Bundesliga: Down to the Wire in Deutschland

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RB Leipzig 0-0 Bayern Munich

After their victory over Hamburg last weekend, coupled with nearest rivals Borussia Dortmund being held by Werder Bremen, this was billed by many as the day Bayern Munich would clinch a seventh successive Bundesliga title.

The us Bundesliga betting odds predicted it too, even though this was always going to be a tough fixture.

And so it proved as RB Leipzig consolidated third spot and held the champions to ensure the most thrilling title race for years in Germany will go down to the final day of the season next weekend.

Highlights of the game

Perhaps a goalless draw meant both sides didn’t want to give too much away ahead of their German Cup Final clash in a fortnight’s time.

Either way, we weren’t short of Bundesliga highlights despite the lack of goals.

The Red Bull Arena anticipated an exciting contest and it got one.

Bayern fans received a pre-match boost when top scorer Robert Lewandowski was passed fit to play, despite a scare in training.

That certainly helped the visitors who were already missing Manuel Neuer, Javi Martinez and James Rodriguez.

Yet there was no chance of Leipzig taking it easy, even if they have already secured Champions League football for next season, as they extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches.

Timo Werner has stopped to lead RB Leipzig after experiencing pain during their Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich

RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner lies on the ground in pain during their Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich

From the first whistle, the hosts were full of energy and Timo Werner was a lively outlet.

Bayern had early chances, however, with Serge Gnabry hitting a tame effort straight at Peter Gulacsi and Lewandowski firing wide after the home keeper managed to pressure the Polish frontman.

Up at the other end, Yussuf Poulsen saw a shot blocked by Mats Hummels who then crucially deflected a Marcel Sabitzer attempt to safety.

A Gnabry volley and Werner shot raised brief alarm bells at either end as a feisty opening half drew to a close.

Five minutes into the second period came the main talking point of the afternoon.

A Gnabry cross was only half cleared by Ibrahima Konate and Leon Goretzka sent a smart volley into the net only for Lewandowski to be ruled marginally offside, courtesy of VAR.

It prompted Bayern’s best spell of the encounter with the impressive Gulacsi smothering a Thomas Muller cross before Gnabry struck the corner of post and bar – an offside flag subsequently meant it would not have counted anyway.

Wing wizards Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, nearing the end of their Bayern careers, were both brought on as Niko Kovac’s men chased a title-clinching victory.

That looked to have arrived in the closing stages but a combination of Gulacsi and Konate kept out Lewandowski who then fired a free-kick within inches of the goal with the keeper motionless.

Since their destruction of Dortmund a month ago, Bayern have been clear favourites to retain the title.

And while they still are, this result, coupled with Dortmund’s 3-2 success against Dusseldorf, means they are now only two points clear with one game remaining.

A draw in their final league match will be enough to retain their crown, assuming Dortmund do not win by 18 goals!

History is certainly with Bayern but, for now, this title race is still very much alive.

Key statistics

This was Rafinha’s 266th competitive match for Bayern, drawing him level with fellow Brazilian Giovane Elber.

Bayern Munich and Leipzig have both scored 11 times in the first 15 minutes of matches this season – more than any other teams in the German top flight.

Leipzig are unbeaten in their last 15 (won 10, drawn five). That is a new club record.

Gulacsi has kept more clean sheets this season (16) than any other custodian. Bayern stopper Sven Ulreich has four shut-outs in eight league games this term.

Ribery could win a record-breaking ninth Bundesliga title if Bayern are crowned champions next week, one more than fellow club legends Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl.

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A side on top of the Bundesliga going into the final day of the season has only been defeated three times in history. The last occasion was in 1999-2000 when Bayer Leverkusen lost away to Unterhaching and Bayern celebrated the championship winning 3-1 at home to Werder Bremen and claiming the title due to their superior goal difference.

With an average of 3.14 goals per match, the Bundesliga is the European top-flight league with the most goals in the 2018-19 season – ahead of the Premier League (2.80), Serie A (2.66), La Liga (2.57) and Ligue 1 (2.55).

What’s next?

Leipzig finish their league campaign at Werder Bremen next weekend, while Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt – with revenge on their mind – before the DFB Cup Final between these two on May 25.

