THE BUNDESLIGA is back and here Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) shares his favourite player and team props-based plays from matchday 27.
Hertha Berlin v Union Berlin | Friday 22nd May 2020, 19:30 | BT Sport
There will be so many games over the coming weeks and months that we will be disappointed are behind closed doors, but especially one like this.
There’s a fair bit that divides the two clubs, once separated by the Berlin Wall, but both sets of fans also hold a tremendous respect for each other based on the city’s incredible history and cultural diversity. Only one point separates the two sides heading into Friday evening’s encounter which I expect to be a close contest but one which Hertha may just edge at the famous Olimpiastadion.
One thing I spotted from last weekend’s brilliant win for Hertha was their increased possession and pass stats based on their average for the Bundesliga season.
New coach Bruno Labbadia is known within German football circles for implementing attacking, possession based football and although he hasn’t had too long to embed his ideas on the squad of players, they started to show signs of the philosophy in the 3-0 win at Hoffenheim.
Labbadia likes to build out play from the back and particularly through his centre-backs and that came across in the most recent success. Jordan Torunarigha has become a regular alongside former Manchester City man Dedryck Boyata in the second half of the season and has made that position his own, contributing positively at both ends of the pitch.
Torunarigha’s average passes per-game in his appearances this campaign is 37 but in the Hoffenheim victory, he recorded nearly double that number – 72 in total. This doesn’t seem to have picked up by Ladbrokes, who have the 22 year-old at 6/5 to record 55 or more passes in this upcoming fixture in a match.
60+ passes is 21/10 at the time of writing and I think both prices should be attacked based on the team’s change of approach and last weekend’s numbers.
Opponents Union know that, unless they fall behind early, they’re unlikely to see most of the ball here but will look to hurt their opponents with their set-piece and aerial prowess instead. The Iron Ones’s average possession for 2019/20 is 43.7%, one of the lowest in the top division, so Hertha’s centre-backs are worth getting side with the ball.
Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt | Saturday 23rd May 2020, 17:30 | BT Sport
Bayern Munich will be determined to avenge their 5-1 battering back in November at the hands of Frankfurt when they play the same opponents again on Saturday evening.
That humiliation brought an end to Nico Kovac’s reign as manager but, as I’ve highlighted on here in the last week or so, Hans-Dieter Flick has pushed the team up to the next level again and the bookies rightly expect another comfortable win for Munich on matchday 27.
Last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Union Berlin was achieved without the team really having to get out of second gear and although I’d anticipate more of a challenge defensively here, the outright odds are fairly reflective of the class difference that’s emerged between the two teams since that reverse game.
One man who will be integral to any chances of the away side getting a result is Filip Kostic. On his day and certainly this season, the wide man is the best player in this squad and his creative talents have made sure that Frankfurt’s league position isn’t any worse than it is already considered to be.
The highlight of Kostic’s game is his crossing and when you’ve got 6 ft 4” Bas Dost to aim for in the box, it’s not surprising that the ball is whipped in so often. Deliveries from wide is Frankfurt’s main route to goal and Kostic himself has benefitted from eight assists this season.
In the winger’s last six games across the Bundesliga and Europa League, he has averaged 13.83 crosses and even got up to a quite remarkable 31 against Union Berlin. In all six of those games, Kostic hit seven or more and in the 5-1 reversal mentioned before it reached the six marker in a man-of-the-match performance.
The Serbian is 19/20 to have six or more crosses in this game with Coral which looks good to back. Corners count towards this bet and with Kostic being Die Adler’s designated set-piece taker, it just brings extra scope into an already attractive looking price, especially with this Frankfurt team averaging 6.44 corners – the league’s second highest amount.
It’s worth adding too that no player had delivered more crosses all season in the Bundesliga than the man we’re backing here.