Ingolstadt v Hamburg | Saturday 1st December 2018, 12:00
Top meets bottom in 2. Bundesliga this weekend, with Hamburg looking to maintain their push for immediate promotion back to the top-flight. Whilst they are already on their second manager of the season, with ex-Stuttgart boss Hannes Wolf now at the helm, it has still been a very good campaign for the club on-pitch.
Arguably the main reason for their fine start to the campaign is their form on the road – 16 of the 28 points they have amassed have arrived away from the Volksparkstadion.
Wolfe has certainly made an impact at Die Rothosen. He has overseen five matches in all competitions, resulting in four wins and a draw. That draw came as recently as Monday night when unbeaten Union Berlin scored a last-gasp equaliser to maintain that record to draw 2-2 in Hamburg.
Whilst Ingolstadt are bottom of the table, being only 20 points behind Hamburg doesn’t seem that much of a gap in one aspect. This league is extremely tight and season-by-season the end outcome sees teams only a few points either potentially jumping up or sliding down a few places.
There are more goals in 2. Bundesliga games compared to recent seasons. So far, there has been an average of 2.90 goals scored. However, that statistic should only really favour Hamburg heading into this encounter.
We really don’t see anything other than a Hamburg victory here, so the league table should play out as it should. Getting a price of 121/100 (Marathon) is too good to reject at this stage.
Ingolstadt have won once in their 14 league matches, and whilst they’ve drew their last two at home, both came versus Duisburg and Bielefeld, who sit just above the relegation zone.
Alexander Nouri has only been in the job since September, but even he will admit to start feeling the pressure. Speaking of pressure, it is probably off to a degree when Hamburg visit, as they aren’t expected to get anything. However, being bottom alone brings a challenge and Hamburg’s superior quality should show over the 90 minutes.
Hamburg have won every away game this season, with the exception of a 0-0 draw to Greuther Furth, a match they dominated and the opposition now currently sit in sixth, back in September.
Malaga v Granada | Saturday 1st December 2018, 17:00
We shift across to the Spanish second-tier and there is an attractive looking contest commencing at 5pm. Third in the table Malaga entertain Granada, who sit fourth, with both sides looking to win back their spots in La Liga.
Malaga suffered a 1-0 away setback last weekend to Extremadura, who were in the relegation zone at the time. Whilst that was a disappointing outcome for them, Malaga are a completely different prospect when playing on home soil – that is quite common in this league – with the hosts losing half of their away games, but it is still one of the better records in Segunda.
Granada will certainly be no pushovers as only Albacete, who are positioned inside the play-off positions, have earned more points on the road this season.
A concern for Granada however is that they are winless in their last three matches. They have lost momentum at quite an important stage of the season. Two draws and a defeat against sides around the mid-table area is a disappointing return for Diego Martinez Penas’ side. Motivation is high going into this weekend but ultimately they’ll need to produce a quality display as well.
That is because Malaga have made La Rosadela into a fortress this season – 21 of their 29 points collected have come here, with their record reading a cool seven games and seven victories in front of their own supporters in the league. Twelve goals scored and just the one conceded further prove their effectiveness when playing in Malaga.
This has traditionally been quite a tight game over the years, but that should suit Malaga quite nicely. Malaga have won four of the last six at home head-to-head in recent times.
Malaga's home results this season read 1-0, 1-0, 3-0, 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0 – they do enough at home to get the job done. This is no smash and grab approach either, they control games effectively and make life exceptionally tough for the opposition to impose themselves.
Granada have lost only twice all season on the road, but that came versus Alcorcon and Deportivo, who currently occupy the top two spots in the league. With Malaga in third, this little sequence may continue.
We can get 113/100 (Marathon) on a Malaga victory here. This is also too good to ignore – we will rarely get a price of this nature in a home Malaga league match this season.
Vitesse Arnhem v Emmen | Saturday 1st December 2018, 17:30
Emmen are likely to be battling against relegation in their first-ever season at this level, but they are often contributing to a number of entertaining matches. Their recent form on paper looks quite bad if anything, but they’ve probably deserved more than they have got.
