Raphael Honigstein’s Bundesliga Betting: Expect goals galore as top two go head-to-head with little at stake

Bayer Leverkusen v 1. FC Köln

It looks like Bayer Leverkusen are going to squeak to safety despite having their worst Bundesliga season in 14 years. Only an equaliser from 17-year-old midfield prodigy Kai Havertz rescued a point for them away at Ingolstadt last weekend. It means Cologne, their rivals from across the Rhine, are guaranteed to finish above them for the first time in 21 years.

Peter Stöger’s side are in considerably better shape than Leverkusen as they chase a spot in the Europa League. Cologne have failed to win any of their last six away games but judging by last week’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Bremen and Leverkusen’s dreadful recent displays, they’ll be more incisive than their hosts to win this at 3.70.


FC Schalke 04 v Hamburg SV

Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol admitted on Thursday his side hadn’t played the prettiest football in their goalless draw against Mainz last weekend. They’re still in the relegation playoff spot with confidence in the team looking very low at present. Schalke haven’t quite plumbed the same depths as Hamburg but their defeat to Freiburg was tame. This may not need to be a case of Schalke being the better side. Relying on Hamburg being worse should do. Take the home team to win at 2.04.


1. FSV Mainz 05 v Eintracht Frankfurt

No two sides have collected less Bundesliga points in 2017 than Mainz and Eintracht Frankfurt. There’s much more pressure on the home side to win with Mainz only out of the relegation playoff spot on goal difference. Eintracht Frankfurt are still riddled with injuries but have the bonus of a DFB-Cup final to look forward to in a fortnight. They’ve won one of their last 13 games meaning they’ve slid out of the European places. As the form suggests, the home side aren’t playing particularly well either but back them to grind out a crucial win at 1.69.


VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Mönchengladbach

Dieter Hecking started the season as Wolfsburg coach but this weekend sees him return to Lower Saxony in charge of Gladbach. They were fortunate in the end to scrape a 1-1 draw with Augsburg last weekend. Wolfsburg on the other hand came up with a vital win at Frankfurt to give themselves a two point cushion over Hamburg in the relegation playoff spot. It’s been difficult however to know what to expect from Andries Jonker’s side in recent weeks. Gladbach have looked capable away from home under Dieter Hecking and at 4.10, they’re worth backing here.


FC Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund

Had it not been for an injury time equaliser against them at the Borussia Park, then Augsburg would be all but safe from the relegation battle. Instead, they’re just two points above Hamburg and now they face the unenviable task of playing Champions League chasers Dortmund and Hoffenheim in their last two games. They have improved though in recent weeks as their display against Gladbach confirmed. Plus, the eminent tension at Dortmund between Thomas Tuchel and Hans-Joachim Watzke could well have an impact on the visitors. The need for points on both sides should result in an entertaining game with over 3.5 goals a good shout at 2.28.


SV Darmstadt v Hertha BSC

A run of seven defeats in ten games hasn’t meant Hertha have slipped out of the Bundesliga’s European positions just yet. The thing they’ve needed to correct more than anything in 2017 is their away form, with Pal Dardai’s side having lost each of their last nine games on the road. Playing away at the team bottom of the table may look like the place to end that run.

Yet Darmstadt were relegated at Bayern last week despite losing 1-0 after a surprisingly good display. The pressure’s certainly off the Lilies and given that they’ve won three of their last four home games, it’s worth backing Hertha’s miserable away form to continue at 3.45.


SV Werder Bremen v TSG Hoffenheim

Werder Bremen’s eleven match unbeaten run ended in entertaining fashion at Cologne last Friday. Their 4-3 defeat was a return to the Bremen of old as they came apart at the back. Serge Gnabry did come off the bench and score, so expect him to start against Hoffenheim.

They were incensed by poor refereeing decisions in their defeat to Dortmund last week. The Hoffe struggled to create chances but with influential Bremen defender Niklas Moisander out suspended, you’d anticipate them to have a little more joy here. Don’t expect the home side to be particularly shy either with European football still a possibility. In short, go for over 3.5 goals at 2.08.


SC Freiburg v FC Ingolstadt

With two games to play, Ingolstadt remain in the automatic relegation places and four points adrift of Hamburg in 16th. Realistically, they have to win their last two games starting with their trip to the Black Forest. Coach Maik Walpurgis spoke of his belief in his players on Thursday but Freiburg have aspirations of their own. Remarkably, the promoted side sit in 5th, a Europa League group stage spot, after beating Schalke 2-0 last Sunday. That was their third straight home win and Christian Streich isn’t likely to tinker with that particular winning formula. Such is the emphasis on Ingolstadt to win, they might open up a bit more here. Expect the home side to take advantage and relegate them at 2.43.


RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich

There’s not a lot riding on the Bundesliga’s top two clash this weekend with Bayern champions and Leipzig securing their place in the Champions League group stages last weekend. Then again, such was the manner that Bayern breezed past Leipzig in the first fixture, the home side certainly have a point to prove against the champions.

As for Bayern, a broken collarbone has ruled out Javi Martinez for the final two games so Jerome Boateng will line up alongside Mats Hummels at centre back. Third choice goalkeeper Tom Starke will be in goal again with Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich both injured. Expect Leipzig to take the game to them and for that to result in over 3.5 goals at 2.55.