Bundesliga Betting Guide for Matchday 31
Don't leave yet!
Yes, other major European soccer leagues are now underway, and yes, the Premier League’s return is just around the corner, but there are still plenty of reasons to stay plugged in to the Bundesliga in the weeks ahead, starting this weekend with the fourth-to-last matchday of the season.
Will we see a champion crowned? A Bayern Munich win coupled with a Borussia Dortmund loss, and it’ll happen on Saturday.
Will we see our first club pushed to the brink of relegation? Last-placed SC Paderborn would be all but down with defeat to 17th-placed Werder Bremen, especially if results elsewhere don’t go their way.
And what of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League places? It’s still too close to call between RB Leipzig, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen for the final two spots in the world’s top club competition, while VfL Wolfsburg, TSG Hoffenheim and SC Freiburg are still very much in contention for a lesser -- but still potentially lucrative -- European adventure in 2020-21.
It’s with that lens that we examine some of the more intriguing Matchday 31 contests, the full list of which you can find at FanDuel Sportsbook. For insight on three matches that caught our attention this week in the German top division, read on…
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs RB Leipzig
Friday’s lone fixture features two top-half sides who are both on long unbeaten runs, yet it simultaneously feel like they’re losing steam as the season nears its close.
Leipzig still remain in third place and haven’t lost since January -- a run of 11 straight matches without defeat in the league -- but with two wins and three draws in their last five, they’ve looked average since play resumed after the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.
Some of that is likely down to injury. The Red Bulls have missed target-man Yussuf Poulsen, who will sit out his fourth straight match with an ankle problem Friday, while influential midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has been in and out of the lineup with an undisclosed muscle tweak and is a doubt for this weekend.
ℹ️ Squad update ahead of #TSGRBL
Marcel #Sabitzer is still suffering from a muscle problem. Whether he can feature against @achtzehn99_en, will be decided during tomorrow’s training session.
Dayot #Upamecano is suspended following his sending off against @SCPaderborn07. pic.twitter.com/VhP69ZSUmT
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) June 10, 2020
Some of Leipzig’s relative malaise is also likely a product of the impending transfers of some of their key players -- chief among them leading scorer/soon-to-be Chelsea signing Timo Werner -- and that, combined with Bayern Munich’s inevitable run to the title, have likely made motivation an issue down the stretch.
Still, all that looks positively rosy after you peer at what’s happening at Hoffenheim,
Despite having recently surged into seventh in the league on the back of two wins and two draws in their last four -- a run of form that has them just two points back of Europa League qualification -- TSG chose to shake things up on Tuesday by parting ways with first-year manager Alfred Schreuder due to a “conflict of vision.”
#TSG Hoffenheim and Alfred Schreuder have ended their collaboration.
The club came to an agreement with the 47 year old to terminate his contract with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/bQBQXmYUoF
— TSG Hoffenheim EN (@achtzehn99_en) June 9, 2020
The former Ajax man will be replaced for the remainder of the year by a group of assistants instead of one head coach -- which always works, right? -- and they now also have to deal with the absence of captain Benjamin Hübner, who’ll serve a one-match ban for his ninth-minute red card in Hoffenheim’s 2-2 draw at Fortuna Düsseldorf last Saturday.
The lack of leadership for the home side at PreZero Arena is cause for concern, but here’s the biggest statistical reason why taking the favorites is the smart play in this fixture: Leipzig has a goal difference of +43 on the season, third-best in the league. Meanwhile, with a -8 goal difference, Hoffenheim are a staggering 51 goals worse than their East German opponents across the season.
Add in the fact that RB manager Julian Nagelsmann knows TSG better than anyone after spending the previous three seasons there -- he soundly beat his former club 3-1 in the reverse fixture this December -- and it all feels like too big a mountain to climb for the club from Sinsheim.
In short, bank on favored Leipzig’s unbeaten run continuing at Hoffenheim’s expense.
