MARK O’HAIRE’S (@MarkOHaire) looking a hat-trick of European NAP winners following Bastia’s success last weekend. He’s off to the Bundesliga next…
Borussia Dortmund v Hannover | Saturday 14.30
Saturday afternoon’s meeting between Dortmund and Hannover brings two record-breaking clubs together at opposite ends of the table.
For Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel’s troops have men are the proud owners of the best second-placed side in the history of the Bundesliga after 20 games. But unluckily for BVB, their 45-point tally is still eight points worse off than Bayern Munich.
Nevertheless, the Black & Yellows have accumulated 25 points from their opening nine home games this term (W8-D1-L0) and an expected victory would see the hosts set a new benchmark.
Dating back to last season, Dortmund have actually W12-D1-L0 when hosting Bundesliga action, scoring at least twice in each outing – not since 1980/81 have they enjoyed a better return. Of those 12 triumphs, 10 arrived by a margin of at least two goals with six recorded alongside a clean sheet.
Being a force at the Westfalenstadion is nothing new for the Black & Yellows, mind, especially when taking on the Bundesliga’s bottom-half. Dating back to 2010/11, Dortmund have W35-D9-L6 when welcoming sides in 10th and below – 28 triumphs by arriving at least a two-goal margin.
Indeed, BVB have beaten each of their last seven bottom-six visitors, all by margins of two goals or better and five by three or more goals. The hosts have also seen off Hannover in nine of their last 12 head-to-heads (W9-D1-L2).
I’d be staggered if Tuchel’s troops failed to record maximum points here and I’m counting on a convincing victory. But finding decent value in such a one-sided encounter is tough. But Paddy Power’s even-money offer on Dortmund to Win Both Halves seems more than fair.
Only once in Hannover’s history have they been in a worse position in the top-flight, way back in 1972. With twelve of the previous 15 sides to take just 14 points from their first 20 games relegated, the chances of the 96ers surviving appear slim.
Hannover are traditionally one of the league’s worst travellers, especially when they visit the division’s leading lights. Looking at results since the beginning of 2010/11, the Red Shorts have lost 36/47 (77%) of matches at top-eight teams with 26 losses by at least a two-goal margin. It’s ugly.
The visitors are on a six-match losing streak, have been beaten in eight of their last nine and their nine points accrued on their travels is amongst the worst in the division. The 96ers have trailed at half-time in eight of their last 10 at top-six teams and suffered L-L double results in 13/20 against the same sample of opposition.
In the past two campaigns, Hannover have lost seven of eight trips to top-four finishers, with all those defeats coming to nil and six by more than one goal. They’ve managed to score just once in their last five and Thomas Schaaf’s also likely to be without injured forward Adam Szalai and Hugo Almeida as well as Hiroshi Kiyotake and Leon Andreasen.
The 96ers have been downed in 11 of the previous 15 matches that Kiyotake has missed and their road record without the playmaker is pretty dreadful – W0-D2-L6. The tape doesn’t look much better without the influential Andreasen – in 25 games he’s been absent for, Hannover have W1-D9-L15.
This could be a cricket score.
Borussia Dortmund v Hannover – Borussia Dortmund to win both halves (1/1 Paddy Power)
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