Bundesliga Betting: Hungry Wolves should be taken seriously

Wolfsburg have surged into the Champions League places, and Kevin Hatchard believes they will win again this weekend.

Rock-solid Wolves have earned respect

Augsburg v Wolfsburg
Saturday 06 February, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

We've only got 15 matchdays left in the Bundesliga, and with at least two of the four Champions League places still up for grabs, Wolfsburg now have to be seen as serious contenders to finish in the top four. Oliver Glasner's side has lost just twice in the Bundesliga so far (at Bayern and Borussia Dortmund) and an early exit from the Europa League has done them a favour, allowing the Austrian coach to gradually bed in a more attacking style of football.

The spine of the Wolfsburg team is excellent. Koen Casteels is one of the most commanding and reliable keepers in the league, John Brooks is playing as well as ever in central defence, with outstanding youngster Maxence Lacroix alongside him. Maxi Arnold and Xaver Schlager provide a good mix of silk and steel in midfield, and Dutch striker Wout Weghorst has scored goals consistently in the German top flight since he arrived two-and-a-half years ago.

Wolfsburg have won their last four games, and I'll happily back them at close to evens to beat an Augsburg side that's seriously run out of steam in the last couple of months. Heiko Herrlich's team has lost five of its last seven matches in the league, and at the WWK Arena they have lost three of the last four. All clubs are missing their fans, but it seems Augsburg are suffering more than most.

Wolfsburg were far from their best on Wednesday as they beat Schalke 1-0 in the DFB Cup, and I expect a strong reaction. I'll back the visitors to win at 1.9.

Humiliated Bayer at a low ebb

Bayer Leverkusen v Stuttgart
Saturday 06 February, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

These are difficult times for Bayer Leverkusen. Going into their home game against Bayern Munich on December 19, they were top of the Bundesliga and unbeaten in the top flight. Since then they have lost five of their seven league matches, and in midweek a pretty much full-strength side crashed out of the DFB Cup at fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen. For a club that reached last year's final, this was a ginormous embarrassment.

Bayer's recent set of slip-ups have seen them slide out of the top four, and they have been caught up by Rhineland rivals Borussia Mönchenglabach. Coach Peter Bosz has been publicly backed by the club, but if he fails to qualify for the Champions League in back-to-back seasons, that will do serious damage to his standing at the BayArena.

Stuttgart also went out of the cup in midweek, but they lost to Gladbach, having given them a good game. Red-hot wide player Silas Wamangituka continued his scoring streak - he has now found the net in his last five competitive games, and he scored a wonder goal last weekend against Mainz. That 2-0 victory was Stuttgart's first home success of the season, but they have been much better on their travels, winning five times in ten outings.

Leverkusen are bereft of confidence, especially in front of goal, and Stuttgart's pace on the break can cause them all kinds of problems. I'll back VfB Draw No Bet here at 2.76.

Schalke to suffer more misery

Schalke v RB Leipzig
Saturday 06 February, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

The burst of enthusiasm sparked by Schalke's long-awaited 4-0 win against Hoffenheim, their first in the Bundesliga for nearly a year, has well and truly dissipated. They have claimed a solitary point from four games since, and that came from a feeble 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen last weekend. Schalke played pretty well in the first half, but threw away the initiative and the lead by tamely sitting back in the second period. They didn't manage a single second-half shot against a rather limited opponent.

Christian Gross's team crashed out of the cup in midweek, losing 1-0 at Wolfsburg, and they have failed to score in six of their last 12 competitive matches. The return of veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is yet to reap tangible rewards, and the arrival of inconsistent centre-back Shkrodan Mustafi will hardly have the Bundesliga's best attacks cowering in fear. Schalke are bottom, and even with 15 matchdays left, they look doomed to relegation.

RB Leipzig picked up a morale-boosting win over Leverkusen last weekend, and then smashed second-tier Bochum 4-0 in the cup. They generally enjoy playing Schalke, and have shredded them 5-0 and 4-0 in the last two meetings. It's hard to see how a Schalke side that's so out of form will slow RBL down, so I'll back the visitors -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.92.

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