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Bundesliga: Bayern on the Brink of 7th Straight Title

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RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich’s visit to third-place RB Leipzig could have been a pivotal game in the Bundesliga title race. But with Borussia Dortmund’s inability to keep pace in the last few weeks, the pressure is off Bayern as they more or less have another championship all wrapped up.

If the leaders win at Leipzig — and the Bundesliga 2019 odds have them favoured to do so — they will officially clinch their seventh consecutive Bundesliga crown with one game to spare. They could also clinch if Dortmund lose to Fortuna Dusseldorf, which they’ve already done this season.

Leipzig have been in absolutely fabulous form, though, and will not want to surrender any momentum against Bayern ahead of their DFB Pokal final scheduled in a couple weeks’  time.

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Talking Points

Leipzig in fine form

RB Leipzig lost their opening match after the winter break, going down 1-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund. Since then, though, they’ve been simply unbeatable, winning 13 out of their last 17 games in all competitions. That includes the DFB Pokal, where they will face off against Bayern in the final.

As for their Bundesliga 2019 results, they have won 10 of their last 14, the lone team to remain undefeated during that span of time. And the 34 points they picked up were second only to their next opponents, Bayern, who had 35 during that same stretch.

The Leipzig defence has helped fuel their amazing unbeaten run. They’ve conceded a mere nine goals in those last 14 games, three goals fewer than Bayern.

However, three of those nine goals came in a shock 3-3 draw at Mainz last week, which snapped their six-match winning streak. Leipzig had gone 3-1 up inside 50 minutes but surprisingly gave up two late goals to drop the two points.

Perhaps a return home is what Leipzig need to bounce back. They’ve won their last three games at the Red Bull Arena, scoring nine goals and conceding just one.

Bayern almost there

It has been far from a vintage season for Bayern Munich. The German giants have been nowhere near as dominant as they have been in years’ past as manager Niko Kovac has had his problems in his first — and possibly only — year in charge. Former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has recently been linked with the Bayern job.

However, Bayern have still been good enough to outlast a young Dortmund side which finally ran out of steam in the last few weeks in one of the tighter title races in a while.

Bayern bounced back from their shock draw against relegated Nurnberg by comfortably beating bottom side Hannover at home, 3-1. It was Bayern’s 10th win in their last 12 league matches; they drew the other two games.

Nico Kovac know Bayern Munich can afford two draws from their remaining two Bundesliga games

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac call on his player during the match

Bayern have been a little less consistent away from home, though. Their only loss this year came away at Leverkusen. And while they have hammered sides like Borussia Monchengladbach and Fortuna Dusseldorf away from the Allianz, they have also suffered setbacks in the form of draws against unheralded sides in Freiburg and Nurnberg.

Although, a case could be made that those results were merely due to complacency. There’s unlikely to be such a lax mentality when Bayern visit Leipzig with the chance to wrap up another championship.

History

With RB Leipzig only being in existence for less than a decade, there is obviously not much history between them and Bayern. The two sides have met each other just six times in total, with Bayern winning five and Leipzig one.

However, Leipzig’s one win came in Bayern’s visit to the Red Bull Arena last season. The two teams’ only other Bundesliga meeting in Leipzig was a wild 5-4 shootout in 2017, which Bayern won. Leipzig also held Bayern to a draw at home in the 2017-18 DFB Pokal and lost on penalties.

Bayern just about edged Leipzig in their first meeting at the Allianz Arena this season as Franck Ribery scored the lone goal of the game.

Betting Tip

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RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich 1X2 RB Leipzig Win @ 4.50
May 05, 21:30(GMT+8)

It’s the end of the season, so why not go out on a big swing? As has been laid out above, Leipzig have simply been phenomenal over the past couple of months. Their defence — excluding last week’s hiccup — has been airtight and should give Bayern’s attack some problems.

If there’s a fixture where this good-but-not-great Bayern side can suffer defeat, it’s away from home against an in-form Leipzig side that are at the very least as good as the leaders.

us odds currently have a Leipzig win in the 1X2 market priced at 4.50, and unlike most of Bayern’s opponents, it has a legitimate shot of paying out when it’s all said and down.

Look for Leipzig to beat Bayern, who might have to wait another week to wrap up the title.

