Our German Bundesliga writer previews matchday 18 of the 2016/17 season.
Bayern Munich and Leipzig moved further ahead of the chasing pack with victories over the past weekend, the defending champions were made to work for the three points in Freiburg.
Dortmund leapt up the table with a win away in Bremen while Schalke and Wolfsburg both made positive starts to the second phase of the season. Hamburg, Ingolstadt and Darmstadt make up the bottom three and simply must begin picking up points or risk being cut further adrift.
Friday 27 January
Schalke 9/10 | Draw 24/10 | Eintracht Frankfurt 32/10
New signing Guido Burgstaller made a great start to life at Schalke by coming off the bench to score a stoppage time winner in a 1-0 victory over Ingolstadt. The win moved Schalke into 10th after a disastrous start to the season left the club in the relegation zone for many of the opening weeks.
Eintracht Frankfurt slumped to a 3-0 loss in Leipzig after having goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky sent off after just three minutes for handling outside of the box. It continued a worrying record that has seen Frankfurt win just one of their last five league matches. I’m tipping Under 2.5 Goals at 13/20.
Saturday 28 January
Wolfsburg 19/20 | Draw 47/20 | Augsburg 3/1
Wolfsburg eased their relegation concerns with a late winner from Mario Gomez to down Hamburg 1-0. That makes it three league wins in a row for Wolfsburg, who have moved up to 12th in the table. The departure of Julian Draxler is a big loss for the club, and they will need to improve further to allay the fears of the fans.
Augsburg lost 2-0 at home to Hoffenheim and were made to pay for lost chances early in the game. Augsburg are just a point below Wolfsburg but their erratic league form makes them tough to back away from home. A single bet on Wolfsburg at 19/20 is the way to play here.
Ingolstadt 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Hamburg 26/10
Ingolstadt conceded desperately late to leave the clash at Schalke with nothing in what was a resolute defensive display for the vast majority of the game. Ingolstadt find themselves in trouble, second-from-bottom with 12 points from 17 matches.
Hamburg are only a point above the home side, also conceding late and failing to collect a point on their visit to Wolfsburg. This is an extremely important fixture for both sides, who simply must win matches such as this if they hope to stay up. Goals are neither side’s strong point but Both Teams To Score is the tip at 9/10.
Werder Bremen 25/2 | Draw 6/1 | Bayern Munich 2/11
Werder Bremen had goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny sent off in the first half for a professional foul in their 2-1 loss to Dortmund. Having gone behind early, Bremen equalised through Fin Bartels after the red card but couldn’t hold on as Dortmund sealed all three points.
Hovering just above the relegation zone, the visit of Bayern Munich comes at a terrible time. A Robert Lewandowski double helped Bayern Munich take all three points against a motivated Freiburg side. The minnows took the lead early on but Bayern fought back admirably in a match that looked destined to finish all square. A brief look at head-to-heads shows how Werder Bremen have struggled in this fixture. Back Bayern to Win to Nil at 15/20.
Darmstadt 26/10 | Draw 22/10 | Cologne 11/10
Basement dwellers Darmstadt started life under new boss Torsten Frings by ending a run of eight consecutive Bundesliga defeats with a goalless draw at home with Borussia Monchengladbach. Still three points adrift of even Ingolstadt, every point now counts for the crisis club.
Cologne played out a goalless draw with Mainz that sees the club remain seventh in a season in which they have only lost on three occasions. It was their fifth draw from six games with only three goals scored in total in those matches. Under 2.5 Goals at 6/10 looks a great bet.
Leipzig 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Hoffenheim 34/10
Leipzig strengthened their grip on second place with a comfortable 3-0 victory over 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend. The win means Leipzig are still within three points of Bayern Munich and are primed to take advantage of any slip-ups from the defending champions.
Hoffenheim moved up to third as they extended their unbeaten run since the start of the season to 17 matches with a 2-0 win at Augsburg. These sides drew 2-2 in an entertaining reverse fixture and Both Teams To Score looks a good bet again at 15/20.
Leverkusen 17/20 | Draw 26/10 | Monchengladbach 31/10
Hakan Calhanoglu scored twice as Leverkusen turned their indifferent form around to beat Hertha Berlin 3-1 on Sunday. There was more than a hint of fortune to Leverkusen’s first two goals but the three points sees them move up two places to eighth on the table.
Monchengladbach’s misery continued as they drew 0-0 away at bottom side Darmstadt last weekend. It leaves the side with just one win from their last 12 league matches and only four points above the relegation zone. I can’t really see Monchengladbach getting anything from this match on current form. Back the home win at 17/20.
Sunday 29 January
Freiburg 27/20 | Draw 22/10 | Hertha Berlin 2/1
Freiburg fought admirably against Bayern Munich but ultimately lost the match 2-1, conceding late after opening the scoring from a well worked move. Again, eighth place with be considered a great success for Freiburg at this stage of the season and they can look to build on that with the visit of Hertha Berlin.
The team from the German capital lost 3-1 at Leverkusen in their last outing, an accidental rebound and contentious handball decision contributing to the first two goals. The Old Lady remain fifth, with the likes of Frankfurt and Cologne hot on their heels. Hertha Berlin on the Double Chance at 11/20 is the tip.
Mainz 4/1 | Draw 31/10 | Dortmund 6/10
Mainz played out a goalless draw with Cologne that sees the club remain mid-table in 11th. Mainz have been poor of late, winning only once in their last six matches. Dortmund moved up to fourth on the table with a 2-1 win away from home at Werder Bremen.
It ended a run of three Bundesliga games without a win, but being 12 points behind Bayern Munich will probably be considered a bridge too far for BVB. Andre Schurrle scored early to give Dortmund the lead before Lukasz Piszczek cancelled out Werder Bremen’s equalizer. Dortmund could well be on track for a successful second part of the season. Back the away win at 6/10.
TREBLE @ 4/1
Leverkusen Win 17/20
Leipzig BTTS 15/20
Dortmund Win 6/10
Written by Rick John Henry @Hollywoodbets