TWO winners from three on last weekend’s Bundesliga column for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire). He’s outlined three more opportunities to profit from the German top tier this weekend below…
Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt | Saturday 14.30
With Bayern Munich sauntering to another routine Bundesliga title, the race for honours at the top of the table looks done and dusted. However, the battle for European qualification places and Bundesliga survival appear to be going the distance as we enter the final third of the season.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s three successive home victories have propelled the Eagles into European contention and this weekend Thomas Schaaf’s team have the opportunity to record back-to-back wins for the third time this season as they visit struggling Stuttgart.
Last weekend Frankfurt swatted aside Paderborn 4-0 with Alex Meier again the architect in attack but Nelson Valdez made his long-awaited Bundesliga return from a cruciate ligament injury to round off the scoring with a beautiful chipped effort. Centre-half Marco Russ is out but Schaaf’s men will travel in confident mood.
BetVictor have made chalked Eintracht up at 23/20 in the Draw No Bet market and that’s certainly of interest. Sure, the Eagles have only won twice on the road but they’ll be licking their lips at facing a Swabian side that’s lost 8/12 (67%) of their home fixtures at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, failing to even score in nine of those matches.
Stuttgart boss Huub Stevens has even asked the press for answers regarding his side’s slide towards relegation and the Reds’ inability to score goals and horrendous excuses for defending have been their downfall. The Dutch coach should have been dismissed following last weekend’s harrowing loss to Leverkusen that featured some of the most comical examples of defending you’ll ever see.
In the past 16 Bundesliga seasons the team with the worst home record has been relegated and the Swabians are currently enduring their worst ever season in Germany’s top-flight. The hosts have D4-L5 in their last nine and come up against a Frankfurt side full of goals, averaging almost two goals-per-game.
I’m well aware Eintracht are pretty hopeless defensively but if this game becomes a shootout, I know who I’d want to be alongside. Stuttgart are scheiße right now, they’re going down and I’ve just to go oppose them.
Paderborn v Hoffenheim | Saturday 14.30
Two more teams in similar positions face-off as Hoffenheim visit Paderborn hoping to enhance their European prospects and push the newcomers a step closer to relegation. Like Frankfurt, Hoffenheim can only boast two wins on the road this term but at 21/20 (Betfred), should be backed to put another nail in Paderborn’s coffin.
André Breitenreiter’s scrappers have won just once in 15 games and scored a solitary goal in their last nine. The coach admitted after last weekend’s heavy defeat at Frankfurt that their performance was worthy of a relegation candidate and the former German U21 boss looks unable to turn the sinking ship around.
It’s four defeats on the spin, nine losses in those aforementioned 15 fixtures with their previous three matches at the Benteler Arena ending in defeats by at least a three-goal margin. The hosts have scored just twice since the winter break and conceded seven more goals than any other side in the Rückrunde. It sure ain’t pretty.
Hoffenheim showed their class when despatching Hamburg comfortably on home soil last time out. Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino were both on song in that victory and should either of the two standout Hoffe stars turn up, then Paderborn could be facing another heavy defeat.
Markus Gisdol’s charges have taken 10 points from a possible 15 in recent weeks and although they’ve not recorded back-to-back Bundesliga wins since March 2014 and won just once in 10 away league fixtures, they should outclass their hosts and close that gap on the European qualifying places.
Bayern Munich v Borussia Monchengladbach | Sunday 16.30 | BT Sport 1
Bayern Munich are going to win the Bundesliga, that’s fact. Pep Guardiola will tell us otherwise but quite frankly, well all know they will and it’s the worst kept secret since H from Steps denied his sexuality back in the day.
The Bavarian giants didn’t get going at Werder Bremen last weekend but still managed to leave the Weserstadion with a 4-0 win in their back pocket. The result was a little harsh on Bremen but Bayern showed their clinical side with two absolute peaches; Thomas Muller curled a in a beauty to give FC Hollywood the lead before David Alaba all but ended the contest minutes later with a sumptuous free-kick.
Pep’s men have been in imperious form at the Allianz Arena this season, recording victories in 15 of their last 16 competitive outings in Munich. Would I bet against them on Sunday? Certainly not. But I do believe Gladbach have the tools to give the Champions League quarter-finalists a tough run for their money.
Sitting third in the table, never before have the Foals collected more points in their first eight games after the winter break (W5-D2-L1) and Lucien Favre’s visitors make the journey boasting the second best Bundesliga defence, behind Bayern.
Veteran Martin Stranzl holds together a close knit defence that’s happy to soak up opposition pressure before winning the ball back and springing sharply on the counter. Patrick Herrmann’s been the chief goal-getter in 2015 and the likes of Max Kruse, Rafael and Granit Xhaka will need to step up for this encounter but all three possess the craft and guile to cause their illustrious hosts problems.
But the bet here is to back Gladback with a +2.25 start on the Asian Handicap at 7/9 with 888 Sport. With this selection, our stake is split across two bets – Gladbach +2 and Gladbach +2.25. If Gladback lose by a solitary goal (or draw/win), we’re quids in. if Gladbach lose by two goals exactly, we get half our stake back (the Gladback +2 part) but also win half (from Gladbach +2.25). This means, the only way in which we’ll not make money is if Gladbach lose by three goals or more.
Bayern might have netted 34 goals in their last eight games but this Foals’ team are a hardy bunch under Favre. They’ve not yet lost by a margin of two goals or more this season and in the 69 away Bundesliga games under Favre’s charge, Gladbach have been beaten by three goals or more just twice – both in the 2012/13 season!