THE BUNDESLIGA is back this weekend and Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) is on-hand to share his standout goalscorer and cards selections.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn | Saturday 16th May, 2:30pm | BT Sport
Two teams battling at the wrong end of the Bundesliga table clash as the German top-flight returns, but Fortuna Dusseldorf manager Uwe Rosler listed a range of concerns heading into this game.
Part of the problem trying to assess all these games is the amount of training each side has been able to complete and work on shape/set-pieces. Plus, as Rosler states the mental state of players involved. Not only that but being played behind closed doors may affect the intensity.
Under the former Wigan and Leeds manager, Dusseldorf have only lost one of their six league games, although they did lose on penalties to Saarbrucken in the DFB-Pokal.
Before the enforced lockdown, the hosts were picking up points, but they had found themselves struggling in front of goal – they’re in the lowest scorers in the league. However, they face Paderborn who have conceded 54 goals – only Werder Bremen (55) have let more in.
But looking more specifically at the individuals who could have a say on the outcome of the game, then Erik Thommy is the man to look at.
The Stuttgart loanee has four assists (most for Fortuna) and five goals (second-most for Fortuna). Three of those goals have been under Rosler having netted twice in his previous 19 with Friedhelm Funkel in charge.
The 25-year-old isn’t afraid of having a pop at goal. He had 14 shots in his last seven Bundesliga appearances, so averages two a game. And in the four games before the break, he had four shots on-target.
I’ll be looking towards him testing Leopold Zingerle in the Paderborn goal, so that could give us a few options. Firstly, the shots on-target market is the place to start, then I’ll be heading towards the goalscorer markets. He’s 9/1 to score first, and Betfair have boosted the price on him to score at anytime to 10/3, which appeals given his surge in form under the new boss and their change to a more front-foot approach.
FC Koln v Mainz | Sunday 17th May, 2:30pm | BT Sport
One game that looks marked down for goals is the Sunday game at RheinEngergieStadion. Koln games average 3.36 goals, while Mainz matches work out at 3.48. With lots of unknowns ahead of the return of football, there could be an angle to exploit with the lack of work that teams have been able to carry out on the training ground.
I was going through the situational stats on WhoScored.com when I noticed Koln have scored more goals from set-pieces (15) than any other Bundesliga side. Contrast that to Mainz, who have conceded 13 for these situations, which is the joint-second worst record.
So straight away that paints a picture of the Billy Goats strength from set-pieces and with it being an area of weakness for the visitors, then the next step is to look at likely candidates.
While forwards Jhon Cordoba (top scorer with 10 goals) and Mark Uth (four in seven) will attract plenty of attention, it’s central defender Sebastiaan Bornauw that drew my attention.
This season the young Belgian scored five goals, which makes him Koln’s second-highest scorer. And this, as well as his defensive strength has seen him attracting scouts from top clubs around Europe. With both of these sides averaging at around 11 corners per-game then there is going to be an opportunity for Bornauw to get into the opposition box.
Given the data on show and the potential for a lack of Mainz preparation, I’m more than happy to roll the dice on this one. I can’t get over the disparity in prices. Most firms are around the 7/2 mark for him to score anytime, yet Bet365 are 12/1, which looks rather bulbous.
I’ll be taking that double-figure price and you can tick the box to get the bet voided if he doesn’t start.
Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen | Monday 18th May, 2:30pm | BT Sport
Bayer Leverkusen have been one of the more exciting sides to watch this season and we last saw them in action beating Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox in the Europa League. The attacking talent at Peter Bosz’s disposal is immense with Leon Bailey and Kai Havertz two quality operators.
Havertz has been a revelation since adopting a slightly more advanced role since the injury to Kevin Volland. The 20-year-old has got three assists and two goals in his last five appearances. He’d have tempted me in the assist market given his run before the break, but at the time of writing, it’s only SkyBet with a price and 5/2 looks skinny, although they are playing a struggling Werder Bremen side.
With the attacking flair Leverkusen possess and the fact Bremen have conceded 2+ goals in eight of their last 10, then Leverkusen Race to 2 Goals (17/20) with William Hill looks a fair bet given the support during the week in favour of Die Werkself.
I’m willing to take a dip into the cards market in this one given how Florian Kohfeldt can set up his Bremen side. It was a more traditional back four in their last game away at Hertha, but their last few home games have seen them set-up with a back three and wing-backs.
Now with 41% of Leverkusen attacks coming down their right-hand side, I’ve taken a look at Bremen left-sided players as candidates. One of those is Swedish left-back/wing-back Ludwig Augustinsson. He’s only featured eight times due to injuries but played twice before the suspension of football in this role.
Given he does like to get forward and put crosses into the box, this is a channel Leverkusen will look to venture down. With ring rust and a lack of match fitness, then the defender is well worth a glance in the cards market.
Yes, some of you will point out he is yet to be booked in those eight appearances, but he does average 2.5 tackles per-game and 1.6 fouls per-game, so he does get stuck in.
With the visitors likely to dictate possession – they average nearly 60% in games this season, the second-highest amount – then that’ll leave Bremen chasing proceedings.
If they’re chasing the game late on, then they’re likely to lose shape and get caught out by this lightning-quick Leverkusen side on the break putting Augustinsson in the firing line.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn – Erik Thommy to score at anytime (10/3 Betfair)
FC Koln v Mainz – Sebastiaan Bornauw to score at anytime (12/1 Bet365)
Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen – Bayer Leverkusen Race to 2 Goals (17/20 William Hill)
Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen – Ludwig Augustinsson to be carded (6/1 Betfair)