Germany have handled their resumption very well and the Bundesliga concludes this Saturday with many issues still outstanding. There are plenty of short prices but hopefully some value in the submarkets.
M'gladbach to win and both teams to score
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hertha Berlin
Gladbach jumped into pole position to capture the crucial last Champions League place after a surprise loss for rivals Leverkusen in Hertha last weekend. With a two-point advantage and a far superior goal difference, a draw should secure fourth although victory would pressure Leipzig for third. The hosts followed up their impressive 3-0 defeat of Wolfsburg with a 3-1 success in Paderborn and are looking for a hat trick of successes to finish their campaign on a high.
Berlin ended a three-game losing streak to shock Bayer and restricted them to just two shots on target. It really was an unfathomable result and Hertha played with the freedom a mid-table position allows. Whether they can follow up on the road to create an even bigger upset is unlikely and short odds on a home victory reflect that.
Berlin have a great scoring record, managing to net in nine of their last ten top-flight matches, and that creates a good opportunity to back Gladbach at far more appealing odds.
Mainz +2 handicap
Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz
One point from six has seen Leverkusen drop to fifth and almost certainly blown their chances of Champions League football next term now. Failure to beat Schalke and Hertha, who both had little to play for, will have frustrated fans and all they can do now is beat Mainz and hope for a surprise elsewhere. The lack of creativity and goal output at such a crucial stage of the season has been worrying and ultimately the reason they will likely miss out. Transfer speculation surrounding star man Kai Havertz has not helped and his form, along with the team, has dipped alarmingly.
Ironically, Mainz found their form at just the right time and consecutive victories has rescued them from relegation. They followed up an amazing three points in Dortmund by dispatching Bremen 3-1 at home last weekend and have won three of their last four.
If results elsewhere go against Bayer in-play, they may ease off with only the cup final with Bayern Munich to look forward to. Therefore it may be wise sticking with the in-form visitors to finish their campaign on a high.
Leipzig to win and both teams to score
Augsburg v RB Leipzig
Leipzig had to surrender the runners-up berth to Dortmund after that rival’s comfortable 2-0 success in Leipzig last week. Therefore, the hosts can only finish third at best now. In truth, Dortmund were much stronger and fully deserved their victory. Timo Werner’s transfer speculation and subsequent move to Chelsea did little to help his current employers as he went off the boil, and Leipzig will look back on a season full of promise that rather tapered off to a damp squib even if they secure third.
Augsburg put a dent in Dusseldorf’s hopes of avoiding automatic relegation when taking a point from them last week and will be happy to have survived, despite a mixed bag of results since the restart. Two wins from eight was enough to stay up and, without being prolific scorers, they have found the net in their last four outings. They will hope to end on a high on home soil but the visitors know only a win will guarantee third and should have more motivation.
Wolfsburg +1 handicap
Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg are in a straight shootout with Hoffenheim to take sixth place and a Europa League slot next season. They may have wished for anyone other than the champions in their final game, with Bayern unbeaten in twenty matches across all competitions. For a team highly rated, Wolfsburg have surprisingly lost three games since the resumption and that inconsistency threatens to knock them out of the top six which has looked fairly secure during most of the second half of the season. They found their scoring boots last week as they bagged four away in Schalke and will need a last big effort to get over the line.
It will be interesting to see the team news for Bayern, who will have one eye on next week’s cup final with Leverkusen, so may rest and rotate their squad. 11/4 may look a big price for the hosts if that is the case, although it would be no surprise Munich at least pick a side that will keep their impressive unbeaten run intact.
With Hoffenheim also facing strong final day opponents, a draw may prove enough and perhaps could suit both as the afternoon unfolds.
Hoffenheim +1 handicap
Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim bounced back from a terrible opening 3-0 home loss when the Bundesliga restarted to fight their way into top-six contention. With four wins in their subsequent seven outings, successive victories have put real pressure on Wolfsburg who looked booked for sixth. They thumped Union 4-0 last week and have scored seven times in those last two victories. They will travel to Dortmund therefore in confident mood, although mindful they still face a tough test against the team in second place.
