Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Germany’s Bundesliga returns with five exciting looking clashes this evening, and with points and places on offer the 2019/20 campaign’s run in is beginning to pick up speed.
RB Leipzig kick us off at 17:30 hoping to strengthen their receding title chances at home to a rejuvenated Hertha Berlin, while survival is the name of the game in Union Berlin’s meeting with Mainz and Augsburg’s clash with Paderborn a little later.
Elsewhere, 9th takes on 10th when Hoffenheim and Cologne face off at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, while 3rd from bottom Fortuna will be aiming to take advantage of Schalke’s poor form in Dusseldorf.
FST takes a look at the betting odds for each of the three fixtures and predicts the starting lineup for each team to keep you informed ahead of kickoff. Remember to check out all our Bundesliga predictions for the latest insight on the German top flight.
17:30 – RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin
After a frustrating draw at home to Freiburg, Leipzig got back into the winning groove with a thumping 5-0 win at Mainz, helped by another superb Timo Werner hattrick. Die Roten Bullen will be gunning to shoot down Hertha in similarly explosive fashion, though Die Alte Dame look re-energized under new boss Bruno Labbadia and fresh from successive wins, carry a considerable threat.
Read our guide detailing the 5 key battles that could decide the outcome of RB Leipzig’s tussle with Hertha Berlin.
RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin odds
RB Leipzig win: 3/10
Hertha Berlin win: 3/1
RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin team news and possible lineups
The versatile Konrad Laimer will be a big miss should he fail to recover from the injury he picked up against Mainz. Further forward, Yussuf Poulsen’s knee ligament issue will see him miss the rest of the current campaign, which should free up a place for Patrick Schick to start up top.
RB Leipzig possible line up: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg – Mukiele, Sabitzer (c), Kampl, Angelino – Nkunku, Werner – Schick
RB Leipzig injury list: Konate (hamstring), Poulsen (ankle), Ampadu (doubtful), Laimer (doubtful)
Former RB Leipzig employee Matheus Cunha is in red-hot form and will be central to Hertha’s plans and chances again. Elsewhere, veteran defender Peter Pekarik is expected to reprise his role at right-back, though fellow backline operators Karim Rekik and Niklas Stark are still unavailable.
Hertha Berlin possible line up: Jarstein – Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred, Grujic – Lukebakio, Darida, Cunha – Ibisevic (c)
Hertha Berlin injury list: Ascacibar (foot), Kalou (not included), Rekik (knee), Stark (groin), Wolf (match fitness)
FST Predicts: RB Leipzig to win
You can find all our analysis for this game on our RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin predictions.
19:30 – Augsburg vs Paderborn
Cut adrift at the bottom of the standings, Paderborn already have one foot back in the second tier, and Augsburg will be aiming to put another nail in their coffin this evening. Die Fuggerstädter ended a run of defeats with an equally impressive and surprising 3-0 win at Schalke at the weekend and with momentum restored, they will back themselves to see off Paderborn at the WWK Arena.
Augsburg vs Paderborn odds
Mainz win: 10/11
Paderborn win: 14/5
Augsburg vs Paderborn team news and possible lineups
Stopper Andreas Luthe looks set to keep his place in goal after unseating Tomas Koubek, while Noel Sarenren Bazee will feel he has done enough to earn his first start of the campaign after opening his Bundesliga account from the subs’ bench last time out. Icelandic attacked Alfred Finnbogason, meanwhile, is a doubt for the game alongside Brazil U23 left-back Iago and four-goal winger Ruben Vargas.
Augsburg possible lineup: Luthe – Framberger, Jedvaj, Uduokhai, Max – Khedira, Baier (c) – Sarenren Bazee, Löwen, Richter – Niederlechner
Augsburg injury list: Hahn (tendon), Finnbogason (doubtful), Giefer (doubtful), Iago (doubtful), Schieber (cdoubtful), Vargas (doubtful)
Paderborn manager Steffen Baumgart has almost a full complement of players to choose from ahead of Wednesday’s game and is expected to stick with the same core that helped the newly prompted outfit to draws against Fortuna Dusseldorf and Hoffenheim.
Paderborn possible lineup: Zingerle – Jans, Strohdiek, Schonlau (c), Collins – Vasiliadis, Gjasula, Sabiri – Pröger, Srbeny, Antwi-Adjei
Paderborn injury list: Kilian (doubtful)
FST Predicts: Augsburg to win
You can find all our analysis for this game on our Augsburg vs Paderborn predictions.
19:30 – Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Schalke 04
3rd from bottom Fortuna Dusseldorf threw away a two-goal lead in dramatic fashion at Cologne at the weekend, conceding both strikes inside the final two minutes to let a potentially season-changing win slip through their fingers. With time and fixtures running out, their need for points is great, though they host a Schalke side on Wednesday, eager to bounce back from their 0-3 reverse at home to Augsburg.
