MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) returns to the Bundesliga hot-seat to share his favourite bets from Germany’s top-flight this weekend.
FC Augsburg v Mainz | Saturday 14.30
Augsburg’s excellent home record shows no sign of letting up as last weekend the Fuggerstädter added Wolfsburg to their list of victims at the SGL Arena. Markus Weinzierl’s charges have now returned hugely impressive figures of W8-D2-L2 on their own patch and this weekend they’ll look to add Mainz to that growing list.
Heading into this weekend, Augsburg sit just one point outside the Champions League qualification places and I’m sure the hosts can keep their dream alive with another three points. The Bavarians have occupied the European places for the past 13 matchdays and they won’t be easily dislodged.
Only Bayern Munich and Dortmund have left the SGL Arena with maximum points this season and Weinzierl’s men have won all four home encounters against teams sitting in 11th and below, keeping clean sheets in three. So they’ll fancy their chances against a Mainz side looking over their shoulders in 13th.
Martin Schmidt’s the new man in charge at Mainz and in his first three Bundesliga outings the O-Fives boss has overseen a win, draw and defeat. They remain perched just four points off the drop-zone and will know they must improve on their meek return of just five wins in 24 to save their skin.
The visitors have collected just three points from a possible 24 on the road and that should spell trouble on Saturday. Mainz have improved under their former U23 coach and will be boosted by the return of several important players but an upturn in away form may just have to wait.
The hosts have been a little too reliant on set-pieces of late (six of their last seven goals have come from dead-ball situations and their tally of 14 goals from set-plays is the fourth highest in the league) but I believe there’s enough craft to suggest Augsburg are an excellent value shout at 42/41 with 888 Sport to overcome a -0.50 Asian Handicap.
This bet is almost identical to a play on the straight Match Odds but offers a slightly better price. So take Augsburg in the Asian Handicap to despatch Mainz at the SGL Arena on Saturday.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Paderborn | Saturday 14.30
Eintracht Frankfurt have recorded back-to-back home wins at the Commerzbank-Arena and they should make it a hat-trick of three-pointers when free-falling Paderborn arrive. Safely nestled in mid-table, Thomas Schaaf’s team can play without pressure and should look to implement their effective all-out attack on the strugglers.
The Eagles have only been out-scored by the Bundesliga’s top two and although they boast the league’s worst defensive record, lowly Paderborn make the journey having drawn blanks in seven of their last nine on the road and in seven of their previous eight home and away.
Paderborn’s slide shows no sign of stopping and last weekend’s 3-0 home defeat to Leverkusen means the Bundesliga debutants have now lost eight of their previous 14, winning once. And worryingly for coach André Breitenreiter, they’ve leaked 20 goals in their seven matches since returning for the winter break.
Frankfurt are unbeaten in six on home soil, picking up an impressive 14 points in that timeframe (4-D2-L0) and grabbing 15 goals. Veteran forward Alex Meier has been in the form of his life, leading the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with 18 following last week’s brace against Koln and I like the idea of taking a Frankfurt win and Meier Wincast at 15/8 with Paddy Power.
Should the Eagles bring their attacking powerplay to the fore on Saturday you can be certain the pony-tailed Meier will be involved. So snap up the Frankfurt poacher to net in a home victory at a tastier price than the straight home win or anytime goalscorer quotes.
Wolfsburg v Freiburg | Sunday 14.30 | ESPN
I’ve made no secret of my love affair with Wolfsburg in recent weeks. The Wolves have been absolutely sensational for the most part of the season and although they were edged out by Augsburg 1-0 last weekend, Dieter Hecking’s men responded in the best possible fashion, by putting Inter to bed in the first leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday.
Unlikely title aspirations are all but over following that league loss last time out but I’ve complete faith that Wolfsburg will return to winning form this weekend. Hecking’s hosts are defending a superb W13-D4-L0 record at the Volkswagen Arena and have shown no previous signs of a European hangover; in the fact, the Wolves have W7-D1-L0 in their previous eight Sunday games and W12-D5-L1 in their last 18 Sunday fixtures!
And the visit of lowly Freiburg should give the Lower Saxony side another opportunity to carve up on home soil. With Kevin De Bruyne playing (and I’m not understating this) football as good as any player on the planet, plus goal-hungry Bas Dost and record signing Andre Schurrle at their disposal, you can see exactly why this team has scored at least twice in 13 of their last 16 at the Volkswagen Arena and ran out victorious in 10 of those last 11.
Freiburg arrive on the back of successive 1-0 losses and have now failed to find the net in four of their 2015 outings. Sitting second from bottom in the Bundesliga, the Black Forest outfit have managed just four wins all season and been beaten in three of their last four on the road.
Christian Streich’s men will defend for their lives, put their bodies on the line and can be difficult to breakdown at the best of times, but I won’t be deterred in taking Wolfsburg -1.5 on the Asian Handicap line at 13/12 with BetVictor. Should the rampant Wolves win by two goals or more, we’ve got ourselves a winner.
Five of Wolfsburg’s 10 home victories and eight of their 15 league wins have been secured by a margin of two goals or more so a repeat should be well within their grasp on Sunday afternoon.
FC Augsburg v Mainz – Augsburg -0.5 Asian Handicap (42/41 888 Sport)
Eintracht Frankfurt v Paderborn – Eintracht Frankfurt/Alex Meier wincast (15/8 Paddy Power)
Wolfsburg v Freiburg – Wolfsburg -1.5 Asian Handicap (13/12 BetVictor)
*Remember, you can earn a bonus of up to 100% on your returns if you place accumulators on the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga or Bundesliga with Bet365. Place a pre-match accumulator of 3 or more selections combining teams in any of those competitions, and if successful Bet365 will add the a bonus to your returns.*
What's your best Bundesliga bet this weekend? Do you agree with Mark's praise of Kevin De Bruyne?
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