A look ahead to Matchday 18

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Here’s a look at some of the big matches when the Bundesliga returns after the winter break for matchday 18:

Friday 22 January

Hamburg vs Bayern Munich

The 2015-16 German Bundesliga recommences on Friday 22 January in Hamburg when the Old Dinosaur hosts the current leaders and reigning champions, Bayern Munich.

Pep Guardiola’s side currently hold an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund at the top and are widely-expected to extend this to 11 before Saturday’s games.

Before the break, Hamburg only picked up one point from their final three games, losing at home to both Mainz 05 and Augsburg.  They are midtable after 17 rounds but could certainly get dragged into another relegation battle if they are not careful.

It’s hard to see anything but a Bayern Munich win from this game.

Saturday 23 January

1899 Hoffenheim vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

It doesn’t feel so long ago that 1899 Hoffenheim were top of the Bundesliga over the winter break.  Now they start 2016 bottom of the league.  Could the well-funded club be heading back to the 2. Bundesliga?  It’s too early to say and there’s no need to panic just yet.

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Bayer 04 Leverkusen made a slow start to the season but got back on track before Christmas, now only two places off fourth place and UEFA Champions League qualification.

A disappointing Champions League campaign this season where they failed to win any of their final five group stage games means Europa League football during the second half of the season.

With the likes of Javier Hernández, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Stefan Kiessling and Karim Bellarabi, Roger Schmidt’s side have the ability to win their first match after the break and push for a top four finish.

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Borussia Dortmund

Saturday’s biggest game is the evening kickoff when third place Borussia Mönchengladbach host second-placed Borussia Dortmund at Borussia Park.

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Thomas Tuchel’s side were playing some good football immediately before the break and if they have any prayer in getting in the title race they need to take three points from this match.

Europa League football is on the cards for Dortmund during the second half of the season but the main focus will be on trying to close down Bayern Munich.  The current league leaders dropped only five points in the first half of the season so that may not even be possible.

As for Gladbach, a top four finish for them this season would be a fantastic achievement after their very slow start which saw them eliminated from the Champions League and employ a new coach.

If you want any betting tips on these games and more in the Bundesliga we recommend checking out Bethut.

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