BUNDESLIGA fanatic Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) picks his favourite bets from Germany’s top-flight this weekend.
Bayer Leverkusen v Hannover | Saturday 14.30
Bayer Leverkusen look to have secured their place in the Bundesliga’s top-four following six successive victories but now Roger Schmidt’s side are looking to overhaul Gladbach in third. Finishing in the top-three guarantees a route into the Champions League group-phase (avoiding the qualification round) and Die Werkself are hopeful they can continue their winning streak on Saturday.
Schmidt’s charges welcome struggling Hannover to the BayArena looking to extend their excellent recent run which also saw Bayer keep five consecutive clean sheets and fly into a 3-0 lead at Mainz last weekend. Two late penalties took the gloss of what was another extremely polished display from Leverkusen.
When hosting teams below them in the Bundesliga table, Die Werkself have recorded W7-D5-L0 and 888 Sport’s offering of 13/12 for Leverkusen -1.5 in the Asian Handicap holds plenty of appeal. Four of their five victories at the BayArena against bottom-half clubs have come by a margin of two goals or more and a repeat on Saturday is all we require to secure a winning bet.
Hannover are winless in 2015 with boss Tayfun Korkut coming under increasing pressure. Die Rotten had the better of a poor match at home to Hertha last weekend but failed to finish the few opportunities they created. Having eventually found the net with 15 minutes to play, the capital club pegged Hannover back with a late equaliser to leave the club teetering above the drop zone.
The visitors have lost exactly half of their Bundesliga road trips this term and returned W0-D5-L6 figures in 2015. Seven of their 13 defeats overall this season have been by two goals or more, including all six matches against the league’s top-four teams.
And if you’re into your head-to-head stats, it’s worth noting that the Lower Saxony visitors have lost their last seven trips to the Rhineland to face Bayer, netting just one goal in those seven defeats. Back Leverkusen to win by a margin of two goals or more on Saturday afternoon.
Werder Bremen v Hamburg | Sunday 14.30 | ESPN
Another side with relegation concerns is Hamburg. Die Rothosen, nicknamed the Dinosaur as they’ve never dropped out of Germany’s top-flight, sit rock bottom of the table after another feeble performance when going down 2-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Their high-flying opponents barely needed to lift a finger as Hamburg imploded with a fourth consecutive loss.
The performance was enough for the board of directors to ditch interim boss Peter Knabel and hire Bruno Labbadia as a last resort. Labbadia will be the Dinosaur’s fourth head coach this season and faces a huge task if he’s to arrest an alarming away record this weekend.
Hamburg have lost 9/14 (64%) of away fixtures, failing to score in 10 of those games and D1-L7 against teams in eighth and above. It doesn’t end there. The visitors have tasted victory just twice in 25 road trips, lost 18/23 on their travels, lost 11 of their last 12 visits to top-half teams and been beaten by two goals or more in eight of those outings.
Want more? Sure. Their 25 points tally after 28 games is their second-worst record at this stage of a Bundesliga season (one better than last year’s effort) and their pathetic tally of 16 goals is comfortably the worst in the top tier.
To make matters worse, Johan Djourou will be suspended after his needless sending off last weekend. And without the Swiss centre-half, Die Rothosen have lost 12 of their 15 games since the start of last season; a shocking record!
On Sunday, Hamburg travel to bitter rivals and ninth-placed Werder Bremen. Die Werderaner suffered a stoppage-time defeat at Stuttgart last time out but have W6-D2-L2 under Viktor Skrypnyk at their Weserstadion base. The two losses came against the league’s top two teams – Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich.
Bremen have W4-D3-L1 when welcoming teams below them in the table and I fancy Skrypnyk’s side to pile more misery on a shambolic Hamburg side that appear destined to drop out of the Bundesliga. I’ll back Werder Bremen at 21/20 with BetVictor.
The hosts have won their last four home Nord Derby’s against Hamburg, have top scorer Franco Di Santo fit and key defender Sebastian Prodl back from suspension and should be able to arrest their only four-game winless run with three points against the self-destructing Dinosaur.
Bayer Leverkusen v Hannover – Bayer Leverkusen -1.5 Asian Handicap (13/12 888 Sport)
Werder Bremen v Hamburg – Werder Bremen to win (21/20 BetVictor)
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