Our German Bundesliga writer previews matchday 20 of the 2016/17 season.
Despite another below-par performance, Bayern Munich moved four points clear at the top of the table thanks to Dortmund’s victory over nearest title challengers Leipzig. Bayern could only muster a draw and although manager Carlo Ancelotti will come under scrutiny, it was enough to extend their lead and move closer to another record championship.
Friday 10 February
Mainz 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Augsburg 5/2
Mainz were drilled 4-0 on the road at Hoffenheim last weekend, extending their winless run to four matches in the league. The club is still a good six points above the relegation zone in 13th but will need good results against the teams around them to ensure survival.
Augsburg are one of those sides, just two points ahead of Mainz in 10th. Raul Bobadilla struck late to snatch a 3-2 victory over Werder Bremen and follow up the win from the previous weekend. Augsburg twice came from behind before grabbing the goal deep into injury time. Both Teams to Score looks a handy bet at 17/20.
Saturday 11 February
Bayer Leverkusen 8/10 | Draw 5/2 | Ein. Frankfurt 33/10
On-loan defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos scored against his parent club to resign Leverkusen to their second consecutive loss. The German giants have only one win from their past five league games and sitting ninth, have plenty of work to do to reach their goals this season.
Eintracht Frankfurt left it late to seal all three points against bottom-of-the-log Darmstadt and occupy third on the table, seven points behind Leipzig. First a penalty before Ante Rebic made sure of the match seven minutes from time for a 2-0 win. This is bound to be a tough clash but I’m tipping a lucrative away win at 7/2.
Ingolstadt 15/2 | Draw 38/10 | Bayern Munich 7/20
Ingolstadt lost 1-0 to Hertha Berlin in a match of little action in which the travellers failed to really get going. It’s been a period of ups-and-downs for Ingolstadt since the league resumed, losing twice and winning once.
Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Schalke in their first points dropped in eight league matches. Ancelotti has been criticised for Munich’s indifferent form, somewhat laughable considering they’ve collected 22 points from a possible 24 since their loss to Dortmund in November. Back the away win at 7/20.
Werder Bremen 37/20 | Draw 49/20 | Monchengladbach 27/20
Werder Bremen twice led at Augsburg but could not hold on and eventually lost the match 3-2 with one of the final kicks of the match. It leaves the club struggling, with only goal difference separating Werder Bremen from the relegation zone.
Dieter Hecking picked up his first home win as Monchengladbach beat Freiburg 3-0 with all of the goals coming in the last 20 minutes. Captain Lars Stindl scored for the second week running to break the deadlock, building on his brace from last week against Leverkusen. The three points moved Monchengladbach up to a respectable 10th. I quite like the straight away win at 14/10 for a Monchengladbach side with momentum.
Darmstadt 15/2 | Draw 4/1 | Dortmund 3/10
Darmstadt lost 2-0 against Frankfurt as their calamitous season continued. Darmstadt have lost 14 of their 19 fixtures and have a paltry nine points to show for their efforts. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first-half header was enough for Dortmund to beat title challengers Leipzig 1-0 and move up to third, eight points behind last week’s opponents.
Manager Thomas Tuchel was adamant that the scoreline could have been far more convincing and indeed, Dortmund almost were made to settle for a draw but Leipzig’s stoppage time goal was ruled just offside. Back the away win here.
Leipzig 9/20 | Draw 32/10 | Hamburg 11/2
Leipzig were rightly denied a late stoppage time equaliser against Dortmund and instead suffered only their third loss of the campaign last weekend away from home. Leipzig were without regulars Timo Werner, Diego Demme and Marcel Sabitzer due to illness, while Emil Forsberg was absent due to suspension. They slipped four points back of Bayern and now have it all to do if they wish to maintain a realistic title challenge.
Hamburg beat Leverkusen 1-0 to register their first win of 2017 and take up the relegation playoff place. With their top players back, Leipzig should secure all three points at 9/20.
Schalke 17/20 | Draw 24/10 | Hertha Berlin 32/10
Schalke put in a resolute display to hold Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena last weekend. Naldo equalised from a free-kick minutes after Schalke had fallen behind to a Robert Lewandowski strike. Schalke have experienced every result since the league resumed but the point in Munich will undoubtedly fill them with confidence with the visit of an uncertain Hertha Berlin.
Japanese midfielder Genki Haraguchi got the Old Lady off to a dream start against Ingolstadt, scoring in the first minute. Hertha Berlin held onto the lead in a match of little chances. Berlin have lost both away matches in 2017 and are tipped to go down again. Back Schalke at 17/20.
Sunday 12 February
Wolfsburg 29/20 | Draw 47/20 | Hoffenheim 18/10
Just as it seemed that Wolfsburg may have the guts to turn an abysmal season around, they go and lose two consecutive matches to Augsburg and Cologne respectively. A late penalty resigned them to defeat against Cologne last weekend and leaves Wolves just three points clear of the relegation zone.
Hoffenheim bounced back resoundingly from their first loss of the season to thrash Mainz 4-0 and stay level on points with Dortmund - only two strikes off the pace by goal difference. One has to believe that Hoffenheim have enough to get a result here. Back them on the Double Chance at 11/20.
Freiburg 33/20 | Draw 43/20 | Cologne 33/20
Freiburg went down 3-0 to Monchengladbach last weekend in a rather tepid display away from home. Freiburg have been far more secure with home advantage this season and will be relieved to be back Schwarzwald-Stadion for an important clash with Cologne.
A home win will reduce the deficit between the two clubs to three points. A late Anthony Modeste penalty was enough for Cologne to get the better of Wolfsburg and keep the club in a congested fight for a spot in Europe. This one has a good chance of ending in a draw at 43/20 given Cologne’s results on the road and is certainly worth the punt.
TREBLE @ 53/10
Monchengladbach Win 27/20
Leipzig Win 9/20
Schalke Win 17/20
Written by Rick John Henry @Hollywoodbets