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Bundesliga: Bayern’s Steely Focus now on Dusseldorf

Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Bayern Munich

FC Bayern continues its quest to win a record seventh successive Bundesliga this weekend when they take on Fortuna Dusseldorf at the 54,000 capacity Esprit Arena.

This will be a cracking game for us Bundesliga fans, probably with a few goals and possibly with an upset. Fortuna has disturbed the odds a few times already on its return to the top flight, and with no risk of relegation the hosts will play with freedom in front of a passionate crowd.

The reigning champions are in superb form, taking ten points from the last four league games and scoring for fun. But they will need to be at, or near their best to win in Dusseldorf, with the added pressure of second placed Borussia Dortmund playing at home to Mainz on Saturday, and likely to return to the top of the table before Die Roten play.

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Talking Points

Fortuna loves a big game

They adore their football in Dusseldorf and now they are back in the big time, after promotion last season, they are having a ball. Sitting pretty in tenth place the hosts are 16 points above the drop zone and playing with freedom. Head coach Friedhelm Funkel has been with the club for three years now, and leading his side back to the top flight last season was Funkel’s sixth promotion, a record in Germany.

This season he’s lifted his team to great heights and they have rarely been out of the Bundesliga 2019 news, handing out plenty of bloody noses to the top sides. They have taken a point from RB Leipzig and beaten Hoffenheim and BVB, as well as taking a stunning point from FC Bayern in the return fixture, when Dodi Lukebakio completed a hat-rick with a dramatic 93rd minute equaliser.

Fortuna has players who can hurt an opposition. Benito Raman has nine goals, Lukebakio has eight and former Burnley striker Rouwen Hennings has five. He bagged a brace in the first 16 minutes when Fortuna shocked fifth placed Borussia Monchengladbach two weeks ago with a 3-1 win in front of a capacity crowd.

Austrian midfielder Kevin Stoger is an influential figure, making six assists while picking up seven yellow cards.

And Bayern will know they have been in a game – only FC Schalke has picked up more yellow cards than Fortuna this season!

Fortuna Dusseldorf have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 Bundesliga matches

Dusseldorf’s Dodi Lukebakio gestures after scoring his side’s third goal against Bayern Munich

Bayern’s Bundesliga nous

Die Roten is a club which knows how to win Bundesligas.

Kovac’s side has kept its nerve after a sluggish start to the campaign, stalking long time leaders Borussia Dortmund for most of the season and then delivering a near fatal blow with a 5-0 hammering of their rivals last week. But the players know the job is not yet done. Robert Lewandowski is back to his sharpest form, scoring his 21st league goal of the season in that rout, and FC Bayern is blessed with title winning experience, and the likes of Thiago, Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich are unlikely to buckle under the pressure now. And Kovac’s squad could be boosted by the addition of Arjen Robben, returning from injury.

History

Fortuna is a club which has been through tough times, almost reaching rock bottom at the turn of the millennium, slipping as low as the fourth tier of German football, and between 2001 and 2003 they were sponsored by punk band Die Toten Hosen!

But now the good times have returned and their home matches don’t disappoint; the Fortuna faithful hasn’t seen a stalemate all season, watching seven wins and seven defeats.

The head-to-heads don’t auger well for the hosts though. Bayern has won eight of the last ten and there have been two draws.

And the visitors have scored 17 goals in their last four games in all competitions. Meanwhile, Fortuna has won four and lost two in the last six games, all of which have yielded three goals or more.

Betting Tip

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Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Bayern Munich Over 3.50 goals @1.90
April 14, 20:30(GMT+8)

We expect to see a two goal margin in this game as the Fortuna vs FC Bayern betting odds show clearly, with the hosts at 1.97 to win with a +2.00 start, and FC Bayern at 1.96 with that -2.00 handicap.

FC Bayern is out of the Champions League and so have their full focus on winning yet another Bundesliga title, and the odds suggest this game should be another step towards that aim.

But Fortuna has showed, time and time again, that it has no respect for reputation and we could see some fireworks in Dusseldorf.

I hope so anyway!

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Bayern rout rivals Dortmund

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich thrashed title rivals Borussia Dortmund 5-0 at the Allianz Arena to return to the summit with only six games remaining.

Dortmund, who were two points clear heading into the match, were shell-shocked as Bayern tore them apart scoring four first-half goals.

