WE’VE a full round of midweek Bundesliga action to enjoy and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) attempts to steer us in the right direction on Tuesday.
Ingolstadt v Koln | Tuesday 19.00 | BT Sport 2
For stats enthusiasts like myself, Ingolstadt’s debut Bundesliga season is incredibly hard to work out.
Die Schanzer have scored just 17 goals in 23 games (W8-D6-L9) yet have accumulated 30 points – that’s 1.76 points-per-goal – it’s truly remarkable.
Of the 17 goals Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men have scored, 11 have arrived from set-pieces, including five penalties. So here we are in March and we’re talking about a Bundesliga club with five goals from open play in 23 matches managing to win 8/23 (35%) and sit only six points off the Champions League qualifying positions.
How have they done it? Well, bar being ridiculously effective from dead-ball situations, Ingolstadt have kept eight clean sheets and shipped more than two goals in only five of their fixtures. The watertight backline marshalled by superb centre-half and skipper Marvin Matip has been their grounding alongside an aggressive pressing game.
Only fellow newly-promoted club Darmstadt have enjoyed lesser time in possession and played fewer short passes per-game than Die Schanzer. And no German top-flight club are playing more long balls per-match than Tuesday night’s hosts. It’s a simple, highly-tuned game plan that’s not exactly making them friends at home.
Hasenhüttl’s troops ended a winless run of eight on the road – failing to even score in five – when they downed Hamburg on Saturday to re-establish themselves in the top-half of the standings. But HSV described them as “disgusting” and compared the debutants to an American Football team.
Coming into this contest against Koln, Ingolstadt are chasing a fourth straight home league success but I’ve no interest in 6/4 quotes with the above trends screaming ‘avoid’ and ‘oppose’. So I shall get with Koln who are offered at 8/11 (Matchbook) with a +0.25 Asian Handicap start.
The visitors have only gained five points from six games since the winter break (W1-D2-L3) to slide into the bottom-half but the Billy Goats weren’t far off claiming a point in the derby at Gladbach and did hold Wolfsburg and Hamburg on the road during that spell.
Peter Stöger’s side successfully switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation in recent weeks and the defensively-minded team tend to rely on their solid foundations, preferring to play on the counter.
There is an overreliance on Anthony Modeste producing the goods up top – the French hitman has directly contributed to 14 of their 24 league goals – and their failure to record a clean sheet in their last nine is countered by the fact they’ve only conceded more than one goal in a game on four occasions.
Koln have only lost 4/11 (36%) of their away days this term and three of those have come against the top-four, with their most recent eight bringing about just two defeats. Only Stuttgart and Bayern are averaging more on-target efforts as guests so I fancy their chance of getting something here.
With the +0.25 Asian Handicap start, we’ll make money should Koln avoid defeat. We’ll bag a full-stakes win should the Billy Goats bag maximum points and a half-stakes win should the fixture end all-square – the only way in which we’ll lose is if Ingolstadt continue to defy the stats and pocket only a second success in seven against sides in 12th and above.
Elsewhere, you can’t go wrong taking the 8/11 (Stan James) on Under 2.5 Goals and Both Teams Not To Score.
Ingolstadt have failed to beat the two-goal line in eight of their 10 home fixtures, in eight of their last nine as well as 83% of all their Bundesliga matches. It’s been a similar story for Koln in 11 of their last 16 away days and 61% of all their fixtures this season, including four of their last five.
Collectively, only 18/46 (39%) of the two teams’ games this season have seen both teams score but drilling down into home/away records returns just 9/22 collective BTTS winners (41%).
Odds of 8/11 suggest a 58% chance of this goals-based bet banking and that gives us a nice slice of value to go alongside the Koln play.
Ingolstadt V Koln – Koln +0.25 Asian Handicap (8/11 Matchbook)
Ingolstadt V Koln – Under 2.5 Goals and Both Teams Not To Score (8/11 Stan James)
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