer has doubtless been crunching the numbers when it comes to the relegation battle. Sunday's disastrous 1-0 home defeat to Augsburg, coupled with Werder Bremen's storming 5-1 win at Paderborn, means Mainz are just three points above the automatic relegation zone. The Zerofivers have won only two of their last ten games, and their situation is unlikely to improve with a trip to Signal Iduna Park.
Mainz rarely trouble the big boys. They lost 4-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund in the reverse fixture, they were beaten 8-0 and 5-0 by RB Leipzig, 6-1 and 3-1 by Bayern Munich and they lost 3-1 twice to Borussia Mönchengladbach. While they have taken five points from their last three away games, all of those games were against teams in the bottom half.
Borussia Dortmund haven't been able to chase down Bayern Munich at the top, but they have secured a Champions League spot, and can play without inhibitions. They have won five of their last six games, and have only conceded one goal across those five victories. At home, they have won six of their last seven matches, with Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich the only blot on that copybook.
All of Dortmund's attacking weapons are fit, including Erling Haaland, who netted a last-gasp winner in Saturday's 1-0 win at Fortuna Düsseldorf. I believe a big home win is in the offing.
Hoffenheim to boost Europa hopes
Augsburg v Hoffenheim Wednesday June 17, 19:30 Live on BT Sport Extra and Betfair Live Video
While discovering the identity of the actual coach of Hoffenheim right now is a mystery that might even have confounded Hercules Poirot, there is reason to believe that TSG will actually take a step forward in their push for Europe on Wednesday. With a coaching team that may or may not include sporting director Alexander Rosen at the helm, Hoffe certainly didn't disgrace themselves in Friday's 2-0 home defeat to RB Leipzig, and the team's away form suggests they can win here.
Hoffenheim are much better away from home than they are at the PreZero Arena. They have taken 24 of their 43 points on the road, and have only lost three times on their travels. Five of their six road wins have come against teams who are in the bottom half.
Augsburg's win at Mainz on Sunday might have been enough to save them from the drop for another season, which is just as well, because their home form has really tailed off. FCA are one of the clubs that I think has suffered from the absence of fans since the restart, and their winless run at the WWK Arena has been extended to five matches. Their recent draws at home to out-of-form Paderborn and Köln were particularly drab.
Despite the recent departure of coach Alfred Schreuder, Hoffenheim are well capable of winning here, so I'll back them Draw No Bet at 1.86.