MARK O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) scanned the Bundesliga coupon this weekend looking for winners. He’s plumped for these three gems in the German top-flight.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke | Saturday 14.30
Here we go again. That bollocks ‘no live football at 3pm on a Saturday’ rule will again stop UK fans from seeing Germany’s biggest derby match this weekend. It’s a huge shame but I’d urge anyone sad enough like myself without any plans on Saturday (hey, QPR aren’t playing, OK?) to get on the Bet365 stream and enjoy the drama of the Revierderby.
There’ll be fireworks but thankfully no bombs. An unexploded Second World War bomb was discovered close to Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park ground on Thursday. Authorities defused the device safely so the game between these two fierce rivals can go ahead and it’s hard not to exaggerate the significance of the occasion.
Three consecutive Bundesliga wins have eased relegation fears amongst the Dortmund camp and had many dreaming of a top-four challenge now. The Black & Yellows are 10 points adrift of the final Champions League places with (you guessed it) Schalke filling the position going into this game. Should Jurgen Klopp’s hosts come away with three points at 16.30 on Saturday, I think we’ll all start to believe it’s possible.
The buoyant mood in the BVB camp was dampened in midweek, mind. A 2-1 defeat at Juventus was expected by the bookmakers but I fancied Klopp’s charges to get something from that game. They played in fits and starts but their old defensive problems returned to haunt as they gave away two relatively soft goals. And it’s those errors at the back that has put Dortmund in this desperate position.
The Black & Yellows are gifting their opposition far too many opportunities and with just four clean sheets in 22 league outings this term, BVB are needing to net at least twice in fixtures, just to have a chance of winning. That’s not an ideal position to be in when taking on a determined and resilient Schalke outfit.
The Royal Blues let third-place slip after taking just a point from their previous two games against Frankfurt and Werder Bremen (a stoppage-time equaliser from Bremen last week denied them all three points). The Miners remain a bit of a bore for neutrals but Roberto Di Matteo has carved out a difficult to beat side and that’s reflected in just two losses from their last 11 league matches.
And Saturday’s visitors hold the upper hand in recent showdowns. In fact, in six of Schalke’s last seven trips to Signal Iduna Park they’ve avoided defeat and Di Matteo’s men look good value at 16/19 with a +1.25 start on the Asian Handicap line thanks to BetVictor.
Backing this selection means, we’ll have ourselves a winner should Schalke come away with at least a point but also bag half of that potential pay-out should the visitors only lose by a single goal. So yes, we’re making money even if they lose by a solitary goal.
The Royal Blues have suffered a Bundesliga defeat by two goals or more just once since August with Dortmund securing a Bundesliga victory by the same margin once since September. And head-to-head? Dortmund have beaten their bitter Ruhr rivals by two goals or more twice on home soil since 1998!
Hoffenheim v Mainz | Saturday 14.30
Hoffenheim looks to be the best venue for goals this weekend for their meeting with Mainz. Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score can be snapped up at 10/11 with Bet365 and looks the most sensible selection.
I suggested this selection for Hoff’s visit to Freiburg last weekend and despite Eugen Polanski hitting a post and Anthony Modeste going close, Markus Gisdol’s team were unable to add a second and the game ended 1-1. Kevin Volland scored a first-half rocket in that fixture and Hoffenheim supporters will be hoping the German U21 skipper can kick-on after an underwhelming first half of the season.
We’re looking for goals at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena so it’s encouraging to see that Gisdol’s men have seen at least three goals in 10 of their last 13 matches with 7/11 (64%) on home soil banking in the Over 2.5 Goals column. The hosts have also netted at least twice in 7/11 (64%) home fixtures but one clean sheet since October and just two shutouts in front of their home fans have led to 8/11 (73%) BTTS winners.
Mainz, now under the stewardship of Martin Schmidt, warmed up for this meeting with a 3-1 victory against rivals Frankfurt. It was an encouraging start for the former U23 coach with Johannes Geis netting a cheeky free-kick and Yunus Mallı finishing with aplomb to round off a richly-deserved three points.
But the O-Fives will need to continue their positive start under Schmidt as they remain just three points ahead of 16th (the relegation play-off place). I’m sure the visitors will fancy their chances as they make the hour-long journey south and that should hopefully lead us to another open and exciting Bundesliga clash.
Seven of Mainz’s 12 road trips have already broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier and the same number have also featured Both Teams To Score winners. The visitors have found the net in eight of their away days and I’d fancy them to add to that tally on Saturday.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Paderborn | Sunday 14.30 | ESPN
You’re backing Gladbach this Sunday? Yes. You know they haven’t won in nine games post-Europa League action, right? Yes, I Do. So are you mad? No, they’re playing Paderborn…
It’s true that trend is a little off-putting but I’ve plenty of faith in Gladbach getting the job done. Last weekend a late Branimir Hrgota header gave Lucien Favre’s men a point at Hamburg. They did look a little leggy and lethargic but improved after going a goal down and the stoppage-time leveller gave the visitors a fair point.
However, on Thursday night the Foals exited the Europa League following a rare home defeat. Defending champions Sevilla put the continental light out on Gladbach (no shame there) and the fixture computer has given the hosts a great chance to bounce back on Sunday at Borussia Park.
Much has been made of Gladbach’s misfiring attack. They’ve scored two or more goals just twice since early November but they’re grinding out points thanks to a watertight defence. Three clean sheets in five during the Ruckrund has led to 10 points from a possible 15 and the Champions League qualification dream is alive and well; Favre’s charges are sitting comfortably in third place.
So despite those post-Europa League blues and their lack of goals, I’m still jumping all over the odds-against quotes on Gladbach -1 in the Asian Handicap market (20/19 BetVictor). They’ve bagged 7/11 (64%) wins on home soil this season and that record extends to a stunning 40/68 (59%) of victories at Borussia Park under Favre’s watch.
The Foals’ outstanding defensive record should stand them in good stead for the visit of a Paderborn side that’s fallen to pieces after a fairtytale start to the season. Andre Breitenreiter's men have leaked a league-high 15 goals since the winter break but also netted a league-low of one goal over the same timeframe.
Last time out SCP were unsurprisingly taken apart by the Bayern Munich juggernaut 6-0 in their own backyard; they’ve won once in 12, scoring just seven goals and appear to be plummeting towards relegation. A trip to Gladbach isn’t the ideal destination when scrapping for points and I fear another comfortable win for their opponents will send the newcomers another step closer to the drop.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – Schalke +1.25 Asian Handicap (16/19 BetVictor)
Hoffenheim v Mainz – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (10/11 Bet365)
Borussia Monchengladbach v Paderborn – Borussia Monchengladbach -1 Asian Handicap (20/19 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? Is Mark right to expect a comfortable Gladbach win?
We’d love to hear so let us know in the comments box below!