Stuttgart v St Pauli | Saturday 17th August 2019, 12:00
Stuttgart have been something of a ‘yo-yo club’ in recent seasons. After a year back in the Bundesliga last season, they are now back in the second tier looking to again regain their top flight status.
Considering between 1977/78 and 2015/16 the Swabians were in the elite German league, they can now only wish to regain such consistency. Nevertheless, they go into this campaign firmly expecting to win back promotion at the very first attempt. Two games in they’ve earned a win and a draw, so it has been a decent start.
St Pauli have been in the German second tier for eight seasons, and this will be their ninth. They too, like Stuttgart, experienced a solitary year in the Bundesliga, in 2010/11 for them, but finished rock bottom of the standings.
Have the Hamburg club threatened a return in those eight seasons? Well, they finished fourth twice, meaning major improvement is required to compete with the likes of Stuttgart, Koln and Hamburg over a full season, especially as last season they finished ninth. In a one-off match however, they can cause a few problems to anyone.
If the opening two matches are anything to go by, Stuttgart won’t struggle for goals this term. They’ve fired 37 shots on goal in that time, suggesting that they know how to create and put opponents under periods of pressure. That serves them well, however, they cannot afford to go too ‘gung-ho’ in games and expect to keep the ball out the other end.
The Swabians only conceded an average of 11 shots across the two 90-minute clashes, which is the joint-third fewest of any side in the division. However, they’ve still managed to concede three goals, which to me raises some alarm bells. To me, it suggests that they could become vulnerable to counter attacks, especially as they’ve achieved 60.7% average possession (third-highest). St Pauli will be more than happy to play on the break in this one.
St Pauli only failed to score in three away matches last season, and the fact they only drew seven times all season suggests that they too can have issues in terms of balance.
However, I do think Both Teams To Score is a nice play here at 3/4 (Blacktype). Stuttgart will go for a win at home, and the fans will drive them on, but I’ve noticed in recent seasons that this league is all about attacking, and the bigger clubs are perhaps better known for outscoring opponents rather than through organised defensive play.
LASK Linz v Tirol | Saturday 17th August 2019, 16:00
The segment above will be in complete contrast in this one! 2.Bundesliga is generally quite an open league, but the Austrian Bundesliga is much tighter and methodological in most cases.
LASK Linz finished second last season, making it one of their most successful league campaigns ever. They once won the title in the 1960s, but they’re making big strides right now. They also remain in Champions League qualification having knocked out FC Basel, and they’ll take on Club Brugge over two legs to try and make the group stage. They’ve started the league great too, winning three from three.
Tirol won the Austrian second division last season to give them a shot at the big time. The club is now known as Tirol, after previously falling under the name Wattens. The club are based in Innsbruck, and they have made an encouraging start to the current campaign. They started so well with a fine home success over Austria Vienna, before two closer matches resulting in a defeat and a draw. By far their sternest test so far will arrive this weekend, a game where they would be delighted to come away from with a point.
The two clubs have faced each other in recent years in the Erste Liga in 2016 and 2017, with each side earning two wins each, winning their respective home encounters. Tirol lost only three matches out of 30 last season, but they did fail to win eight of their 15 on the road. Whilst only losing twice, seven ended in draws, suggesting they look to be quite conservative. That style is only going to lead to defeat this weekend against very strong opponents.
LASK headed the league last season in relation to clean sheets, keeping 14 out of a possible 32, with it being a 50-50 split between at home compared to away. They only failed to score in five matches across the campaign, a number only bettered by usual runaway leaders Red Bull Salzburg. LASK have won every game this season, including both legs versus Basel, and they’ve not shipped a goal in the league yet.
Considering how structured this LASK team are, and with them possibly looking to conserve energy having played some tough games with Basel recently, they could just be happy to get another win on the board to get the ball rolling.
LASK will take the game to their weaker opponents and proved time and again last season that they know how to produce a shutout. LASK Linz to win ‘to nil’ has to be the play, especially at evens (Bet365).
Stuttgart v St Pauli – Both Teams To Score (3/4 Blacktype)
LASK Linz v Tirol – LASK Linz to win ‘to nil’ (1/1 Bet365)