Raphael Honigstein’s Bundesliga Betting: Bayern could take their foot off the gas while Leverkusen's relegation fears may increase


FRIDAY

1. FC Köln v SV Werder Bremen, 19.30

Werder Bremen swagger into Cologne having taken a sensational 29 points from their last 11 games. They’ll start the weekend in sixth, three points above their hosts who got an admirable draw at Dortmund last weekend. Both sides are dangerous on the counter with Bremen even the league leaders when it comes to goals in that statistic this season (15). That the home side could overtake Bremen with a win should help entice Cologne to be a little more attacking than usual and thus make this an open encounter. Back over 3.5 goals at 2.65.

 

SATURDAY

Bayern Munich v SV Darmstadt 98, 14.30

This column has predicted Darmstadt to be relegated on each of the past three matchdays, only to be proven wrong on each occasion by Torsten Frings’ side. It will therefore avoid backing them to be relegated at Bayern Munich, who sealed their fifth consecutive title last weekend with a 6-0 hammering of Wolfsburg. However, Bayern have had a habit in recent seasons of taking their foot off the gas domestically once they’ve wrapped up the title. So in this clash of top against bottom, go for both teams to score at 2.06.

 

Eintracht Frankfurt v VfL Wolfsburg, 14.30

With Makoto Hasebe and Jesus Vallejo already out injured until the end of the season, Eintracht Frankfurt could do without David Abraham being suspended for Wolfsburg’s visit. They’ve formed Frankfurt’s strongest back three but given how Wolfsburg are playing of late, perhaps Niko Kovac shouldn’t be too worried. They’ve lost four of their last five with Andries Jonker’s side struggling to score of late. They’re very dependent on Mario Gomez firing whilst in midfield, Luiz Gustavo will miss this after being sent off against Bayern. Eintracht have had their own problems when it comes to converting chances but this should be a home win at 2.55.

 

Borussia Dortmund v TSG Hoffenheim, 14.30

The winner of this is likely to go straight into next season’s Champions League group stages with the loser having to settle for the qualification spot. Hoffenheim go to Dortmund in third, one point and one place above their opponents in the table. The entertaining 2-2 draw between the two sides down south earlier this season suggests this could well be the game of the weekend.

Dortmund’s superior home form along with Hoffenheim not being quite as good on the road of late could be the difference here. It will be close but given that Dortmund are 34 home games unbeaten in the Bundesliga, it’s best to go with the hosts to win at 1.52.

 

Borussia Mönchengladbach v FC Augsburg, 14.30

Augsburg have proved to be something of a bogey team to Gladbach over the last few years. They shouldn’t be short of confidence either at the Borussia Park after they smashed Hamburg 4-0 last weekend. Gladbach though got back to winning ways at Augsburg’s relegation rivals Mainz last Saturday. Left back Nico Schulz did quite well in deputising for Oscar Wendt, scoring one and assisting the other in a 2-1 win where Gladbach just had too much for their opponents. It should be the same story on Saturday with a home win at 1.71.

 

FC Ingolstadt 04 v Bayer Leverkusen, 14.30

Having a good week’s training behind them proved little consolation for Leverkusen last Friday night when they were taken apart at home by Schalke. Their 4-1 defeat keeps them firmly in the mix for the relegation playoff and with key defender Ömer Toprak a doubt for the trip to Bavaria, things might be about to get worse.

Ingolstadt weren’t all that easy on the eye at Leipzig last week but they came away with an impressive point. They still have defensive worries with both Roger and Alfredo Morales out suspended. German magazine kicker have pointed out that the home side are the most dangerous team in the division at set pieces whilst Leverkusen are the worst side at defending them. Ingolstadt may be in the bottom two but such is the fragility of Leverkusen at present, it looks best to back the home side at 2.50.

 

Hertha BSC v RB Leipzig, 17.30

Hertha remain fifth in the table despite their horrific away form. They’re a different side at the Olympiastadion though, having won 12 of their 15 home games this season. Pal Dardai will be without Marvin Plattenhardt and John Anthony Brooks at the back, so 20-year-old Maximilian Mittelstädt and teenager Jordan Torunarigha are likely to get chances again.

Leipzig have shown the benefits to playing young talent this season. They were frustrated by Ingosltadt last weekend but even though Hertha are a force at home, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side might just benefit here from the pressure being on the home side to take the initiative. The away win is priced at 2.12.

 

SUNDAY

Hamburg SV v 1. FSV Mainz 05, 14.30

Hamburg’s third choice goalkeeper Tom Mickel was the only one to come out of their game at Augsburg with any credit last weekend. It says a lot about how bad Hamburg were given that he conceded four. This week then has seen them go on a training camp ahead of Mainz’s visit, another crucial relegation six pointer. The visitors have only won one of their last 12 away games. That was against Leverkusen when they didn’t have to do much more than turn up. Filip Kostic returning from suspension is a boost for the home side. Expect a reaction to result in a home victory with Hamburg to win at 2.38.

 

SC Freiburg v FC Schalke 04, 16.30

Schalke’s 4-1 victory over Leverkusen last weekend has kept them in with a shout of playing European football next season. They could even leapfrog Freiburg in 7th with a win on Sunday but Markus Weinzierl will be without attacking midfielder Alessandro Schöpf. He was excellent at Leverkusen but he went off after a cruciate ligament rupture.

 

Freiburg on the other hand put in a poor performance last Saturday at bottom club Darmstadt, losing 3-0. This will still be classed as a good season for Christian Streich’s side but their inconsistency could well end their challenge for a European spot. Schalke though are likely to miss Schöpf here and they usually aren’t great travellers. Back Freiburg to continue their own inconsistency by winning this then at 3.35.