Dortmund and Bayern Munich have made perfect starts to the 2015 Bundesliga campaign. The entrenched German giants look the teams to beat this season, which is no change to the status quo for the Bavarians.
Dortmund have experienced a hearty resurgence under the tutelage of Thomas Tuchel and will feel they have the quality in their ranks to challenge Munich’s stranglehold of the German championship. Elsewhere, the promoted sides have made a mockery of the gap between the leagues and look just fine with life in the top flight.
Friday 11 September
Borussia Monchengladbach 7/10
Hamburger SV 37/10
Gladbach are rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table, not an ideal situation considering the looming prospect of Champions League football. Losses to Dortmund, Mainz and Werder Bremen has left them yet to pick up a point and last gameweek, they gave away two penalties, one missed, one converted. Lars Stindl’s first goal for the club turned out to be in vain and they’ll welcome the visit of stuttering Hamburg. The visitors have conceded nine goals in three games but did manage to secure a win against Stuttgart. The tide has to turn soon for Gladbach and I’m unsure whether Hamburg has enough to take the three points here. Back the home side to get back to winning ways at 7/10.
Saturday 12 September
Hertha Berlin 13/10
The Old Lady were the first Bundesliga side to score against league leaders Dortmund this season but still succumbed 3-1. Hertha Berlin have so far failed to address their inconsistencies of last season, evident in their form line. Played three, won one, lost one, drawn one. They’re always a bit of a wild card, able to hold their own against perceivably bigger clubs yet seemingly bereft of positive momentum. This is certainly a quality lacking in the Stuttgart camp at present, as the club have conceded ten goals and lost all three of their opening fixtures. The heroics to evade relegation last season seems to have had little impact on the squad. The pair have scored in all of their opening games this season and Both Teams to Score seems a shrewd bet at 13/20.
Borussia Dortmund 9/20
Hannover’s woeful beginning to the new season continued last gameweek as they lost 3-0 to Mainz away from home. Aside from a point picked up in a draw with newly promoted Darmstadt, Hannover have nothing to show from the opening exchanges. It must be said that they’ve had a difficult opening draw, but losing 3-0 to fifth-tier side Rotenburger SV in a friendly doesn’t bode well. Welcoming on-fire Dortmund to the HDI-Arena is a recipe for disaster. Dortmund’s flying start to the season continued in their 3-1 win against Hertha Berlin, if somewhat more hard fought than recent fixtures. Since Jurgen Klopp’s last match in charge - the DFB-Pokal final loss to Wolfsburg - Dortmund have won fourteen on their fifteen fixtures, including pre-season friendlies. They’ve scored plenty of goals in ruthless displays home and away and are tipped to Score in Both Halves at even money.
Bayern Munich 1/8
The Reds maintained their 100% record with a comfortable 3-0 win against would-be title challengers Bayer Leverkusen. Thomas Muller has made a scintillating start to the season and now has five goals from the first three matches. Douglas Costa has been hugely influential with a goal and four assists, yet veteran winger Arjen Robben hit out out at the Brazilian for his “circus tricks” towards the end of the match. Augsburg slumped to a loss against newly promoted Ingolstadt and are still left awaiting their first win of the season. Augsburg actually left with the three points in this fixture last season, a mere four months ago. However, Munich were in the throes of an injury crisis and focussed on Champions League glory. Although Augsburg have won two of their last three Bundesliga matches with the Bavarian giants I don’t hold much hope for them here. Back Bayern on the halftime-fulltime double at 9/20.
Bayer Leverkusen 1/4
Leverkusen would have been disappointed that they weren’t able to give the German champions a decent run for their money last gameweek. They gave away two penalties, neither of which should have been awarded if one believes manager Roger Schmidt. He was however tactful in admitting that his side were not good enough on the day and perhaps fatigued from midweek exertions against Lazio. Darmstadt are as yet unbeaten in the top flight, compiling three successive draws. The fact that they have been able to hold the likes of Hoffenheim, Schalke and Hannover will give them confidence, but one must feel that this Leverkusen side has enough quality to get the home win against a stubborn opponent. In the quest for value I’ll be tipping a Home Clean Sheet at 7/10.
Bundesliga new boys Ingolstadt stole the derby bragging rights with a 1-0 win away at Augsburg in their last league outing. Mathew Leckie scored a peach of a goal from range to break the deadlock in the second half and Ingolstadt claimed their second win of the campaign. Their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Dortmund aside, the club has fared well so far and will be hoping for more positive results. But the visit of Wolfsburg will be a big ask as last season’s runners-up are as yet unbeaten. Wolfsburg has strengthened the ranks following the sale of Kevin de Bruyne, most notably in the form of Schalke playmaker Julian Draxler. Wolves also acquired the services of Bayern Munich’s Dante as well as Tottenham’s youth player Ismail Azzaoui. New-look Wolves should have enough to dispatch Ingolstadt at 17/20.
Eintracht Frankfurt 13/10
Frankfurt picked up their first win of the season last gameweek with a 4-1 drubbing of Stuttgart on the road. Luc Castaignos scored a brace to mark his arrival in the Bundesliga and rounded out a good all-round performance from Frankfurt, who only conceded due to a poor offside call. They host a Cologne side that is as yet unbeaten and whose form will be giving real hope to supporters who were given a rough ride last term in their first season back in the top flight. Wins over Stuttgart and Hamburg came either side of a hard fought draw with Wolfsburg and they will hopeful of picking up a result here. The two sides both won their respective home fixtures against the opposition last season but what was noticeable is that more than five goals were scored in each. Over 2.5 Goals at 7/10 offers enough value for the trend.
Sunday 13 September
Werder Bremen 26/10
Hoffenheim wasted late chances in their matchup with Darmstadt and eventually the sides shared the spoils in a goalless draw. The stalemate gave Hoffenheim their first points of the campaign following two defeats and they’ll hope that being back at home can bring them their first win of the season. Werder Bremen picked up their first victory with a 2-1 win over hapless Gladbach. News in the Bremen camp comes in the form of Claudio Pizarro and his third stint at the club. Werder Bremen has snapped up the Peruvian on a one-year contact for free after the striker left Bayern Munich (a club he joined twice). Hoffenheim haven’t beaten Werder Bremen since 2010 and the away side is tipped on the Double Chance at 8/10.
Schalke were largely powerless as they were dominated by a ruthless Wolfsburg side missing their top stars in the previous gameweek. The 3-0 loss indicates that there is still a lot of work to be done if Schalke are to challenge for a place in the Champions League next season. The loss of Julian Draxler, while lucrative for the club and to be fair, done after the player failed to impress due to injury problems, is still a significant blow for the team as a whole. However, the loan of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich adds some necessary young quality in midfield. Mainz lost their opening game of the campaign to Ingolstadt but have since rallied to victories over Gladbach and Hannover. They are dangerous side when the tide is with them and capable of shocking clubs like Schalke. I’m tipping Mainz to win or draw on the Double Chance at 19/20.