THE Bundesliga continues on Monday and here Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) sets the scene ahead of Koln's clash with RB Leipzig.
Koln v RB Leipzig | Monday 1st June 2020, 19:30 | BT Sport
RB Leipzig extended their run of draws to four in five games as their focus now shifts from an unlikely title push to cementing their place in next season’s Champions League.
The midweek stalemate with Hertha Berlin was Red Bull’s tenth of the Bundesliga season, the joint highest in the league and highlights an inability to kill teams off as their once title rivals do almost every week.
In truth, this set of players are probably a couple of years away from mounting a serious challenge and that’s on the basis that they can keep the nucleus of this squad together which, given the rumours surrounding their better players, looks unlikely. The only saving grace for the Leipzig hierarchy is that less money could be spent by big clubs on transfers this summer as they look to recoup their losses from the COVID crisis.
Aside from a game against Dortmund in the penultimate fixture, Leipzig’s remaining matches look decent on paper and this next one against Koln should fall into that category.
Meanwhile, Koln’s start back to life in the Bundesliga since suspension has been eventful to say the least. Twelve goals in three games as well as three penalties and two red cards have contributed to plenty of entertainment but only a couple of points for the boys in white.
As much of a threat as Markus Gisdol’s men are going forward, with the ever impressive Jhon Cordoba leading the line superbly, Koln have now conceded nine goals in four matches and will have to do without centre-back Sebastiaan Bornauw who was sent off in the Hoffenheim defeat.
Jorge Mere will slot in alongside Toni Leistner but the Spaniard has struggled when called upon in the top flight due to limited game time and Werner and Co. will look to target any rustiness the 23 year-old may show.
The betting angles
An angle that has become of interest when pouring over these team’s recent stats is offsides. It’s not a market I delve into too often but I think there’s some value in the 90/100 on offer with Marathon under their ‘statistics section on Over 4.5 Offsides in the match.
Both these sides rank in the top seven in the Bundesliga for being caught in offside positions and when they met in the reverse fixture in November, there was a massive nine in total. It’s not totally surprising given Leipzig’s high defensive line and Koln’s desire to get the ball forward early for Cordoba to run on to but with the lines elsewhere starting at seven or more, the 4/5 is something I want to attack.
To add into the mix, we’ll almost certainly be watching two players in the top four of the caught offside league table this season in the aforementioned Cordoba and Timo Werner. Furthermore, when the average number of offsides per game when Leipzig have played bottom half teams in 2019/20 stands at exactly five.
The next angle I want to look at is an increasingly popular one of mine and that’s free-kicks. Since the restart, Koln have certainly been the aggressors, giving away 56 free-kicks in three matches – an average of 18.6 per game.
When you consider that Koln have conceded 16 or more in their last five home fixtures, Red Bull have earned 17.6 on average in their last five away from Leipzig and that Julian Nagelsmann’s men were awarded 21 in the reverse, I’m surprised to see Over 14.5 Away Free-Licks priced at 11/10 with Bet365. It’s a two point play from me.
The Koln averages would be even better I think had they not gone down to ten men against Hoffenheim, when they naturally conceded less fouls on their opponents with one less player on the pitch for a chunk of the contest– just five in the second half compared to eight in the first.
Given the generous lines available, I’m happy to take on Over 17.5 Free-Kicks for Leipzig at 3/1 to add to the mix. Let’s not forget, if the offsides rack up as we hope, they will add to the tally of dead-ball starts so it could fall very nicely for us. We’ve heard plenty of the referee’s whistle in the last couple of matchdays so let’s hope that continues on Monday night.
Leipzig rank very highly for dribbles this season, as do Koln for fouls given away across the campaign, so don’t be surprised to see the home team stop those players in their tracks by using their physical dominance and fouling them when they get the chance.
In terms of team line-ups, it’s very hard to predict who is going to start the game for both teams given the amount of games at the moment so I will avoid the player props. Both teams have injuries and suspensions to contend with so I’m not going to second guess the teams here.
Leipzig should get the better of a scrappy contest with hopefully a few goals (and offsides, free-kicks!) for us neutrals to enjoy.