Bundesliga Matchday 31 betting preview: Leverkusen to bolster top-four bid
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Last weekend was, um, not great.

It started on a winning note with Freiburg getting a result on Friday, but the weekend quickly went downhill after that. Not to make excuses, but Augsburg missing a penalty was the difference between us finishing 3-1 instead of 1-3.

Let's get it back on Matchday 31.

RB Leipzig (-235) at Hoffenheim (+470), Draw (+375)

There should be plenty of goals scored when these sides meet Friday at Rhein-Neckar-Arena. RB Leipzig's flowing attack that's led to 14 goals in their last four away matches is up against a leaky Hoffenheim defense. Hoffenheim hasn't posted a clean sheet in its last 10 home contests, conceding 27 goals in that span.

Both sides are also dealing with some crippling defensive suspensions. Hoffenheim will be without captain Benjamin Hubner, while Leipzig will deal with centre-half Dayot Upamecano sitting out after he's played nearly every minute for the club since September.

Those absences come right as each team's attack is boosted, with Emil Forsberg returning for the visitors after overcoming tonsillitis. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim striker Andre Kramaric, who came back as a substitute last weekend, is expected to feature in the starting XI for the first time since March after recovering from a knee injury. The Croatian has notched seven goals and three assists in 15 games this season.

We can anticipate a spirited response from Hoffenheim after the team sacked coach Alfred Schreuder on Tuesday. The club currently sits two points back of a Europa League spot with four games remaining, and it can't enjoy the luxury of relaxing and hoping to settle for a point. Hoffenheim will go toe to toe with Leipzig, resulting in a wide-open, high-scoring affair.

Pick: Over 3.5 (-110)

Werder Bremen (+110) at Paderborn (+210), Draw (+270)

It's white-knuckle time for Bremen in their quest for survival, while desperation has reached a head for Paderborn, with the club eight points from potential safety with four matches remaining.

Steffen Baumgart's side has actually played quite well since the restart despite the precarious position it now faces, with just one loss over five matches (against Dortmund). If nothing else, Paderborn has shown a lot of heart and won't go down without a fight.

They'll play freely without anything to lose, throwing the kitchen sink at Bremen. The visitors have struggled to score since the restart, netting just three goals in six matches. Paderborn, meanwhile, continue to impress defensively.

This will be a tightly contested match between a pair of desperate clubs, with a share of the spoils feeling inevitable.

Pick: Draw (+270)

Bayer Leverkusen (-180) at Schalke (+450), Draw (+325)

No Bundesliga club is devoid of confidence quite like Schalke. In fairness to David Wagner's side, it's suffering from a laundry list of key injuries, but that doesn't excuse a run of form that's led to Schalke going winless through their last 12 matches, scoring just four goals over that span.

Stuck in mid-table obscurity, motivation is in short supply for Schalke with nothing left to play for this season. They'll be desperate to see out these final four matches and put this campaign behind them.

The timing couldn't be worse though for a visit from an in-form Leverkusen side that's won six of its last eight away matches while scoring at least a goal in every one of those contests.

Peter Bosz’s club is executing with some wonderful, free-flowing football of late, and Leverkusen will be playing with plenty of urgency as they pursue a top-four finish. They’ve won during four of their last five visits to the Veltins-Arena and will throw far too much at Schalke again on Sunday.

Pick: Leverkusen -1 (-105)

Full card:

  • Hoffenheim/RB Leipzig over 3.5 (-110)
  • Freiburg +0.5 (+105)
  • Hertha Berlin (+110)
  • Dortmund -1.25 (-120)
  • Paderborn/Werder Bremen draw (+280)
  • Leverkusen -1 (-105)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

Bundesliga Matchday 31 betting preview: Leverkusen to bolster top-four bid
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