MARVIN SCHWABE (1.3m), STEFAN ORTEGA (8.1m)
Arminia Bielefeld will feature far more heavily in this squad than normal because they host bottom of the table Greuther Fürth in a must-win game. Stefan Ortega has not hit the heights of his 2020/21 season so far but, despite being in 17th place, Bielefeld come into this tie in surprisingly good form – unbeaten in their last three, with clean sheets against Bochum and Leipzig. That bodes well for the visit of Die Kleeblätter, who are without a goal in their last three games.
Köln’s Marvin Schwäbe may be lining up against Bayern Munich on Matchday 19 (MD19) but that doesn’t necessarily mean minus points. There will be a lot of saves to be made and, with Ortega playing after him in the week, there’s not too far wrong this pick can go.
SILVAN WIDMER (7.6m), ALPHONSO DAVIES (15.5m), RAPHAEL GUERREIRO (14.1m), MAXIMILIAN MITTELSTADT (7.1m), CEDRIC BRUNNER (5.3m)
Mainz are a much better side at home – unbeaten in five – as are VfL Bochum, who have lost seven of their nine games on the road. Silvan Widmer has starred for Mainz from right wing-back since signing and is the sixth-highest scoring defender in the game. He scored 25 points in his last home game (the 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin) and will look to repeat that in MD19.
Alphonso Davies is back for Bayern. The only defender to average ten points per game this season, the Roadrunner has been electric for Julian Nagelsmann’s side and visits a Köln side who can be very inconsistent. Steffen Baumgart’s gung-ho tactics may come back to bite him against Bayern and Davies will be at the heart of that.
Having been an injury doubt throughout the week, Raphael Guerreiro looks to be back in training and will hopefully start ahead of the visit of Freiburg. Dortmund have been terrible at the back this season but that doesn’t seem to affect Guerreiro, who has three goals and two assists in just nine starts this season. The Portuguese is on a lot of set-pieces and his attacking threat makes him a nailed-on pick when fit.
Maximilian Mittelstädt has struggled for consistent starts this season but has played 90 minutes in the last pair of games and has three assists from just nine starts. Hertha visit a truly terrible Wolfsburg side who don’t look capable of beating anyone at the moment, which should give Mittelstädt a chance to get his best score of the season.
Cedric Brunner may not have great attacking threat but he is an important part of the Bielefeld defence ahead of their game against Fürth. Brunner has 18 points from his last two home games and hit ten points in both Matchday 16 and 17.
PATRICK WIMMER (5.4m), CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU (17.2m), DOMINIK SZOBOZSLAI (12.5m), FILIP KOSTIC (17.5m), JAMAL MUSIALA (13.0m)
Lots would pick Masaya Okugawa in this spot, with three goals in his last three games, but Patrick Wimmer’s output looks a lot more sustainable. He’s got 42 points from his last three games ahead of Greuther Fürth’s visit. Wimmer should’ve got a goal last week and took up threatening positions throughout. It’s hard to see Fürth’s porous defence coping with him.
Christopher Nkunku is the first half of the Leipzig double act making up the heart of this team. He came off the bench to score and get two assists on Matchday 18, his fifth haul of more than 20 points this season. Leipzig have been markedly better at home than on the road all season but we don’t have enough data to know if that’ll continue under Domenico Tedesco. Leipzig are against Stuttgart, without a win or goal in three games.
Dominik Szoboszlai has been brilliant whenever he’s played this season, with four goals and five assists in just 11 starts. He looks to have secured a starting berth under Tedesco, especially after his goal and assist against Mainz last time.
Filip Kostic scores points with an unerring consistency. He has double-digit scores in seven of his last nine games and will be against Augsburg, who can be terrible on their day. Three goals and seven assists is an impressive record alone but alongside 39 points for goal attempts and 40 for passes to a shot, you can see why he’s a staple of this squad.
Jamal Musiala disappointed owners last time out but a bit of faith in the young man should pay off. Three goals and four assists from six starts is still a brilliant record and he should start again against Köln. He’s been getting into great positions and Bayern will expect to sweep aside Baumgart’s men.
KARIM ONISIWO (8.7m), RAFAEL SANTOS BORRE (9.3m), PATRIK SCHICK (15.9m)
Karim Onisiwo has been the darling of stats nerds all season, having taken the ninth-most shots of all players. However, he’s only managed three goals, alongside seven assists in his ‘Jonisiwo’ partnership with Jonathan Burkardt. Against poor travellers Bochum, Onisiwo could add to his tally.
Rafael Santos Borre is finally starting to find the form that was expected of him when he was brought in to replace Andre Silva. The Colombian has three goals and three assists in his last four games for Frankfurt, racking up 45 points in those games. Frankfurt, who’ve won six of their last eight, visit an inconsistent Augsburg and Borre is a man in form.
Talking about men in form, Patrik Schick more than fits that bill. 17 goals in 15 games gives him a league-high 1.29 goals per 90, along with a 39% goal conversion rate – one of the highest in the league. Visiting a Gladbach side who lurch from the sublime to the ridiculous on a weekly basis, it’s hard to predict what the Czech striker will do but, given Gladbach only have one clean sheet in their last 12, it looks like he’ll have plenty of chances to score.
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