MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights four betting opportunities from this weekend’s Bundesliga action.
Hoffenheim v Stuttgart | Saturday 14.30
If there’s a game in Germany with goals this weekend, it has to be Hoffenheim. Both Hoffe and Stuttgart are experiencing their worst ever starts to a Bundesliga season but the hosts did manage to bag their first victory of 2015/16 last time out against Augsburg.
Still, Markus Gisdol’s men failed to record back-to-back league wins last season and would be third bottom looking at 2015 results alone. Visitors Stuttgart would be a point below them in the calendar year and their three-point haul from seven fixtures has left new head coach Alexander Zorniger a little baffled.
Never before have VFB leaked 17 goals at this stage of the season and they make the trip with centre-half Timo Baumgartl a major doubt. Christian Gentner and Serey Dié are also fighting to be fit whilst Filip Kostic is certainly ruled out. But it’s not all bad news as Stuttgart have been playing some cracking football this season.
Six defeats in seven doesn’t do Stuttgart justice. Zorniger’s side have created more clear-cut chances than any Bundesliga side other than Bayern Munich and they’ve already fired in 133 shots, allowing just 65. However, they’ve only scored nine and will be desperately keen to enhance that record this weekend.
Hoffenheim employ similarly high-pressing tactics but have conceded more shots than any other club this term so it’s unsurprising to see they’ve kept just the solitary clean sheet. Goals have been a mainstay of Gisdol’s reign and 11/12 fixtures when hosting bottom-six opposition have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, as have 30/40 (75%) of league games at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
The same 30 figure has proven profitable for Both Teams To Score backers and it’s a trend that’s similar when Stuttgart are on the road. Their previous eight away days have featured Over 2.5 Goals, as have 13/20 (65%) since the start of last season. In 41 respective home/away fixtures since the start of 2014/15, these two have kept just five clean sheets. I’ll back Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at 4/6 with Bet365.
Schalke v Koln | Sunday 14.30 | BT Sport ESPN
Schalke may not be hitting the headlines in England but the Royal Blues are quietly going about their business under new head coach Andre Breitenreiter. The former Paderborn boss has revived the sleeping giant and for now, they’re crisis free and on a run of six wins on the spin, including five ‘to nil’.
A Franco Di Santo hat-trick helped Schalke to disembowel Asteras Tripolis 4-0 in the Europa League on Thursday night and when looking at league form alone, the Gelsenkirchen club are enjoyed their second-best start to a new campaign since 1971. Their 16-point haul has included rock solid W2-D1-L0 form at the Veltins Arena, a constant throughout the past few seasons.
Go back to the beginning of 2013/14 and Schalke have recorded W24-D8-L5 when welcoming Bundesliga opposition and so I’m a little surprised Breitenreiter’s boys can be backed at 4/5 with William Hill on Sunday for the visit of Koln. Based purely on those aforementioned stats, the Royal Blues would be as short as 8/15.
True, Koln did the double over Schalke last season for the first time since 1986/87. The Billy Goats are also enjoying their best points return (11) after seven games for 19 years but Peter Stöger's side have done their best work on home soil an have been struggling on their travels.
Koln have W1-D3-L6 in their last 10 Bundesliga away days and that victory came at Stuttgart on the opening day when the Billy Goats were outplayed for large swathes. Since that success, Koln have been humbled 6-2 in Frankfurt and beaten 2-0 in Berlin. Normally so organised and tight defensively, Stöger's charges have kept just one clean sheet and appear to be missing the influence of now Spurs defender Kevin Wimmer.
Bayer Leverkusen v Augsburg | Sunday 16.30 | BT Sport Extra
Bayer Leverkusen were fantastic in midweek at Barcelona but somehow managed to come out on the end of a 2-1 defeat. Roger Schmidt’s all-action side pressed the Catalans high and attacked with pace and verve, looking dangerous in every attack. They’ll be smarting from that loss but buoyed by their excellent showing.
On Sunday they return to the BayArena to host Augsburg. Their Bavarian visitors surpassed all expectations in 2014/15 to finish fifth but Markus Weinzierl’s men are struggling to get going this term. With the added workload of Europa League football, Augsburg – beaten by Partizan Belgrade in their home continental bow on Thursday night – look easy meat for Die Werkself.
Since Schmidt arrived at Leverkusen, the hosts have won 12/20 (60%) of their home ties including eight of their last nine. Five of those victories were by more than one-goal and the hosts should have enough to beat the -1.5 Asian Handicap at 15/13 (BetVictor) against their weary visitors.
Weinzierl’s troops have suffered defeats in 30/54 (56%) of their away Bundesliga dates under his watch with exactly half of those reverses arriving by the two-goal margin or bigger. The travellers have matched their unwanted record for fewest points accrued after seven games of a top tier season, lost seven of their last nine and leaked at least three goals in four of their last five. Ouch
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund | Sunday 16.30 | BT Sport Europe
It’s a real Super Sunday of football this weekend with the Premier League’s offering competing alongside the Madrid derby, Le Classique as well as Der Klassiker from Germany. I’d go as far as saying, Bayern Munich’s meeting with Borussia Dortmund is the biggest of these fixtures and I’ll tell you for why…
Should Bayern pocket the points, they’ve the potential to be seven points clear at the top before the international break and all but ending the title race. No Bundesliga side has ever led by such a stretch at this stage of the season and so the onus really is on Thomas Tuchel’s troops to turn up and give Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering hosts a real run for their money.
With 21 points and a +20 goal difference, the Bavarians have already claimed a league record for the best start from seven games and as well as never suffering a defeat during the first half of the Bundesliga season under Pep’s watch, Bayern have W14-D3-L0 in their last 17 Oktoberfest games. The last side to beat them during their annual party-parade? Dortmund, in Munich, back in 2010.
Of course, FC Hollywood are the most likely winners but it’s worth noting Bayern have W1-D1-L3 in their last five Bundesliga fixtures at the Allianz Arena against the Black & Yellows. But instead of trying to call the outcome, I prefer to punt on goals with Both Teams To Score backable at 4/6 (BetVictor).
This encounter features the league’s two highest scoring sides with both outfits netting in each matchday thus far. In fact, the duo are responsible for a quarter of goals in the league this season (44 of 177) and on show are two record-breaking strikers on either side.
Robert Lewandowski's 10 goals in the first seven BL games equals the record set by Gerd Müller in 1968/69 and 1977/78. His midweek hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb means he has now bagged 10 goals in his last three appearances. Look out Scotland and Ireland next week. Gulp.
But hey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has notched just as many as the Pole in 2015 – the two strikers are tied on 20 Bundesliga goals this calendar year. Aubameyang is also the first player in Bundesliga history to score in each of the first seven games of a new season. Including last, he’s netted in his last previous nine league matches for BVB and could now equal Klaus Allofs' record of scoring in 10 consecutive games for Koln in 1984. And breathe.
Back to the match in hand and as always, Bayern should monopolise possession. But they’ve looked far from secure at the back this term. They really toiled against Augsburg and Hoffenheim and were behind at the break at home to Wolfsburg before Lewandowski's heroics. Dortmund remain unbeaten under Tuchel and have enough forward talent in form to give the Munich masters a scare.
Hoffenheim v Stuttgart – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (4/6 Bet365)
Schalke v Koln – Schalke to win (4/5 William Hill)
Bayer Leverkusen v Augsburg – Bayer Leverkusen -1.5 Asian Handicap (15/13 BetVictor)
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund – Both Teams To Score (4/6 BetVictor)
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