Dortmund’s electric start to the season is the best in the 53-year history of the Bundesliga. Life is peachy under coach Thomas Tuchel, as the Westphalian club have collected a maximum twelve points from their outings, scoring fifteen and conceding only three goals.
Bayern matched the perfect start and plus-twelve goal difference in 1972 and 2002, but had scored fewer goals. Elsewhere, the newly promoted clubs again refused to be awed by the occasion of playing in the German top flight, Darmstadt shocking Leverkusen and Ingolstadt holding Wolfsburg. This weekend’s centrepiece sees Dortmund take on an embarrassed Leverkusen outfit with a point to prove.
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Friday 18 September
Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius kept his side in the game with their visit to Schalke, but his heroics meant little as the home side netted a late winner in a 2-1 victory. It’s won two, lost two for Mainz, and they’ll feel confident hosting a Hoffenheim side without a win all season. They managed a point at Darmstadt but have otherwise succumbed to three defeats. They almost picked up another point hosting Werder Bremen last week but lost concentration as minutes ticked away and conceded two late goals to go down 3-1. The Mainz win/draw Double Chance offers 7/20 and I’m happy with the value given the unpredictability of these affairs.
Saturday 19 September
Borussia Monchengladbach 19/10
Cologne’s unbeaten start to the season was brought to a swift end by a rampant Frankfurt side. Cologne shipped six goals to slump to a 6-2 defeat in a match that always seems to produce a glut of scoring opportunities. Peter Stoger’s men will look to put the thrashing behind them as they welcome a Gladbach side in crisis talks. The club were the best of all the Bundesliga sides in the Ruckrunde last season but have began this campaign with four miserable defeats. To compound matters, they have injury worries and Champions League football in midweek to contend with. I’m certain their luck will change soon but the 27/20 on offer for the home win is too good to pass up.
Hertha Berlin 52/10
Alarm bells with be sounding at Wolves as they were held to a 0-0 draw away from home at Ingolstadt, their first match since selling Kevin De Bruyne and Ivan Perisic. They could probably count themselves lucky to leave with the point as there was a lack of bite in attack and they were kept busy at the back. Hertha Berlin picked up a win against Stuttgart and have only lost one of their opening fixtures, against league leaders Dortmund. They picked up three points on the road against Augsburg but one has to feel that Wolves present a tougher prospect. This could be a real tense match and one Wolfsburg could be ill-prepared for given midweek exertions. Under 2.5 goals offers value at 21/20.
Werder Bremen 21/20
Werder Bremen left it agonisingly late in securing a 3-1 win away at Hoffenheim. Claudio Pizarro was introduced for his third debut in a Werder Bremen shirt and almost scored before setting up Anthony Ujah to give Bremen the lead in stoppage time. Junuzovic scored a brace either side of the goal that broke the deadlock. The home side will feel they have a real chance to break Ingolstadt’s extraordinary start to life in the top flight. The newly promoted club gave Wolfsburg a run for their money last week but the key to their success have been a resolute defence. Under 2.5 goals offers even money and is where I’ll be headed in this one.
Bayern Munich 1/6
Darmstadt faces the prospect of killing two giants in two weeks with the visit of Bayern Munich. The promoted club has had a perfect start to the season, drawing their first three outings before a gutsy performance saw them pick up their first Bundesliga win in 33 years on the road at Leverkusen. Aytac Sulu headed the club into the lead in the eighth minute before Darmstadt held tight through desperate defending. It seems unlikely that this week will follow the same script. Bayern have not looked as dominant from the start as previous seasons but four wins from four is tough to argue against. They needed a harsh penalty call to go their way to collect all three points against bogey side Augsburg but shouldn’t have a problem picking up the win here. Take the 1/6 in your multiples as Bayern are yet to be totally convincing.
Hamburger SV 29/20
Eintracht Frankfurt 17/10
Hamburg’s Pierre-Michel Lasogga bagged a brace as the side picked up their second win of the season, stunning Gladbach 3-0 away from home. They’ll probably be pleased with the two wins and two losses so far, the defeats coming to Bayern Munich and a decent looking Cologne side on the road. Hamburg welcome a Frankfurt squad high in confidence. Frankfurt slotted six past Cologne last week with Alexander Meier scoring a hat-trick in his first appearance in six months. Luc Castaignos netted his second consecutive brace while Haris Seferovic has also scored in back-to-back outings. Frankfurt have looked dangerous of late, scoring ten times in two weeks. They are tipped for the away win at 17/10.
Sunday 20 September
Stuttgart are yet to pick up a point in the campaign and are rooted to bottom of the table with Borussia Monchengladbach. Stuttgart have conceded the most times in the league - twelve - but Gladbach have an inferior goal difference. The straws left to cling to are becoming few for Stuttgart. They need to find three points, fast, but the arrival of Schalke will likely mean more hard work for the Swabians. Schalke’s only blip this season came in the form of a 3-0 loss to Wolfsburg a few weeks ago. They beat Mainz 2-1 last week to pick up a home win in a match that they dominated. It’s hit and miss backing Schalke to turn up but they should secure three points against a side that they did the double over last season.
Augsburg will feel gutted as the decision for a late penalty against Bayern Munich wrongly deprived them of a point against the German champions. While debate rages from the introduction of television technology to the amount of decisions going the way of big clubs, the fact is that Augsburg will need to pick themselves up and make sure they are not distracted with the visit of Hannover. They were basically camped inside their own half for the entire second period but will look to dominate more possession on their home patch. Hannover were thumped by Dortmund and have only their opening point with Darmstadt to show for the campaign so far. They simply don’t look up to standard this season and I can’t overlook the home win at 19/20.
Borussia Dortmund 13/20
Bayer Leverkusen 37/10
It’s nine wins in nine matches in all competitions for Dortmund this season, setting a Bundesliga record with their fine start in the process. They’ve been deadly in front of goal as evidenced again in their 4-2 victory last week. However, one area of concern for Thomas Tuchel will be a quickly exposed defence and with Dortmund having had a relatively easy schedule, the club’s first big test will be this weekend following their Champions League exertions. Luckily, Leverkusen will also feature in midweek and are coming off a disappointing home loss to new boys Darmstadt. That’s two defeats on the trot in the Bundesliga and although they consistently created chances against Darmstadt, nothing would go in. Dortmund have looked impressive and are tipped to make it five wins from five at 13/20.