BUNDESLIGA expert Lucas Swain (@BundesligaLucas) returns for another dose of best bets from Germany’s top tier.
Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim | Saturday 14.30
This match will be heavily watched in South America this weekend after Roberto Firmino announced himself on the international stage recently with a thunderous strike against Austria to seal a win for the Seleção.
Firmino’s talents are no secret to your everyday Bundesliga watcher, the rumours linking him with Atletico Madrid last summer displays just that, but it won’t be long before Europe’s elite clubs steal the flamboyant Brazilian from the clutches of Sinsheim.
However, what makes this game of interest from the bettors point of view is Bayern Munich’s incredibly lengthy injury list: Thiago, Philip Lahm, Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba, Claudio Pizarro, Pepe Reina, Tom Starke, Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng all have an injury of some kind, although Neuer and Boateng’s injury withdrawal from the Spain match last weekend may just be precautionary.
Nonetheless, this is still a big hurdle for Bayern to deal with. Lahm and Alaba are integral to not only the success of Bayern Munich, but also how Pep Guardiola likes to set-up his side. Lahm is irreplaceable, and Alaba is arguably the best left-back in the world – this presents a fantastic opportunity for Hoffenheim.
This season Hoffenheim managed to eliminate the horrendous defending which seen them ship 70 goals in the previous campaign, although of late they seemed to have gone back to their old ways. The recent result against Cologne (4-3 loss) and 3-1 loss to Monchengladbach will act as warning beacons for Hoffenheim as they strive to rekindle the defensive solidarity they found at the start of the season.
Because of the aforementioned recent results, bookmakers have Hoffenheim on the Asian handicap line of +2.25, which I believe it too high at 41/40 with Bet365. I struggle to see where Bayern Munich win this game by 3 with all their injuries. They may not have any offensive injuries of note, but Hoffeneheim are a team who are capable of scoring (currently joint third highest in the league), so I think the +2.25 is a good bet.
Hamburg SV v Werder Bremen | Sunday 14.30 | ESPN
In my previous column I wrote about how poor Hamburg have been in front of goal – they’ve only managed four goals in 11 games. With a record like that, you’d be forgiven for thinking they forget to field a striker each week.
Bremen, meanwhile, have been quite reliant on the once-Wigan striker Franco Di Santo, who currently tops the Bundesliga scoring charts (I never thought I’d read that sentence either). His efforts in front of goal currently see him share the top birth with Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Alex Meier and Shinji Okazaki.
However, Bremen were on the receiving end of some unfortunate news this week as Di Santo will be unavailable for their match-up against Hamburg. Having being accountable for almost half of Bremen’s goals this season, it’s clear they’re going to struggle without him.
Because of this, I believe that under 2.5 goals is a great bet, and to my surprise it’s priced around evens (Bet365). If you wish to play it safer, which I don’t believe is entirely necessary, then I recommend taking the under 2.5,3 goal line at circa 4/5.