A look ahead to the Bundesliga weekend
The mercury in your thermometer may be reading a lot lower these days, but the temperature on the football pitches across Europe is only heating up, and in Germany’s Bundesliga, we have one of the most frenetic title races in quite a while.
That’s because it seems as if the usual order has been disrupted, and although the likely duo of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are in the pack of contenders, they are far from having things all their own way.
Their failure to take a stranglehold on proceedings has meant that a new wave of contenders are jostling for position at the top of the Bundesliga table, and although the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach and RB Leipzig are in the mix now, questions remain over their longevity.
That’s become when it comes to ruling the roost in Germany, Bayern Munich have been there and worn the celebratory t-shirt on more occasions than the rest of Bundesliga fraternity would care to remember.
It is perhaps this reason alone that sees Bayern still considered outright favourites to be crowned champions at the end of the season, with Sportsbet pricing the Bavarian outfit as short as 1.20.
However, just because Bayern have such a title-winning pedigree does not necessarily mean that success at the end of this season is a given, and first they will have to deliver the required results in order to return them to the top of German football.
Due to the congested nature of the title race, this could take place by the end of this extended weekend, and with another full fixture schedule on the horizon, let’s now take a look at the matches that will more than likely make the most headlines.
Bayern’s caretaker keeps it tidy
There’s no doubt that Bayern Munich have been in something of a state of flux this season, and this was no less apparent at the start of November as they sacked former Croatian international Niko Kovač from his managerial duties.
Although this decision was surprising in some quarters, it also made a lot of sense, and with Bayern going through a huge period of transition, it was clear that Kovač was not the right man to oversee it.
This meant that there was a huge vacancy to fill at the Allianz Arena. Who then would be the man to fill it? Although the likes of Arsène Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino have been linked with the position, the Bayern hierarchy have turned to a safe pair of hands for the time being.
That pair of hands is interim manager Hans-Dieter Flick, and since his appointment, he has overseen back-to-back 4-0 wins over both Borussia Dortmund and Fortuna Düsseldorf – a double showing that indicates that he is very comfortable in his new surroundings.
So much so that the Bayern board are considering giving Flick the reins until the end of the season, and at that point, they will consider any new managers who become available or give the current incumbent the job on a permanent basis.
The best way for Flick to be given the Allianz keys full-time will be to extend Bayern’s vice-like grip on the Bundesliga, and with them starting the weekend lying third in the table, there is still a little bit of work to be done.
The work starts this Saturday evening as they play host to a Bayern Leverkusen side who themselves start the weekend in ninth, and when you take that into consideration, all of the signs point to a home win.
If you think that Bayern will come out on top and subsequently add more pressure to the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach and RB Leipzig above them, then you can back them with Sportsbet at the banker-ready price of 1.30.
Stop-start for Borussia Dortmund
It’s been a rather indifferent campaign for Borussia Dortmund so far, and with the Signal Iduna Park outfit lying sixth in the table at present, Lucien Favre’s men go into the winter months playing Bundesliga catch-up.
There’s no doubting that Favre has assembled one of the most talented squads in the division, but for some reason they seem to be misfiring as of late, and whereas in previous campaigns they would make light work of their opposition, this time around it has been a completely different story.
With 26 goals being scored by the club, there is no question regarding the application of their attackers, and although they are a team that like to score their way out of trouble, it is their defence that is evidently causing them the most headaches.
Having conceded 18 goals in their first 12 league matches, they have the second-worst defence of all the teams in the top half of the table, and it is damning statistics like this that will go a long way to stopping them from being crowned champions at the end of the season.
They will look to be a lot more defensively astute this weekend as they travel to the German capital to face Hertha Berlin, and with their hosts seemingly in a relegation battle, this should be a relatively routine win.
If you think that Borussia Dortmund will enjoy their day out against Hertha and return with all three points, then you can back them with Sportsbet at 1.83 – and at that price, they are definitely worth adding to your weekend accumulator.
Monday night Mainz
A rather rare occurrence takes place in the Bundesliga at the start of next week and that is Monday night football. Although fans in England may consider this part of the culture, it is not something that has necessarily ingrained itself in Germany.
However, the show will go on regardless, and the two main protagonists on Monday are Mainz 05 and Eintracht Frankfurt, with the latter looking to build on the 2-1 Europa League win over Arsenal on Thursday night.
With three league defeats in their last four outings, it seems as if Frankfurt’s European away days have been their only cheer as of late, and they will look to transfer their continental success onto the domestic stage.
That said, Mainz have been little better as of late, with two wins and two defeats from their last four, and therefore it could be a draw that ends up being the final outcome. If you think that this will be the case, then you can back it with Sportsbet at the rather inviting 3.65.
Are you ready for another weekend of German football? Visit Sportsbet, your home Bundesliga betting.
Words: Man Ngo