A rejuvenated Dortmund side travel to Hamburg in Saturday’s evening kick-off in search of their fourth straight Bundesliga win. This incredible run of form has propelled the previously relegation-threatened club to within striking distance of Leverkusen in 4th place. If Klopp’s men were somehow able to clinch a Champions League spot it would represent an outstanding achievement considering they were in last position only a few weeks ago. Hamburg however, sit just one point above the drop zone and are very much in the relegation dog fight. Hamburg desperately need a result here but I feel both sides will settle for a draw.
Hannover vs Bayern Munich
Bayern travel to Hannover looking to maintain their 8 point lead at the summit. I expect Guardiola to shuffle his pack ahead of their important Champions league match against Shakhtar next Wednesday. Despite the changes, it would take a fool to bet against Bayern in this form. I’m going for an way win with Manuel Neuer keeping a clean sheet.
PSG vs Lens
With leaders Lyon not in action until Sunday evening, PSG have the chance to take sole leadership of Ligue 1 for 24 hours at least. After a disappointing 0-0 draw at Monaco last weekend Ibrahimovic and Co will be looking to secure a morale boosting victory ahead of their crunch clash with Chelsea in the Champions League. Blanc may well opt to rest some of his first team regulars ahead of their trip to London but I still expect their superior quality to prevail over relegation candidates Lens.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid seem to be doing everything in their power to not win the league. Once again, they have failed to capitalise on Barcelona’s failings as they were held to an unconvincing draw against Villarreal. I have to agree with Carlo Ancelotti, with the title going to be decided on the final day. Neither side seems to have the bottle to truly hold onto a big advantage in the title race. There is no doubt that Real Madrid are in the driving seat, but these away games are the ones which can make the difference come the end of the season. Athletic Bilbao will make it difficult for the European champions, they know they are vulnerable and they will be looking to expose this apparent weakness. However, I feel that they will benefit from playing without the pressure of their demanding home fans, and come out on top in a narrow win, exploiting the fatigue of Athletic, who won 2-0 away to progress in the Copa del Rey.
Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano
Barcelona were impressive in midweek, winning away at Villarreal who seem drained after doing their opponents a favour by drawing to Real Madrid in the League. Rayo Vallecano sit comfortably in mid-table and can afford to truly have a go against the Catalan side. However, I believe this will work in Barcelona’s favour as they will not play with the level of determination needed to gain a result at one of the toughest stadium’s in Europe. Barcelona were taught a lesson by Malaga and I have no doubt that this will still be burning inside the array of stars available to Luis Enrique. I expect Barcelona to turn on the style and secure a comfortable home win.
Atletico Madrid vs Valencia
La liga fans will be desperate for Sunday night as the League holders welcome an exciting Valencia side who are full of confidence at the moment. Atletico Madrid have no shame in setting up in a way which will stifle their opponents, as they know the value of having a strong defence in these big games. Interestingly, Atletico Madrid are no longer looking towards the top of the table, they are more interested in securing Champions League football, and this match is where they must realise their new objective. I have no doubt that the top 4 will not change come the end of the season, but Valencia will feel they can claim 3rd place if they perform at maximum level. However, I think that these games are where Atletico Madrid come to life, and they will produce an efficient, professional performance to secure a crucial win.