BUNDESLIGA fanatic Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his favourite fancies from the weekend action in Germany.
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt | Sunday 16.30 | BT Sport 2
Only once in Dortmund’s illustrious history have they managed more points than their current 35-point tally after 15 games – it was their title-winning campaign in 2010/11. And the nine-point gap they’ve created over third is a top-flight record as BVB bid to hang onto Bayern’s coattails.
Last weekend’s dramatic late win at Wolfsburg, coupled with Bayern’s loss at Gladbach, has reduced the deficit at the top to five points and the Black & Yellows have an outstanding chance to pick up another three on Sunday afternoon.
Since their 5-1 slaughtering at Bayern, Thomas Tuchel’s troops have collected 18 points from their seven Bundesliga games – more than any other side in that timeframe. Their 20 goals in this run is also a league high.
BVB are the only side to score in every league game this season and only the Dortmund side of 1963/64 had notched more than their current total of 42 from 15 fixtures. The hosts have been absolutely rampant and we should expect nothing less from them again on Sunday.
The Black & Yellows have W10-D1-L0 in their last 11 as Bundesliga hosts and we can ignore their midweek loss to PAOK in the Europa League as Tuchel chose to rest and rotate his squad with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and top scorer Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang just two of the names left out.
Instead, take advantage of BetVictor’s 5/7 that Dortmund overcome a -2 Asian Handicap. With this selection, we’ll get our cash back should BVB win by exactly two goals but be in profit should they win by three or more goals. The only way in which we’ll end up out of pocket is if Dortmund win by one goal, draw or lose.
Since Tuchel arrived, Dortmund have won four of their seven Signal Iduna Park matches by three or more goals and they’ve scored at least twice in each of their last 11 at HQ. Visitors Frankfurt have suffered defeats in 10 of their past 15 road trips with five of their last nine at top-six clubs ending in losses by two or more goals.
To make maters worse, Eintracht hold a disastrous head-to-head record against Sunday’s hosts (W1-D4-L14) in Dortmund and haven’t scored in three-and-a-half games in BVB’s backyard.
The Eagles have lost their last three and won just once in 12 (W1-D4-L7). Armin Veh's side failed to score in eight of their last 12 away and were beaten in the derby at home to Darmstadt last time out.
Compounding their woes, Veh is without three key players through suspension (centre-halves Marco Russ and Carlos Zambrano plus attacking midfielder Marc Stendera) whilst Luc Castaignos remains injured with defender David Abraham struggling for full fitness.
Frankfurt have won just two of 16 matches that Russ has missed since the start of last season while the last match Zambrano missed resulted in a 5-1 defeat at home. This could get messy.
Bayern Munich v Ingolstadt | Saturday 14.30
A penny for Pep Guardiola’s thoughts last Saturday night. The canny Catalan saw his Bayern Munich side lose their unbeaten status this season and at the same time lost their first pre-winter-break fixture under his tutelage.
Losing is one thing, but the way in which the Bavarians were beaten resonated throughout the Bundesliga. FC Hollywood were simply blown away in the second-half in Gladbach with players deviating from the plan and chasing the game like headless chickens.
When Bayern lose, it’s headline news. When Bayern lose like this, questions are posed.
Still, the all-conquering Bavarians are back at the Allianz Arena on Saturday and determined to put those wrongs right. A midweek 2-0 Champions League win at Dinamo Zagreb was routine but this weekend we’re expecting a strong message to be sent out to their domestic rivals.
Since Pep was given the gig in Munich, Bayern have W67-D8-L8 – that’s a win percentage of 81% and loss-rate of just 10%. And when they line-up at the Allianz Arena, that record extends to W37-D2-L3 – a win percentage of 88% and a loss-rate of just 7%. Just mind-blowing figures.
Their lead at the top of the table has been reduced to five points but victory this weekend will guarantee them top spot for Christmas for the fifth consecutive campaign – a feat never achieved before in Bundesliga history – and with a W8-D0-L0 return from their home fixtures thus far this term (aggregate 30-3), you don’t need to be a genius to count on them continuing their stunning streak.