Strikes from Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Serge Gnabry and Javi Martinez ensured the game labelled the "biggest in Europe this season" was all over before it properly begun.

Bayern, who are chasing a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title, added a fifth from Lewandowski late in the contest.

Only Gerd Muller (234 games) has scored 200 goals in the Bundesliga quicker than the Polish international's 284 games.

Dortmund were nine points clear at the top back in December and on course to halt Bayern's domestic domination, but the champions have ruthlessly taken advantage of the stuttering form of their rivals to claw back the deficit and are in pole position entering the home straight.

Lewandowski has now scored 15 goals in this fixture (14 for Bayern, one for Dortmund) – surpassing Muller's previous record of 14.

The ex-Dortmund striker has become the scourge of his former employers, as he became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in five consecutive games against a former club.

Despite this major setback, Bayern's slip-up last week against Freiburg suggests there could still be more twists to come over the final weeks of the season.

Bayern are 3/10 to win the German title, with Dortmund now 5/2 following their chastising experience in Munich.

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Bundesliga: Bayern Blitz Shell-Shocked Borussia

Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund

It was described by some as the ‘biggest game of the season in Europe’.

The scene was set in Bavaria for a potential title decider, the likes of which the Bundesliga had not seen for some time.

Indeed, it was 2012 that Borussia Dortmund, then managed by Jurgen Klopp, managed to edge a thrilling title race, inspired by the goals of Robert Lewandowski on their way to a league and cup double.

As so often has happened, it was a short-lived reign as Bayern Munich have gone onto win the last six titles and signed Dortmund stars, Lewandowksi included, along the way.

This season, however, has been slightly different.

At the start of December, the title race looked to be over with Dortmund nine points clear at the top, before Bayern took advantage of the stuttering form of their rivals to claw back the deficit including a run of six straight wins.

Although Dortmund title jitters struck, particularly when they inexplicably threw away a three goal lead at home to Hoffenheim, they found themselves back on top as they travelled to the Allianz Arena.

A 1-1 draw at Freiburg for the champions last week, coupled with a late Paco Alcacer show as the yellow and blacks beat Wolfsburg, meant Dortmund had the advantage before kick-off to regain the initiative ahead of the 100th Klassiker.

Highlights of the Game

The last time Dortmund – or any other team – were ahead of Bayern after 27 games of the season was back in 2012 so there was genuine hope a good result here could pave the way for a title triumph.

Borussia Dortmund lose to title rivals Bayern Munich for top spot on Bundesliga table

Devastated Borussia Dortmund players leave the pitch after a Bundesliga loss to Bayern Munich

How deluded we were as Dortmund’s former stars again made them pay for not being able to keep hold of their big stars.

Had Mahmoud Dahoud found the net instead of the woodwork after eight minutes, the visitors may have settled down and nerves dissipated.

However, just two minutes later Mats Hummels powered home a header from a corner against his former club and Bayern were on their way.

Seven minutes later and the Bundesliga betting odds turned even further in favour of the champions.

It was a moment which will give Dortmund’s teenage defender Dan-Axel Zagadou nightmares as he passed the ball straight to another of Dortmund’s former favourite sons, Lewandowski, and the Pole does not let such opportunities go begging.

Dortmund had committed self-destruct and Lewandowski, the first player in Bundesliga history to score five goals against a former club, and his team were unforgiving.

Bayern had actually lost the last four clashes with Dortmund when they found themselves behind their rivals in the standings but, 17 minutes in, and this game was all but up.

The underdog leaders simply had no answer as Bayern produced two more Bundesliga 2019 highlights before the break to deflate the visitors.

After Lewandowski saw a shot blocked, Javi Martinez guided the ball into the bottom corner. Then Serge Gnabry was left completely unmarked to head home a Thomas Muller cross.

Lucien Favre’s beleaguered players could do no more than go through the motions in the second period as Bayern eased off the pace.

Yet they still found time to rub salt in the wounds when Lewandowski netted his second a minute from time.

How Dortmund now react will be key as this was as chastising an evening as they could imagine.

Few us fans will bet against Bayern sealing a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title and, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery due to depart, the club is already looking to the future.

They have agreed a club record £68 million deal to sign defender Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid, as well as France international team-mate Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart for a reported £31 million.

