Sandhausen v Kiel | Sunday 22nd December 2019, 12:30
This first of our two trips to Germany on Sunday comes from 2.Bundesliga as Sandhausen face Kiel in a mid-table encounter at lunchtime. Sandhausen only narrowly avoided potentially relegation last season, finishing only three points above the relegation play-off, but have proven harder to beat this time around. Kiel have enjoyed two top-six finishes since promotion into this level, so you could argue their currently under-performing in 10th position.
Those who follow this column closely will know that I speak about ‘drawing leagues’, and 2.Bundesliga does fall into that category, although perhaps not as heavily as others. However, that may seem something of a contradiction as Sandhausen are a team that loves a draw! They’ve done so eight times, the joint-most in the division. They’ve lost just the four times, with Stuttgart in third losing more.
This approach has worked in the sense that they aren’t near the bottom like they were last year. This defensive approach means that they perhaps aren’t offering as much going forward as they’d like. Only Darmstadt and Dynamo Dresden have scored fewer than the 19 Sandhausen has managed. However, they’ve only failed to score in two home matches, and just the three overall clean sheets. Nevertheless, still hard to beat.
Kiel are a team that loves to entertain and attack is very much their best form of defence. Their league contests this season has averaged over three goals, with 12 of their 17 fixtures containing over 2.5 goals. However, they’re in mid-table, and whilst only six teams have more goals scored, just five have conceded more than they’ve done.
This open approach is typified by their recent run of results. Over their last four games, they have two wins, those being a respectable 2-1 victory over Dynamo Dresden, and then a whacky 6-3 success at second from bottom Wehen. Both came away from home however, and only Bielefeld has more away points. They’ve beaten Stuttgart on the road, but then they’ve lost at relegation threatened St Pauli, proving they aren’t the most reliable.
Although Sandhausen’s games are the lowest in the league in terms of goals, the presence of Kiel means this should be more open. I think goals is part of our play here, as Kiel will present chances for Sandhausen to get forward, but going forward they retain a threat. Sandhausen Double Chance and Over 2.5 Goals will be our 9/5 (Betway) play.
Sandhausen are on a nine-match unbeaten home run, including a win over Stuttgart and draw to Hamburg. Kiel are too volatile for us to expect them to avoid defeat, so Sandhausen is the safer call.
Ingolstadt v Jena | Sunday 22nd December 2019, 13:00
We’ll drop down a league on this occasion into 3. Liga as Ingolstadt face Jena in a top versus bottom battle into the German third-tier. Well, specifically it is second from top versus bottom, as Duisburg do hold a lead over Ingolstadt at the exact halfway point in the campaign. Only one result is expected this weekend, but….drawing league.
Ingolstadt might be second in the table but they’re endured a frustrating run of things of late. Ten matches unbeaten may suggest otherwise, but three draws in their past four is a slight disappointment for any side with promotion aspirations. Still, only four teams have drew more games than Ingolstadt, so a word of caution to backing them outright this weekend.
However, four of those draws came to teams in the top half of the table. Still, it is something to keep an eye on. Also, they’ve actually failed to win six of their ten at home, including five draws. Clearly opponents travel and look to make themselves tough to beat, but Ingolstadt don’t really have problems scoring goals. They’re still scoring just shy of two goals per game on average, a number which increases to 2.10 focusing purely on home games.
Now Jena may be at the bottom but they’ve stepped up in recent weeks on a count of two wins from their past three. Interestingly, both of those wins came away from home, although they did come to Grossaspach and Bayern II, who are positioned 19th and 15th respectively going into this round of fixtures. Still, it helps build confidence, and they’ll need that for a much sterner examination on Sunday afternoon.
There is one similarity between both Ingolstadt and Jena going into the weekend, despite 22 points separating them. Both teams are seeing an average around the 3.10 mark in terms of goals per league game, with 13/19 for each finishing over 2.5 goals. That number jumps to 3.60 for Ingolstadt home encounters, whilst for Jena on the road it is 3.40. On that basis, we should see a few goals this weekend.
Ingolstadt’s four home league wins read 3-2, 3-0, 3-2 and 4-2, including three over current bottom half opponents. Ingolstadt are the team to side with, and they’re short prices to deliver. I like goals in this too, so Ingolstadt and Over 2.5 Goals will be our 11/10 (Betway) selection to round off the weekend before Christmas. Jena has faced all of the current top nine this season and lost every time, whilst four of their six away defeats featured at least three goals.