Things won’t get any easier for Emmen however, as they make the trip to in-form Vitesse Arnhem this weekend. Under the management of former CSKA Moscow, Russia and Hull boss Leonid Slutsky, Vitesse have now climbed to fourth in the table. They’ve won seven of their last 11 in all competitions.
Challenging for the title is almost impossible for a side such as Vitesse. They generally fall short of the likes of PSV Eindhoven and Ajax, and probably even Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar in recent times too.
Nevertheless, Vitesse generally get the job done against the weaker sides more often than not, and get found out, again more often than not, over those elite clubs. It is important they get the job done when Emmen come to town on Saturday.
Finishing third is very much the aim for Slutsky’s side and given the momentum they have, there is every chance they’ll achieve that come the end of the season. They aren’t necessarily the biggest scorers, having netted only six more than Emmen, despite being separated by eight points in the standings.
Emmen however have shipped 28 times, 13 more than Vitesse. This is ultimately the major difference between the two teams. Vitesse are able to manage games, dictate the play and get the job done. Emmen are inexperienced at this level and too often has that led to their downfall in certain situations.
Only four other sides have conceded more than Emmen have. That being said, Vitesse have only claimed 23% clean sheets this season, so they may again have to try and outscore the opposition. Both teams have scored in 67% of Vitesse’s home matches.
It is hard to be hugely confident on Emmen netting here however. Although they’ve only failed to net in two away matches so far, that came in heavy defeats to PSV and Ajax. The other teams they’ve faced on the road are outfits they can at least get competitive with.
What we can say is that 83% of Vitesse’s home matches has ended above 2.5 goals, the same is said for 83% of Emmen’s clashes on the road. Vitesse are clearly the stronger team and they’re the side with momentum.
Vitesse to win and Over 2.5 Goals is a 7/8 (Betway) shot. Vitesse aren’t the sort of side to win too narrowly; they like to put on a bit of a show.
Zulte-Waregem v Oostende | Saturday 1st December 2018, 19:00
Zulte-Waregem look to have turned the corner in recent weeks. They’ve won two in a row, three of their last four and losing just once in five. This has at least allowed them to climb off the bottom of the First Division A table in Belgium, which they had been occupying for most of the season so far.
Long-serving manager Francky Dury is starting to get a tune out of this season’s squad, meaning confidence is high again within the ranks.
Oostende, on the flip side, are on the other end of the momentum scale. Their recent run reads just one solitary victory in their last eight, five of which have ended in defeat. De Kustboys are starting to slide down the table and there is now only three points separating these two heading into Saturday evening’s contest.
Without a doubt the main reason for Waregem’s bad start to the campaign was their atrocious defensive record. It is still the worst in the league, conceding 36 in their 16 league matches. However, shipping five times over their last five games is actually massive improvement. They kept only their second clean sheet in the 2-0 home win over Lokeren earlier in November as well.
If the Belgian top-flight was purely based on the last five matches, Waregem would sit proudly in second spot, whilst Oostende would be second from bottom. They are quite literally at opposite ends of the momentum scale!
There has been an almightily high 3.90 goals witnessed on average in Waregem’s league games this season. This is unsurprisingly the highest of any side at this level. Thirteen of their 16 games has ended above the 2.5 goal line. Again, a bad defensive record played a major role in this, however they’ve only not scored in two matches all season in the league.
Oostende haven’t scored in half of their away fixtures, so they are no sure thing to net again here. This is what is off-putting about jumping onto Both Teams To Score, but you won’t get big odds on that in too many matches in this league at the current rate.
Every single Waregem match this season has however beaten the 1.5 line, the same is said in 14 of Oostende’s 16. Quite frankly, most games beat this line in this league. A little tip therefore is if you’re backing a team to win, then always throw in ‘and over 1.5 Goals’ to increase your odds a little more.
That is exactly what we’re doing here – Waregem to win and Over 1.5 Goals is priced at exactly 1/1 (Coral).