The action continues to come around quickly in the Bundesliga with a game on Friday and eight more over the weekend. Most teams have just six games left of the regular season, so time is running out and there are plenty of intriguing contests to preview.
Over 3.5 total goals
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen
Both these teams were frustrated on Tuesday with Leverkusen’s shock 4-1 home reverse to Wolfsburg a total head-scratcher. Freiburg missed a golden chance to close the gap on a top-six berth to just two points when letting slip a 3-1 lead at Frankfurt. At least a point keeps them in the running and makes this home match very important.
Bayer were on the end of a first defeat in nine top-flight matches and have dropped out of the top four so they will be desperate to atone now, especially as they face champions-elect Bayern Munich the week after.
I am not sure backing the visitors at odds on represents much value and with a strong possibility both will score, that makes Leverkusen far more tempting at 21/10 in that outcome. However, with Bayer’s last three games all having four or more goals and the hosts not afraid to shoot, this could turn out to be high scoring with plenty of entertainment.
Over 2.5 match goals
Hertha Berlin v Augsburg
Hertha picked up a very useful point in Leipzig which continued an impressive five-match unbeaten run. They have probably left it too late to challenge for the top six but are safe in midtable.
Augsburg were involved in a drab affair with Paderborn although the point gained is another away from the drop zone. The visitors don’t have to face any of the top six until the final matchday so may be quite happy to adopt a cautious approach, avoiding defeat at all costs.
We have been impressed with the hosts since the return and they are proving tough to beat as well as free-scoring. Their last seven games have also featured over 2.5 goals so don’t expect a goalless draw. The key to this match remains how Augsburg will set out to play, so sticking with the goal stats may prove the most profitable outcome.
Hoffenheim - draw not bet
Mainz v Hoffenheim
Mainz are beginning to look nervously over their shoulders especially after Dusseldorf won on Wednesday, meaning the gap is just a solitary point in the race to avoid the dreaded relegation playoff position.
With only one victory is seven, the hosts are struggling and a match with Hoffenheim is not one that they will relish. The visitors have secured seven points from their last three games and they have genuine hopes of breaching the top six. Austrian midfielder Christoph Baumgartner has caught the eye this term and bagged a brace in a 3-1 home victory over Koln as well as providing an assist for the other. He could offer value again in the anytime scorer market.
Forward Robin Quaison had been enjoying a terrific season with Mainz before the enforced break. However, he has failed to register recently and was subbed during the draw with Union Berlin. That loss of form has been mirrored by the team. Its easy to see why Hoffenheim have been made favourites for this and I intend to support them here too.
Two or Three total match goals
Schalke v Werder Bremen
Schalke must be dreading stepping back onto the park with their fall from grace well documented and a 2-1 reverse at Dusseldorf extending their winless run to an astonishing eleven matches. Of course, they won’t be relegated, but must be totally demoralised not to be challenging for a top-six position after such a good start to their campaign.
They had led for a long time at Fortuna Dusseldorf in midweek but with a lack of possession, found themselves defending too deep and didn’t have the confidence to close the game out. They now host another side fighting for their lives at the foot and who had arguably the better chances to shock high flying Monchengladbach on Tuesday before settling for a point.
Bremen’s lack of goals is worrying and explains their lowly position but chances are being created and they still have a game in hand on rivals around them. This may therefore be fairly low-scoring and a bet on the total goal bands looks the answer.
Wolfsburg to win
Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg are still in the driving seat to hold onto sixth position and a tremendous 4-1 success at Leverkusen certainly made everyone sit up and take notice.
In fairness, Wolfsburg had shown enough in a narrow loss to Dortmund to suggest they would be competitive but the manner and score line exceeded even their expectations. They were clinical and despite giving up the majority of possession, were well organised and confident.
Frankfurt are involved in the relegation battle still and were thankful two late strikes rescued a point in midweek. They have a terrible recent defensive record though with eleven conceded in their last three and it’s ten games, including Europa League, without keeping a clean sheet.
We expected the hosts to be much shorter for this game and despite Eintracht’s desperation for points, a home win at value odds should be the outcome.
Dusseldorf +3 handicap
Bayern Munich v Fortuna Dusseldorf
The champions-elect put one hand on regaining their crown with a narrow 1-0 success at nearest rivals Dortmund. After looking vulnerable defensively recently, it was certainly the performance of champions and only a collapse can deny them now it would seem.
They are involved in the tea-time match and start extremely short odds to see off lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf. However, the visitors are on a relatively good run of form for a team so close to the foot and a crucial 2-1 midweek win moves them to within one point of safety. They are actually on an unbeaten six-match run and have high hopes of pulling off the great escape.
The big problem they have is a nasty-looking fixture list with the current top three clubs all still to play. Their goal difference is poor but so is Mainz’s and that could play a crucial role in the final table. We would hope that fact alone will help Fortuna to keep the scoreline respectable and perhaps a bet on the handicap will reward backers.
Monchengladbach to win and under 4.5 goals
Borussia Monchengladbach v Union Berlin
Despite what many would have seen as dropped points in midweek at Bremen, Monchengladbach would have been delighted to leapfrog back over rivals Bayer Leverkusen. The race for the top four remains extremely close and very captivating. Borussia could have no complaints only picking up a single point and after a defeat against Bayer previously, now need a maximum return.
Union Berlin arrive needing points after finding themselves dragged into the relegation dog fight. They are without a win in six and have only scored once since the return. Striker Sebastien Polter has been removed from the squad after a breach of discipline and there may be cracks starting to appear in morale, especially after a recent 4-0 hammering at rivals Hertha. They will be pleased they don’t have to face any of the top six in their remaining fixtures after this clash but need to recapture some momentum to survive.
We expect the hosts to heap further misery on them and make it a nervous end to the campaign.
Dortmund -1 handicap
Paderborn v Borussia Dortmund
With Dusseldorf winning in midweek, the chances of Paderborn avoiding the drop appear extremely remote and they will need to show title-winning form to survive. Facing the team who are favourites to finish runners up won’t help either and although the hosts have remained unbeaten, drawing their last three games, they still struggle for goals and have only tasted victory on four occasions this season.
Dortmund will now have to concentrate on finishing second after virtually conceding the crown to Bayern in midweek. They should have far too much firepower for the team at the foot and they will be the cornerstone of many accumulators we suspect.
Leipzig to win and under 4.5 goals
Koln v RB Leipzig
Koln suffered a disappointing loss at Hoffenheim and are yet to win in their three games, and it’s five since their last victory. They should have enough points to stave off relegation and this match represents their toughest left on paper.
Leipzig are proving frustrating and very costly for backers as they have twice drawn at home when short odds to win. Once more, they are big favourites but punters may be wary of supporting them. They still have a kind-looking schedule with their penultimate fixture at home to Dortmund their toughest assignment. They have only lost three games which is the lowest in the section but they still have work to do to retain a top-four place.
Timo Werner may have scored 24 league goals but he hasn’t been dominating games aside from his hat trick in Mainz and needs to influence things more. We think the visitors will win and if they can eliminate their inconsistency, they way well run out cosy winners.