Wolfsburg-Hertha BSC preview

Two sides locked on 13 points – five away from second-bottom HSV, six off second-placed BVB – meet at the Volkswagen Arena tomorrow afternoon. Wolfsburg’s away form may be poor, but at home, they’ve won three of the four games played in the 2011/12 Bundesliga campaign to date, and striker Mario Mandžukić is in world-class form. Hertha Berlin, meanwhile, look as though they have enough quality and spirit to stay in the top-flight, and even though they’ve lost their last two games on the road to Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich respectively, Markus Babbel’s side have won at Dortmund already this season, and until being defeated – with nine men – at the death by Bremen last month, they’d gone the whole of 2011 without suffering an away loss. Continue reading

Paderborn-Aue preview

2. Bundesliga surprise package Paderborn host Aue tomorrow lunchtime as they look to leapfrog fourth-placed St Pauli in the standings. Both sides played in the cup in the week, with Paderborn travelling to second-division leaders Fürth on Tuesday, and Aue hosting Nuremberg the followning evening. The former were battered 4-0, and saw key midfielder Markus Krösche taken off injured (and subsequently ruled out for up to four weeks), his replacement Markus Palionis red-carded, and coach Roger Schmidt sent to the stands. Aue, on the other hand, came away with their pride intact after losing 2-1. Despite coach Rico Schmitt making four changes to the side, the East German outfit gave a good account of themselves, and the signs of fatigue might show well in North Rhine-Westphalia in this fixture. Aue acquitting themselves so well against an established Bundesliga team should come as no surprise, though – they finished fifth in the second-tier last year, and the squad has by and large stayed together with transfer activity thin on the ground over the summer. Continue reading