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Schalke 04 odds
Fortuna Dusseldorf win: 8/5
Schalke 04 win: 9/5
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Schalke 04 team news and possible lineups
Influential Fortuna defender Kaan Ayhan makes a welcome return from suspension, while January loan signing Valon Berisha is set to drafted back into midfield. Eleven-goal top scorer Rouwen Hennings has failed to register in 10 but could return at the expense of ex-Schalke attacker Steven Skrzybsk up front.
Fortuna Dusseldorf possible lineup: Kastenmeier – Ayhan, Hoffmann, Gießelmann – Zimmermann, Stöger, Morales, Berisha, Suttner – Karaman, Hennings (c)
Fortuna Dusseldorf injury list: Steffen (knee)
Schalke face a goal scoring crisis this week, with top scorer Suat Serdar, who suffered a shin injury against Augsburg, as well as their next-best marksman Amine Harit, absent for their game against Fortuna. Ex-Fortuna forward Benito Raman could be paired with Michael Gregoritsch in the final third, while Ahemd Kutucu could also provide an alternative option.
Schalke 04 possible lineup: Schubert – Kenny, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka (c) – Caligiuri, McKennie, Schöpf – Matondo – Gregoritsch, Raman
Schalke 04 injury list: Harit (ligament), Mascarell (groin), Serdar (shin), Todibo (ankle), Stambouli (doubtful)
FST Predicts: Draw
You can find all our analysis for this game on our Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Schalke 04 predictions.
19:30 – Hoffenheim vs Cologne
Hoffenheim and Cologne are separated by just one place and two points in 9th and 10th respectively ahead of their mid-table clash at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena this evening. Cologne’s fight back from the death to earn a point at home to Fortuna last time out would have sent a wave of positive momentum washing over their players, and Die Geißböcke will aim to capitalise on their new-found impetus against a Hoffenheim side without a win in seven games.
Hoffenheim vs Cologne odds
Fortuna Dusseldorf win: 6/4
Schalke 04 win: 31/20
Hoffenheim vs Cologne team news and possible lineups
With Andrej Kramaric out and Sargis Adamyan doubtful, Winter window signing Munas Dabbur is in line to return in attack after a three-game absence, while Robert Skov and Christophe Baumgartner will hope to provide extra goal-scoring thrust from deeper areas to help share the load.
Hoffenheim possible lineup: Baumann – Kaderabek, Posch, Hübner (c), Zuber – Rudy, Grillitsch – Skov, Geiger, Baumgartner – Dabbur
Hoffenheim injury list: Belfodil (knee), Kramaric (ankle), Adamyan (doubtful), Stafylidis (doubtful)
Cologne largely have a clean bill of health ahead of Wednesday’s game with back-up midfielders Marcel Risse and Niklas Hauptmann, the only pair likely to miss out. After notching his 10th goal of the season Jhon Cordoba will almost certainly hold on to his place up front ahead of Anthony Modeste.
Cologne possible lineup: Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Katterbach – Skhiri, Hector (c) – Kainz, Uth, Jakobs – Cordoba
Cologne injury list: Risse (knee), Hauptmann (doubtful)
FST Predicts: Cologne win
You can find all our analysis for this game on our Hoffenheim vs Cologne predictions.
19:30 – Union Berlin vs Mainz
After they were dismantled by city rivals Hertha in a 4-0 derby drubbing at the weekend, Union Berlin will need to pick themselves up fast to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight. The Bundesliga new boys are currently just three places clear of the dropzone, and this evening they host a Mainz side that occupy one of the slots between them and the bottom three.
Union Berlin vs Mainz odds
Union Berlin win: 5/4
Mainz win: 21/20
Union Berlin vs Mainz team news and possible lineups
Union Berlin will welcome back star defender Keven Schlotterbeck after his suspension, while veteran midfielder Christian Gentner could also push for a start. Union will look to leading scorer Sebastian Andersson to lead from the front again, while midfield maestro Marius Bülter will also be key to their chances of success.
Union Berlin possible lineup: Gikiewicz – Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Subotic – Trimmel (c), Gentner, Andrich, Lenz – Ingvartsen, Bülter – Andersson
Union Berlin injury list: Becker (thigh), Gogia (doubtful)
Talismanic forward Jean-Philippe Mateta is in line to make his first start in months after coming off the bench against Leipzig, and Mainz will be thrilled to have their leading marksman from last season back in tow. The Frenchman could be paired in a potentially prolific duo in the final third with Robin Quaison, though first choice keeper Robin Zentner will miss out again.
Mainz possible lineup: Müller – St. Juste, Bruma, Niakhate – Baku, Barreiro, Latza, Martin – Boetius – Quaison, Mateta
Mainz injury list: Zentner (knee)
FST Predicts: Draw
You can find all our analysis for this game on our Union Berlin vs Mainz predictions.
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