THE BUNDESLIGA is back this weekend and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has marked our card with these three enticing selections.
Bayer Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt | Saturday 14.30
Bayern Munich have won 17 of their last 18 games at the Allianz Arena and shouldn’t have too many problems enhancing that record on Saturday afternoon when relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt pitch up.
The Bavarians have W9-D1-L0 in their last 10 home encounters with the Eagles, suffering just three home defeats in 44 Bundesliga battles in Munich. And FC Hollywood haven’t even conceded a goal in 667 minutes against SGE.
Bayern have shipped just 13 goals this season – equalling the record they first set three seasons ago – and Pep Guardiola’s men have recorded 17 clean sheets already in their 2015/16 league campaign.
With 13 successive triumphs in matches immediately following the international break – by an aggregate score of 45-6 – the Bavarian juggernaut show no sign of struggle despite their players jettisoning across the planet.
However, there are doubts over Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal’s involvement following long journeys to South America and with Arjen Robben still sidelined and a Champions League fixture with Benfica on the horizon, I’m not sure Pep will want his team going all-out on Saturday.
Robben’s missed 30 of the 61 Bayern Bundesliga matches since the start of last season due to injury and without the flying Dutchman, FC Hollywood have scored almost a whole goal-per-game less in his absence.
Indeed, Bayern have scored more than a solitary goal just once in their last four outings whilst three of their most recent 12 fixtures have featured more than three goals. And it’s a similar theme when inspecting their record against bottom-six scrappers.
The Bavarians have won all 17 of their Allianz Arena dates against the bottom-six since 2013/14 but nine of those encounters delivered Under 3.5 Goals and so rather than investing in the win ‘to nil’ at 8/11 (Paddy Power), take on the Bayern win and Under 3.5 Goals offer of 11/8 with Betfred.
Eintracht possess the division’s worst road record – collecting only nine points on their travels – and have been beaten in five of their last six games as guests.
The Eagles ended an eight-game winless run last time out against rock-bottom Hannover but head to Munich without top scoring talisman Alex Meier. In the 18 matches Meier has missed since the start of last season, Frankfurt have scored just 16 goals with only 3/18 breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier.
New head coach Niko Kovac – a double-winner with Bayern in the 90s – has overseen an energetic response from his new Eagles team – Eintracht have covered an average of 117.9km per-game under Kovac, a 6km increase on the previous 25-match average but the visitors remain limp on the road.
The visitors have been silenced in over seven of their 15 away dates, including three of their last four whilst just three of their last 17 trips to Bundesliga opposition have seen more than three goals scored, including just one of their last five at top-six teams.
Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen | Saturday 17.30 | BT Sport 1
Dortmund’s relentless pursuit of Bayern Munich should continue with a comfortable victory over struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday evening.
The Black & Yellows have picked up a club record 35 points from their 13 games at the Westfalenstadion this season (W11-D2-L0) and with nine of those 11 triumphs arriving by at least two clear goals, backing a repeat looks a sensible option.
BetVictor have been kind enough to dangle 3/4 in our direction on Dortmund clearing a -1.75 Asian Handicap and that looks just the ticket.
With this selection, we’ll pocket a half-stakes win should BVB bag a victory by two goals exactly, with a full-stakes profit made should Thomas Tuchel’s troops run out victorious by three or more goals. Putting it simply, we’ll make money if Dortmund win by two goals or more…
Never before in Dortmund’s history have they accrued as collected as many points (64) after 27 Bundesliga games as in 2015/16 and their tally of just three goals against across their first 10 fixtures in 2016 is also a Bundesliga record. It’s pretty damn impressive, right?
With the fearsome front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all set to start on Saturday evening, you’d expect relegation-haunted Werder to be put to the sword.
BVB have beaten Bremen in each of their last eight meetings at the Westfalenstadion and have also put away eight of their most recent nine bottom-six visitors by at least a two-goal margin.
The hosts have plundered at least two goals in 15 of their last 17 on home soil and should be capable of filling their boots against a Werder outfit that’s yet to keep a clean sheet in 30 top-flight fixtures and boasts the division’s leakiest backline, conceding 2.00 goals-per-game on average.
Viktor Skrypnyk’s charges have been destroyed 5-0 at Bayern Munich, 5-1 at Gladbach and 6-0 at Wolfsburg so another wide-margin defeat looks to be the most likely outcome with centre-half Papy Djilobodji suspended.
The River Islanders have lost five of their past eight on the road and eight of their 13 Bundesliga losses in 2015/16 have arrived by a margin of at least two clear goals and so another one-sided contest should be snapped up.
Hoffenheim v Koln | Sunday 16.30 | BT Sport Europe
What’s happening in Hoffenheim is quite remarkable.
On the 10th February, fire-fighter Huub Stevens resigned as manager of the Sinsheim club on health grounds – Hoffe were only off the bottom of the Bundesliga on goal difference and five points adrift of 16-placed Werder Bremen.
Dour Dutchman Stevens was only brought to the club in late October having replaced the axed Markus Gisdol. Under Gisdol, Hoffenheim favoured a handbrake off, gung-ho approach and unsurprisingly the goals used to flow. Under Stevens, TSG were dull as dishwater and sleepwalking their way to relegation.
Now Hoffenheim had hit the headlines earlier in the season when confirming that 28-year-old kid Julian Nagelsmann would take over the head coach’s role for the 2016/17 campaign. But Stevens’ sudden departure saw the youngster parachuted into the role early. Yes, he’s just 28!
But bloody hell, what an impact Nagelsmann’s made at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. Only Dortmund (19) and Bayern Munich (16) have claimed more points than Hoffenheim (13) since he’s been calling the shots and Hoffe have recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since March 2014.
Not since the start of 2010/11 have the Sinsheim side pocketed three wins on the spin but having led the club to a 100% return from his three previous Rhein-Neckar-Arena outings – TSG’s longest winning spree as hosts since 2008 – it’s hard not to like Nagelsmann’s troops repeating the feat on Sunday.
Before the winter break the hosts swept Hamburg aside 3-1 on the road with Kevin Volland unearthing his old form, Andrej Kramaric adding goals and guile to an adventurous attack with Mark Uth and Eduardo Vargas providing panache from the flanks.
Nagelsmann’s seven-match record since taking charge reads W4-D1-L2 and Hoffenheim are now only a point off 13th-placed Darmstadt. Their forward-thinking philosophy has led to a huge 93 shots-on-target in those seven matches so whilst I really like the look of Hoffenheim here, I’m going to play it safe.
Hoffe can be backed off a 0 start on the Asian Handicap line at 7/9 (BetVictor) and that’s an appealing price. Working in exactly the same way as a punt on the Draw No Bet market, we’ll get our cash back if the match is drawn.
TSG have only recorded one clean sheet in 11 and that, along with Koln’s penchant for draws – five in seven as guests – should add a bit of clout to my argument for playing a straight bat here.
Koln have W4-D4-L0 in their last eight games against Hoffenheim but unlike their hosts, the Billy Goats have toiled in 2016, picking up only nine points from a possible 30 – it’s the third-worst return this calendar year.
Peter Stöger’s side have been beaten once in eight away (W2-D5-L1) but head east on the back of four losses in six and don’t normally boast the tools to hack up in the goals markets so I just can’t resist a pro-Hoffenheim bet here to support the Nagelsmann revolution.
Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt – Bayern Munich to win and Under 3.5 Goals (11/8 Betfred)
Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen – Borussia Dortmund -1.75 Asian Handicap (3/4 BetVictor)
Hoffenheim v Koln – Hoffenheim 0 Asian Handicap (7/9 BetVictor)
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