Dortmund may not be able to afford that but need, at the very least, to keep onto the players that have taken them this far to keep alive their dreams of glory.

Right at this moment in time, that seems a long way away.

Key Statistics

Lewandowski is the fifth player (and the first foreigner) to score 200 Bundesliga goals, behind Gerd Muller (365), Klaus Fischer (268), Jupp Heynckes (220) and Manfred Burgsmuller (213).

Lewandowski has scored 15 Klassiker goals: 14 for Bayern and one for Dortmund; one ahead of the great Muller.

Hummels is only the second player to have scored in each of the last 11 Bundesliga seasons – alongside team-mate Franck Ribery.

Bayern have won their past eight home games, the last three by a combined margin of 17-0.

Bayern have scored 20 goals in their last four home league matches against Dortmund.

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What’s Next?

Bayern are aiming for a league and German Cup double, after progressing to the semi-finals of the competition by scraping past second-division side Heidenheim.

They next face Fortuna Dusseldorf in the league before hosting Werder Bremen over Easter weekend.

Dortmund have six league matches remaining also, starting at home to Mainz next weekend (April 13) followed by a visit to SC Freiburg on Easter Day.

 

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Bundesliga Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund: Der Klassiker Title Decider

Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

It’s always a big deal whenever Bundesliga Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund is next on the fixture list. But this upcoming edition of Der Klassiker will have even more significance than usual.

That’s because Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich know that the Bundesliga title will essentially be on the line when they square off at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Dortmund have a two-point lead atop the table over Bayern heading into the match after Bayern’s recent slip-up. A win for them would give them some much-needed breathing room for the stretch run. But a win for Bayern would put them right back in the driver’s seat for a seventh successive Bundesliga crown.

us Bundesliga 2019 fans should be all over this match, and with good reason. It’s by far the biggest match in Germany — and might just be the biggest in all of Europe’s top five leagues this season, too.

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Talking Points

Bayern’s home-field/experience advantage

Bayern Munich ceded top spot back to Dortmund last weekend as they stumbled to a 1-1 draw away at Freiburg. Robert Lewandowski had a golden opportunity to grab all three points in the final minutes, but he was unable to convert his header.

Bayern’s slip-up was a bit surprising given how dominant they’d been heading into the match. In their previous three outings, they hammered Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, and Mainz by a combined score of 17-1.

Overall, they had won 13 of their last 14 Bundesliga assignments prior to the Freiburg draw, scoring three or more goals in 11 of those matches.

But being back at home for Der Klassiker should be a major boost for Bayern. They’ve won their last seven matches at the Allianz Arena, conceding just two goals during that span.

Manuel Neuer and David Alaba both missed Bayern’s 5-4 win over Heidenheim in the DFB-Pokal in midweek due to injury. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make their way back to the side for this huge match against Dortmund.

With the likes of Neuer, Alaba, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, and Lewandowski, Bayern obviously have the significant experience advantage over the young Dortmund side. And the atmosphere around the Allianz Arena should only add to the pressure on Dortmund in Der Klassiker.

Dortmund’s injury issues

Dortmund may be top of the table heading into Der Klassiker, but they have been far from convincing in their recent outings. They’ve needed some very late goals — in the 84th minute or later — in each of their last three games to secure hard-fought wins.

Paco Alcacer will be a huge threat Bundesliga Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund

Paco Alcacer celebrates after scoring a goal against Wolfsburg

Paco Alcacer scored three of those late goals, including two in injury time in their 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. However, the big Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund news is that the Spanish striker is a doubt to play in Der Klassiker due to an arm injury, which would be a massive blow to Dortmund.

Moreover, Dortmund manager Lucien Favre also has to deal with injuries to two key defenders: left-back Achraf Hakimi and centre-back Abdou Diallo. Right-back Lukasz Piszczek has already been out since February, which means Dortmund could be without three of their top four defenders against Bayern.

On the bright side, Dortmund will have Marco Reus back in the side after he missed the Wolfsburg match due to the birth of his child. Reus scored twice in Dortmund’s big 3-2 home win over Bayern in the first Der Klassiker of the season. He also scored a dramatic injury-time winner against Hertha Berlin prior to his absence.

But with Christian Pulisic out and possibly Alcacer too, Dortmund could find themselves short of firepower off the bench.

