EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) heads to the Bundesliga on Sunday for his latest best bet on the continent.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Freiburg | Sunday 29th September 2019, 14:30 | BT Sport
It was frustrating not to see the strong European NAP form extend last weekend. Bodo/Glimt struggled to exert their authority at Ranheim and failed to pick up a valuable victory to keep the Norwegian title race alive and kicking. There were no hard luck stories, the contenders simply fell short of their expected performance levels and we paid the price.
I’m heading back to more familiar territory on Sunday for the match-up between Fortuna Dusseldorf and Freiburg in the Bundesliga. This is a meeting that just screams goals and I’m happy to get stuck into 10/11 (Bet365) quotes on Over 2 Goals and Both Teams To Score. Unfortunately, due to the Friday publication, we’ve missed the standout value on the straight Overs selection but getting close to evens with BTTS on-board is still a steal.
Fortuna giving up a barrage of opportunities
Following promotion back to the German top-flight, pre-season relegation favourites Fortuna finished in mid-table with Friedhelm Funkel's troops earning plenty of plaudits for their attacking approach. The newcomers started the season terribly but found their grove thereafter and even gave both the mighty Bayern and Dortmund stern examinations.
The departures of top goalscorers Dodi Lukebakio and Benito Ramen – accounting for 19 of their 49 league goals (39%) – was expected to see Dusseldorf regress back towards a basement battle, especially as the side have struggled to stem the flow at the opposite end. Fortuna kept just five clean sheets last term, all coming against bottom half dwellers.
Sunday’s hosts were handed a devilishly difficult selection of opening encounters in 2019/20, facing four teams playing in European competition in their first five fixtures. The North Rhine-Westphalia club have returned a reasonable W1-D1-L3 from those contests, although Fortuna could quite easily be sitting here pointless.
USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been a revelation between the sticks, making 35 saves – 16 more than any other Bundesliga shot-stopper – a sure sign that Dusseldorf have been on the back-foot. In fact, no other team has given up a larger Expected Goals (xG) figure, xG from open play tally or conceded more attempts from inside the penalty box.
Freiburg enjoying eye-catching start
With 10 points from five games (W3-D1-L1), Freiburg have made their best-ever start in the Bundesliga. They are now bidding to open a campaign with three away wins for the very first time, although they haven't won any of their four previous Bundesliga trips to Dusseldorf. Nevertheless, Christian Streich’s side will be confident of making their mark.
The Black Forest boys were left frustrated by Augsburg (1-1) last time out, twice hitting the woodwork. But the visitors have options in attack with Lucas Holer making an impact off the bench, along with highly-rated German international Luca Waldschmidt, the returning Vincenzo Grifo and consistent operator Nils Petersen all battling for starting berths.
Even so, Freiburg’s underlying numbers haven’t quite matched their results, and despite Streich’s side clicking in eye-catching victories over Paderborn and Hoffenheim on their travels, it’s still difficult to support the guests here considering their infamous road record.
Only the bottom three sides had a worse record on the road than the Black Forest club in 2018/19, while the year before only Koln earnt fewer than their dismal nine point output. Freiburg have actually registered just five away triumphs since the beginning of 2017/18 and kept the exact paltry tally of shutouts in that same sample. Eek.
Get with the goals
Only four clubs have conceded a larger xG from open play figure than Freiburg at this early stage, proof if ever that the visitors are far from watertight. That should encourage a Fortuna side that’s seen both sides score in each of their five outings thus far, and notched at least twice in almost half 9/21 (47%) of their Merkur Spiel-Arena outings since promotion.
With the two clubs’ coaches still in stiu since the beginning of last season, there’s plenty of evidence suggesting the pair will take an offensively-minded approach with goals following. During that timeframe, the duo have combined to see a huge 26/38 (68%) of their collective contests produce Over 2.5 Goals with 13/38 (34%) breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier.
The average goals per-game across the aforementioned 38 matches stands at a seductive 3.05 as 23 (61%) paid out for Both Teams To Score backers. Those numbers are nicely in-line with the Bundesliga’s early averages in 2019/20 with a huge 3.24 goals seen over the opening five rounds, with 76% of games featuring at least three goals, and 69% seeing BTTS.
Performance data is also pointing towards an exciting, end-to-end televised tussle. Looking at open play opportunities, the pair have combined to see a whopping 4.08 xG open play total between them. And so the case appears very strong for another goal-heavy game on Sunday.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Freiburg – Over 2 Goals and Both Teams To Score (10/11 Bet365)