VfL Wolfsburg vs SC Freiburg
Freiburg at +380
Here’s a stat for you…
Since the Bundesliga restarted on May 16, 46 matches have been played.
Home teams have won just 10 of those, going a dismal 10-22-14 in the five matchdays played without fans in attendance.
The poster boys of late for the home-away discrepancy have been Wolfsburg, who’ve been perfect away from the Volkswagen Arena since the league kicked on but are 0-2 inside of it.
And while the Wolves’ away form has carried them since the league resumed -- they’ve gone 3-2-0 overall compared to a 1-2-2 mark for Christian Streich’s squad -- they’re only four points ahead of a Freiburg side that’s surging after an impressive 1-0 win against Gladbach last Friday.
One of only four teams to remain in the league’s top half all season, the defense-minded Black Forest club has been a model of consistency, plus they’ve gone unbeaten in their last three against Wolfsburg, including a 1-0 win over Oliver Glasner’s charges in December.
SC Freiburg doesn’t have any star names on the roster and might not be the sexiest pick, but they’re great value as a road underdog on Saturday against a team that’s posted the sixth-fewest points at home all season.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Draw at +450 or M’gladbach at +650
Here we go again…
Yes, it’s true that two weeks ago I may have encouraged you to consider Fortuna Düsseldorf’s upset chances against the champions-elect.
We all know how that turned out.
Bayern last lost on 7 December.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 10, 2020
Still, even though Bayern are on an imperious 21-match unbeaten run in all competitions and have gone 16 games without defeat in the league -- a fact made more impressive when you consider they’ve won 15 and drawn just once in that span -- it would be a mistake to assume every matchday is going to be an automatic win for the Bavarian giants, beginning this weekend against a Gladbach side that’s currently fourth in the table.
Even though they trail the league leaders by 14 points, the Foals have a legitimate shot this Saturday at the Allianz Arena, in large part because of who’s not available for the home team.
ICYMI -- Bayern will be without the services of the league’s leading scorer, Robert Lewandowski, and the league’s leading assist man, Thomas Müller, both of whom are out this weekend due to yellow card accumulation.
Hansi Flick will also likely be missing star winger Serge Gnabry, who was held out of Wednesday’s cup match with a back injury, plus it’s unlikely creative midfielder Philippe Coutinho will have sufficiently recovered from an ankle issue to make his first appearance since the league resumed in May.
How important are Lewandowski, Müller and Gnabry to this side’s success? The trio have combined for 54% of Bayern’s 90 league goals this campaign -- 49 of a near Bundesliga-record 90 tallies -- and 47% of the club’s assists.
No one’s doubting how deep Bayern are, but that’s a lot of production to replace.
Those key personnel losses are concerning enough, but don’t forget that Bayern played a full-strength XI midweek in their 2-1 semifinal win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Pokal, meaning the squad will be stretched thin for Saturday.
And while it’s true that Bayern haven’t lost since December, the last team to beat them happens to be the side they’re hosting this weekend. (To refresh your memory, Gladbach defeated Bayern 2-1 in the reverse fixture on December 7, their third win in the last five against the 29-time German champions.)
A new week. A new challenge.#MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/HFXbDO96xU
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) June 8, 2020
The counter to all this is that Mönchengladbach haven’t been playing their best lately. They’ve picked up just one win in their last four, and they’ll be without joint-leading scorer Alassane Plea via suspension.
But even with the form table somewhat against them -- and their opposition knowing three points might be enough to clinch their eighth league title in a row -- Marco Rose and Co. still need this match more, as they’re ahead of Bayer Leverkusen for Germany’s final Champions League spot on only goal difference alone.
The Reds have run their race incredibly well and clearly have one of the best teams in all of Europe, but all streaks have to end at some point, right?
Don’t be shocked if the Foals earn at least a point this Saturday in Munich -- and I'm not even adding a disclaimer this time.