Dortmund’s makeshift defence will be the key in Der Klassiker, though. With Bayern back to banging goals in for fun at home, Dortmund will need a heroic effort from their defenders to keep the home side at bay.

History

Dortmund’s win against Bayern earlier this season snapped the Bavarians’ streak of three straight Der Klassiker Bundesliga wins. And over the last 13 Bundesliga meetings, Bayern have had the upper hand with seven wins. Dortmund have won just three times, with three draws.

Matches at the Allianz Arena have been similarly one-sided. In their last 14 visits to Munich in the Bundesliga, Dortmund have come away with all three points just three times. Bayern have won nine times, with two draws.

Betting Tip

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Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund Bayern Munich Asian Handicap -1.5 @ 2.31
April 7, 00:30 (GMT+8)

Dortmund have had a great season, and the fact that they find themselves in this position is a tremendous accomplishment. However, the signs are seemingly pointing against them in Der Klassiker.

The bad condition of their defence is obviously not great, especially against a Bayern side that’s rediscovered its scoring touch at home in recent weeks. It’s just hard to see Dortmund preventing Bayern’s attack from finding the back of the net given all their injury problems.

Bayern’s experienced campaigners won’t be fazed by the situation of Der Klassiker with the title at stake; they’re more likely to rise up to it and put on an outstanding performance in front of their home fans.

So as far as Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund betting odds go, take Bayern to cover the 1.5-goal spread on the Asian handicap market.

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Bundesliga: FC Bayern Eyes on the Prize

SC Freiburg vs Bayern Munich

The German league run-in to the finish line is officially on and, at the moment, reigning champion FC Bayern has its nose in front.

Niko Kovac’s Bayern has its next big test in the Bundesliga charge at the MAGE SOLAR Stadion, where the league leaders take on mid-table SC Freiburg. 24,000 fans will pack into the stadium, most of them hoping for a shock result, but if the visitors continue their recent league form, hope may be all they have.

Bayern leads the Bundesliga on goal difference but it could have been more until BVB scored an injury time winner over Hertha Berlin last time out. Even so, the latest   Bundesliga betting odds, here at us, have installed the Bavarians as clear favourites with odds of 1.33, while long tine leader BVB has drifted out to 3.00.

Talking Points

Freiburg can play with freedom

Head coach Christian Streich has guided his team to a comfortable mid table position. The hosts sit in 11th place, 11 points above the drop zone and 11 below a Europa League place. So with a tense end to the season all but out of the question his team can play without pressure. That often makes a team more dangerous when they come up against an opponent at either end of the table.

Can Freiburg upset us odds and win in their home?

Christian Streich lead SC Freiburg into the 11th spot of Bundeliga table

Captain Mike Frantz will have his team-mates up for this one. He is a big figure at the club, making 100 appearances for Freiburg since his arrival in 2014 and has weighed in with ten goals from midfield. And he’ll remind his team that they have a chance of being unbeaten against FC Bayern this season, having draw in Bavaria.

The hosts are in pretty good shape having drawn with Champions League hopefuls Borussia Monchengladbach before the international break, winger Vicenzo Grifo scoring their goal as they secured an impressive point.

FC Bayern’s big title push

The reigning champions are gathering a head of steam, having thumped Mainz by 6-0 before the international break and they have a steely look about them after a sluggish start to the season. Last season’s Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski is back to the top of the scoring charts with 18 goals and he has, unsurprisingly, registered the most shots in the Bundesliga at 97. That’s 18 more that RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, and Lewandowski was on target last time out as the Bavarians hammered Mainz.

FC Bayern is already looking towards the 2019/20 season having captured the signature of Atletico Madrid’s full back Lucas Hernandez for a club record 80m Euros. The 23 year old has signed a five year deal and, having won the World Cup with France last summer, he’s an exciting recruit for the league leaders.

History

Freiburg was relegated in 2015, despite beating FC Bayern in their second last game, but they returned to the Bundesliga as second tier champions the following season.

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Current Germany manager Joachim Low is the most famous son of Freiburg, as the club’s record scorer with 81 goals.

But there are some stats the home fans would rather not know. Freiburg’s biggest ever home loss was a 0-6 hammering at the hands of FC Bayern back in 2003.