Aside from a shock home loss to Mainz and defeat against the Champions, Dortmund have won their other six games and arguably saved their best performance for last week’s 2-0 win in Leipzig. Erling Haland scored both and has been a revelation since signing from Salzburg. At just nineteen, he has a great career ahead and Dortmund will hope he is not lured away in the summer.
Hoffenheim will be keeping tabs on events in Wolfsburg, and score updates there may dictate how they approach things here. If they can start positively and keep their fine scoring record going, a point may be good enough in the final reckoning.
Werder Bremen to win and over 2.5 total goals
Werder Bremen v Koln
Werder and Dusseldorf take their automatic relegation battle to the final day with both looking to make the relegation playoffs. Realistically, Werder must win and hope Dusseldorf lose as their goal difference is unlikely to be enough to pass their rivals. They missed a chance in Mainz last week to keep things tighter but a 3-1 loss probably has now consigned them to the drop. They have lost four of their last five matches and can have no arguments if the trapdoor closes on them. At least a home game with Koln gives them a favourites’ chance of actually securing three points, with the visitors without a win in nine. Incredibly, they have actually scored during all those nine matches but have only four draws to show.
It takes a leap of faith to consider backing Bremen at such short odds at home so once again the submarkets offer a better solution and in the hope Koln’s winless run continues, but they do indeed assist with the goal output, we can find value.
Match to end in a draw
Union Berlin v Fortuna Dusseldorf
Fortuna missed a chance to avoid automatic relegation when failing to beat Augsburg last week, but a draw will surely be enough to make the relegation playoffs. For a team battling to avoid the drop, they have only lost twice during their last 11 Bundesliga fixtures and those losses were against the top two. Therefore, they are in decent form, albeit seven of those were draws which is the difference between relegation and safety in all honesty. They will fancy their chances in Berlin as Union have struggled with injuries and suspensions recently and their results have suffered badly.
A 4-0 hammering at Hoffenheim last week meant only two wins from ten but at least they can celebrate another season in the top flight. Dusseldorf will not want to be too cautious and have let crucial points slip many times this season, but they are in a strong position heading into this encounter. We just can’t back them at odds-on despite the hosts’ problems and a share of the spoils may keep both happy anyway.
Frankfurt to win and both teams to score
Eintracht Frankfurt v Paderborn
Frankfurt host Paderborn in this dead rubber with just pride left at stake. The hosts are mid-table having lost just two of their last eight and will aim to finish on a high against the bottom club. They have shown with victory in Wolfsburg and a great battle in the cup against Bayern that they could be dark horses next season and should have far too much firepower for Paderborn.
The visitors are looking to avoid four straight defeats and have conceded fourteen goals during their last three home matches. However, they have fared better on the road with a single loss and three draws to their credit. They remain the section’s lowest scorers despite scoring in four of their last five.
Frankfurt will be the cornerstone of many accumulators this week but, in the quest for value, we hope Paderborn can at least score again to give us better odds.
Schalke +1 handicap
Freiburg v Schalke
This is another match with nothing but pride to play for and gives Schalke a final opportunity to end their 15 game run without a Bundesliga victory. They were battered 4-1 at home to Wolfsburg last week, although they extended their scoring run to four games at least.
Freiburg gave it a fine effort in trying to gate crash the top six party but found the trip to Bayern a step too far, but can be pleased with a good season overall. They have been competitive and made the bigger clubs sit up and take note, beating Gladbach and drawing with Leipzig recently. On all known form, there can only be one outcome but could this be the day Schalke finally have their moment with the hosts perhaps a little deflated after finally dropping out of the top six race? Patience is a virtue so let’s hope Schalke can break that duck in the last chance saloon.