Last week’s Bundesliga action certainly favoured the travelling team as only Ingolstadt and Frankfurt managed to give their home fans something to cheer about across the weekend. Of course, it did little to assist punters who favoured a few home wins in their multiples. There were no surprises for the league frontrunners in Bayern and Dortmund, who both picked up expected wins on the road.
This weekend presents an equally difficult list of fixtures to find some value and convert into cash.
Friday 29 January
Mainz began the Ruckrunde in the exact same fashion as they began the season, losing 1-0 to Ingolstadt. There was simply a lack of invention in trying to find an equaliser after a handball in the box gifted Ingolstadt a penalty. Mainz haven’t scored in three Bundesliga matches as they welcome a wounded Monchengladbach to the Coface Arena. Gladbach couldn’t prevent Dortmund sauntering to a 3-1 win to lose only the second of their last 13 Bundesliga matches. Gladbach will realise the need to get back on track and will sense an opportunity with their visit to Mainz. I’m getting behind the away win at 14/10.
Saturday 30 January
Borussia Dortmund 1/7
Dortmund completed the double in the Borussen derby with a relatively routine 3-1 win over Gladbach in a match in which I expected BVB to be pressed harder. Dortmund’s defence was tested early on but the league runners-up took control of the game following Marco Reus’ opener. The win leaves the club eight points adrift of Bayern Munich at the top of the table, but also eight points above Hertha Berlin in third. Ingolstadt picked up three points in what has become their trademark style; capitalise on some early luck to take the lead and then shut up shop. The promoted club has not slipped into the bottom third of the Bundesliga table all season and will hope to keep that record intact. This week they should experience a gulf in quality, however. Take Dortmund to Win on the Halftime-Fulltime Double at 5/10.
Bayer Leverkusen 1/4
It was another failed attempt by Leverkusen to move into the top four as a disappointing draw at league strugglers Hoffenheim collected only a point. In fact, Leverkusen required a late Omer Toprak goal to leave on level terms and simply have to capitalise on this match against a Hannover side equally as poor as last week’s opponents. Hannover occupy last place on the log with an inferior goal difference to Hoffenheim. The Reds suffered a lacklustre 2-1 loss at home to promoted Darmstadt last time out. They’ve lost their last four consecutive league matches and I can’t see them preventing a fifth here. Take the Leverkusen win despite the short price.
Eintracht Frankfurt 5/2
It was a lethargic return to league action for Augsburg, yet they’ll undoubtedly be pleased with collecting a point from a goalless draw at high-flying Hertha Berlin. The draw sees Augsburg unbeaten in six league meetings and has created a five-point gap between themselves and the drop zone. Frankfurt completed a stunning comeback at home against Wolfsburg thanks to an Alexander Meier hat-trick. Going into the break a goal down, Meier netted twice before Wolfsburg pulled one back with less than 10 minutes on the clock. However, Meier struck yet again deep into stoppage time to give Frankfurt a much-needed three points. This is a tough one to call and I’m leaning towards Both Teams To Score at 7/10.
Werder Bremen 31/20
Hertha Berlin 17/10
Werder Bremen claimed an excellent three points on the road at Schalke, creating a gap between themselves and the two clubs at the bottom of the table. It’s been a tough season for Werder Bremen but perhaps the hard-fought victory will lead to better form going forward. Hertha Berlin will be disappointed not to have claimed three points at home last week. Nevertheless, the Old Lady remain third in the league and will be intent on replicating their form from the first half of the season. Only a loss to Bayern Munich blemishes the record of their last seven league matches. It won’t be an easy trip to Bremen but I’m tipping Hertha Berlin to come away with a Win or Draw on the Double Chance at 4/10.
Darmstadt claimed a well-taken three points last weekend on the road in Hannover. A Sandro Wagner double propelled Darmstadt six points above the drop zone and the promoted club will feel it’s a job well done if they manage to maintain the gap for the remainder of the season. This will prove a difficult prospect, especially considering the visit of Schalke this weekend. Schalke failed to take their opportunity to move into fourth with a 3-1 loss at home to Werder Bremen. It leaves the club in sixth and in need of a prolonged stretch of form to make good on the promise of their youthful setup. It is never easy to travel to Darmstadt, whose main goal will be not to concede. I quite like Darmstadt to Win or Draw on the Double Chance at 7/10.
Stuttgart avenged their 3-1 loss to Cologne in the opening match of the season by coming from behind to beat the Billy Goats by the same scoreline last weekend. The win has finally seen Stuttgart move clear of the relegation zone after spending much of the season among the bottom three. Hamburg lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich, not a poor scoreline all things considered. However, it leaves their form line looking shoddy, with only one win from their last five league matches. I expect Hamburg to struggle against what seems like a rejuvenated Stuttgart side prepared for Ruckrunde heroics. Take the home win at even money.
Sunday 31 January
Wolfsburg thought they had snatched a point away at Frankfurt after Andre Schurrle scored an equaliser in the closing stages. However, it was not to be for Wolves, who have really struggled for results away from the Volkswagen Arena. Cologne remain seated firmly in mid-table but will be slightly perturbed about their 3-1 home loss to Stuttgart last time out. Having opened the scoring from an Anthony Modeste penalty, Cologne could simply not contain Stuttgart’s resolute fight back. Cologne’s form fluctuated wildly before the end of the Hinrunde so any match containing them is never an easy one to call. Having said that, it’s never wise to pass up on Wolfsburg at home. The home win at 6/10 offers enough value for me here.
Bayern Munich 1/10
Bayern Munich were nowhere near their best in their return to Bundesliga action, a 2-1 win over Hamburg proving a trickier task than expected given the recent history of Munich’s utter dominance between the two clubs. It was a rusty start to the Ruckrunde, a Robert Lewandowski brace saving Xabi Alonso’s own goal from being decisive. There is little doubt that Bayern will be back to somewhere near their dominant selves on their return to the Allianz Arena. Hoffenheim are fighting for survival, only goal difference separating them from the basement. This one seems pretty cut and dry, with Over 3.5 Goals the tip at 13/20.
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