Hamburg v Holstein Kiel | Monday 8th June 2020, 19:30 | BT Sport
Your Monday night showing comes from the German second-tier as promotion hopefuls Hamburg entertain Holstein Kiel in what will be a largely empty Volksparkstadion. This will be the last game of the weekend on the 2. Bundesliga card, and both have their own agendas.
In the case of Hamburg, you have a team that is absolutely desperate to return to the promised land of the Bundesliga. Last season they would finish only one point outside the top three, and going into this weekend’s matches they’re only one point inside those spots now, so they know every point is vital, especially with just five matches remaining.
Hamburg returned from the prolonged break by going three without victory. They would concede a 94th-minute goal to draw away at Greuther Furth, drew 0-0 at home to league leaders Bielefeld and then squandered a 2-0 half-time lead to eventually lose 3-2 in Stuttgart.
In their defence, that is a very tough run of games, but they didn’t do themselves justice. They’ve since responded by making heavy weather of beating lowly Wehen 3-2 at home. Considering they’ve been in the top few positions all season they just have never really convinced, and now they need to at this point in the campaign.
Kiel, on the other hand, are probably going to run out of time if they’re to gate-crash the promotion scene. Back-to-back to top side Bielefeld and away to Bochum leaves them some 11 points shy of Hamburg going into this. Realistically, they’re only playing for pride, but they did the double over Hamburg last season so certainly don’t travel in fear.
On one hand you look at Kiel winning only one of their last seven, and just one in four since returning to action following the break. They too have faced strong opposition in that time, including the previously mentioned Bielefeld, as well as Stuttgart and Heidenheim.
Whilst that may suggest they struggle against superior teams at this level, it is worth noting they did the double over Stuttgart, drew at home to Hamburg, whilst only narrowly lost twice to Bielefeld.
My initial reaction to this game was to expect goals, and there is no reason for me to change my thinking.
Having watched Hamburg enough over the season, as well as the last couple of weeks, I am not convinced by them in the slightest, which is strange to say for a team battling promotion, and one who could still win the league. Their games just tend to be way too open, and for all they can impress in attack, they don’t do enough at the other end for me to back them in this contest.
Both Teams To Score at 4/5 (Bet365) is an absolute snip and I was truly amazed to see this price offered up. Kiel top the league for BTTS numbers, with 23 of their 29 league encounters doing so this season. Hamburg are only just behind on 18, which again highlights how they excel in attack but often fall short at the back.
Hamburg do have the joint third-highest amount of home clean sheets in the league, but have only two in their last ten in all competitions here. Furthermore, Kiel have only failed to score in three league clashes.
Another goals angle I like is more of a tentative choice and that is Over 3.5 Goals at 9/5 (888). Hamburg need the points, whilst there is no benefit to Kiel playing a defensive game here. Their season numbers suggests that this is not really their way of playing anyway, so that doesn’t concern me.
Both are in the top four for goals scored, as well as both shots on goal and shots on target. Both will very much have a go, and Hamburg are prone to making an error when building from the back, something which was notable especially in the Wehen clash.
Finally, I will have another tentative play and that is the Kiel Draw No Bet at 10/3 (Unibet). I think it is pretty obvious from the tone of this article that I am generally quite keen to oppose Hamburg! That’s not always the case as obviously they’re third in the table for a reason, but they’re just one of those teams that will make you sweat, and the 3-2 home win over relegation-threatened Wehen was a perfect example of that.
I actually thought that playing without fans could help them as they’re quick to get on their backs when they’re up against it, but this team does seem to really feel the weight on their shoulders. Hamburg are a massive club in German football, and shouldn’t really be in this league. Anything but promotion is deemed a bad season.
Hamburg certainly don’t convince me enough to back them at odds on and just feel Kiel could spring a surprise here, or at least not as big of a shock as their lofty odds suggest. They’re a dangerous team going forward, and Hamburg will be tested.