EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is heading to Germany for his next best bet from the continent.
Augsburg v Mainz | Sunday 3rd February 2019, 14:30 | BT Sport
The Bundesliga is Europe’s go-to major league for goals in 2018/19 with the German top-flight averaging an eye-watering 3.09 goals per-game – 63% of matches have featured three or more goals, with both sides obliging in 61% of contests.
The Bundesliga has also seen fewer goalless games than any other league – and by a hefty margin. Just eight matches so far have seen no side hit the back of the net, while the next-best comes from the Premier League and La Liga, each with 16 matches without a goal. Serie A and Ligue 1 have both had to endure 19 such games.
Naturally, goals-based selections across the majority of markets and matches tend to be chalked up at unbackably short prices. However, Sunday’s showdown between struggling Augsburg and Mainz bucks that trend with 188BET offering an enticing 8/11 on Both Teams To Score.
Winless in 10 (W0-D3-L7) and with only three victories to their name across the campaign, Augsburg have been dragged right into the relegation mire. The Bavarians sit a solitary point and place above the bottom-three with Manuel Baum's free-falling ensemble appearing devoid of game-management and organisation, particularly at the back.
Beaten 2-0 by Gladbach last time, Die Fuggerstadter have responded by recruiting former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann as assistant coach, but have also had to take disciplinary action against defender Martin Hinteregger. Felix Gotze could come into the defence, while Ja-Cheol Koo and Dong-Won Ji are now back from the Asian Cup to provide a boost.
Baum’s boys are winless in six at their WWK Arena base – seven would be an unwanted club record. What’s more, the hosts have only once kept their sheets clean this season and their leading striker Alfred Finnbogason has never endured a longer goalless run in the Bundesliga games (currently 489 minutes). Things are looking bleak.
Mainz cushy in mid-table
Mainz have began the Rückrunde with back-to-back victories against basement battlers Stuttgart and Nurnberg to move 13 points clear of the drop zone. The O-Fivers have defied dour pre-season predictions thanks to their fine home form, as well as their results against the Bundesliga’s lesser lights.
Sandro Schwarz’s side are unflashy in their approach but often dependable, rugged and competitive operators. The visitors have won more Bundesliga games against Augsburg – promoted in 2011 – than against any other top-flight team (eight) and will be confident of enhancing that record. However, skipper Stefan Bell is banned this weekend
In attack, Robin Quaison – on target for the third time in four games last weekend – is expected to partner leading scorer Jean-Philippe Mateta once again as Mainz bid to extend their record of scoring in each of their last 11 top-tier tussles.
Goals on the agenda
As already alluded to, I think BTTS is well overpriced on Sunday. It’s a selection that’s already returned profit in 15/19 (79%) Augsburg encounters, including 8/9 (89%) at their WWK Arena home. The hosts average a reasonable 0.83 xG from open play and have scored in all bar four of those fixtures, keeping their sheets clean once.
Mainz have delivered Both Teams To Score winners in 12/19 (63%) overall, claiming only four shutouts in that sample. Bar a five-match streak in late Autumn, the O-Fivers have found the back of the net in every Bundesliga game, with road trips averaging a hefty 2.78 goals per-game.
Only three stadiums are averaging a higher goals per-game (3.33) figure than the WWK Arena in 2018/19 and all the evidence suggests both sides can oblige when they collide in Bavaria for Sunday’s showdown.
Augsburg v Mainz – Both Teams To Score (8/11 188BET)