FCB have actually won all 13 of their home outings in all competitions this term, scoring at least twice in each (3.8 goals-per-game average). Never before under Pep have they managed 14 wins on the spin and they’ve also come out on top in each of their last 22 when taking on newly-promoted sides (aggregate 75-10).
Naturally, I’m finding a pro-Bayern bet to pursue and the 3/4 (Betway) on the hosts to win both halves looks the best option on the card. Bayern have wasted 40 clear-cut chances this Bundesliga season – more than almost all other clubs have even created (excluding Dortmund) and with wrongs to right, they should be at their menacing best.
The Bavarians have scored have been ahead at both half-time and full-time in seven of their last nine Allianz Arena dates in league football and are coming up against the league’s worst attack.
Ingolstadt may sit fourth in the away table but their goals are counting for 2.40 points-per-game – an unsustainable stat. Indeed, FCI are winless in five on the road, scoring just twice and were hammered 4-0 at Hannover in their last away trip.
Injuries and suspensions have robbed the minnows of highly-rated full-back Markus Suttner and midfield marauder Alfredo Morales whilst Moritz Hartmann and Benjamin Hubner are rated major doubts. The combative travellers don’t have a deep squad and are unlikely to be cope without such key absences.
Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Monchengladbach | Saturday 17.30 | BT Sport 1
Borussia Monchengladbach deservedly became the first time to beat Bayern Munich before the winter break in the Pep Guardiola era.
The Foals were worthy winners with Andre Schubert’s men rewarded for their courage and application as the head coach switched to a 3-5-2 system to take on the defending champions headfirst. It was the first time in nearly five years that Gladbach had lined up in that formation but you’d never have known.
It’s been a sensational start to life under Schubert’s watch with Saturday’s visitors to Leverkusen now unbeaten in 10 league fixtures under the head coach (W8-D2-L0) – no side has picked up as many points or scored as many goals (29) across those 10 fixtures.
And should the Foals pick up maximum points at Leverkusen this weekend, Schubert will become only the third Bundesliga boss to claim 29 points from his first 11 games in charge – the feat was previously managed by Pep Guardiola and Klaus Toppmöller. Impressive, eh?
Gladbach were beaten 4-2 at Manchester City on Tuesday but Andre Schubert’s troops put in another excellent display and deservedly took plenty of plaudits. They’ll relish their return to domestic duties with the added distraction of continental competition now brushed aside.
Raffael been rejuvenated – playing a role in 14 of the goals under his new boss – and I’d expect the guests to give Bayer a serious test on Saturday. With Leverkusen leaking 20 goals across their last 11 and being hugely reliant upon Javier Hernandez’s goals (nine in 11), we just have to oppose the hosts.
Roger Schmidt will take charge of his 50th Bundesliga match this weekend but after midweek Champions League disappointment, questions are beginning to be asked about the progress made under Leverkusen chief.
Die Werkself impressed many last season in their debut campaign under Schmidt despite finishing fourth. But their 2015/16 efforts are falling below expectations and bordering on the line of unacceptability.
A victory over a vastly understrength Barcelona side in midweek would have secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League but Bayer could only manage a 1-1 draw. It’s now just one win in eight for Leverkusen.
Not since 2006 have the hosts picked up fewer points at this stage of the season and their 19-goal tally is the lowest it’s been after 15 games since 1991. The home side have lost each of their last five against top-five rivals and although they’ve lost just three in 28 at the BayArena in Bundesliga action, they’re just far too vulnerable to consider at almost even-money quotes.
Wendell’s return at left-back bolsters their attacking options but with midfield screen Lars Bender still absent, a Gladbach side that’s notched at least three goals in each of their last four on the road on domestic duty should have plenty of joy.
With that in mind, snapping up the 19/20 (Bet365) on the Foals with a +0.50 Asian Handicap start looks just the ticket on Sunday evening. We’ll be paid out if the visitors continue their unbeaten Bundesliga streak under Schubert.
Bayern Munich v Ingolstadt – Bayern Munich to win both halves (3/4 Betway)
Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Monchengladbach – Borussia Monchengladbach +0.50 Asian Handicap (19/20 Bet365)
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt – Borussia Dortmund -2 Asian Handicap (5/7 BetVictor)
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