And the head to head SC Freiburg vs FC Bayern results make worrying reading for the hosts. In the 39 games contested between these two teams since 1993, Bayern has had a stranglehold, winning 28 to Freiburg’s four and there have been seven draws. But, of course, they failed to win in their home fixture against Saturday’s opponents last November.

FC Bayern has won its last three Bundesliga games scoring a huge 17 goals and conceding just one, and top scorer Lewandowski is bang on form again and is now the fifth top scorer in the history of Germany’s top league.

The Bavarians are unbeaten in four away games and have won ten league matches on the road this season.

Betting Tip

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SC Freiburg vs Bayern Munich First Half Over 1.50 Goals @ 2.08
March 30 22:30 (GMT+8)

Having exited the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage, against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, FC Bayern will be determined to forge ahead in the league and win its 28th Bundesliga and seventh on the bounce. The last winners from outside Bavaria, Borussia Dortmund, will be desperately hoping for a slip up but, at pre-match us odds of 1.24 on a Bayern win, that looks very unlikely.

Freiburg is way out there at 12.00 to win while the draw is at 5.40. A Bayern win, and a heavy one, looks like the most likely outcome but I have an inkling Freiburg might cause some problems. So I’m going for a first half with two goals… which may be a good hedge either way.

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Euro 2020: It’s the Battle of the Inconsistencies

Austria vs Poland

I’ve got to be honest, us fans.

As European Championship qualifying groups go, this is the one that least excites me.

Yet for one of these very inconsistent nations, the chance to play a part in next year’s big international tournament – Euro 2020 – is a major incentive and a realistic target.

Talking Points

After some barren years, Austria qualified for Euro 2016 and even managed to hold eventual European champions Portugal to a goalless draw but failed to progress beyond the group stages.

Poland had a successful tournament and were unbeaten until the quarter-finals where they only lost to Portugal in a penalty shoot-out.

Fast forward to last year’s World Cup and Poland had a miserable time of it, losing all three games.

Their unsuccessful time continued in recent months.

As for Austria, they didn’t even qualify, although they had a moment to savour with a 2-1 victory over then-world champions Germany last summer.

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Given the recent inconsistencies of both countries, this group gives them a real chance of progress and a chance to create some of the Euro 2020 news goes, even if there are no guarantees.

There is no doubt Poland are the favourites to top the group, despite their unconvincing streak of form.

They have drawn three and lost three of their last six games played, and their most recent, a 1-1 draw against Portugal in the Nations League, was the only goal they had scored in three matches.

Yet they retain big attacking threats with the in-form Robert Lewandowski needing no introduction and recently becoming the Bundesliga’s all-time top foreign scorer.

As well as Lewandowski, there’s AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek, who has had a good first few months of 2019 in Serie A, and Arkadiusz Milik.

Poland know that with Austria and Slovenia being their toughest opponents on paper, a good start in this one could shape their qualifying campaign.

Austria have a dangerous marksman of their own.

West Ham United’s talisman Marko Arnautovic is expected to lead the line, while his club team-mate Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal.

Julian Baumgartlinger is an experienced campaigner who leads the team out and is currently enjoying a good season with Bayer Leverkusen, while there is also Bayern Munich star David Alaba.

Can Austria satisfy us fans and win vs Poland?

David Alaba in action vs Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Edin Visca

The majority of Austria’s players ply their trade in Europe’s top leagues, especially in the Bundesliga, where many of them are integral members of their clubs’ starting line-ups.

Moreover, they are undefeated in their last three at home, including victories over Sweden and Northern Ireland, and have not conceded in any of their last three at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

There are clearly matchwinners on both sides. Now what they need is consistency.

History

This is the first meeting between these nations for more than a decade.

That came in Euro 2008 when their group match finished 1-1.

It was in Vienna where Ivica Vastic’s last-gasp penalty earned the co-hosts of the tournament a draw after Roger Guerreiro had put Poland in front.

It was the sole point for both as they bowed out of the group stage.

Before that, the sides had met in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup when Poland recorded 3-1 and 3-2 victories.

Overall, Austria have only won two of their seven meetings. Both were friendlies, in 1977 and 1994, when Peter Stoger netted a hat-trick in a 4-3 success.

Poland have triumphed in four with the sole draw coming in their most recent meeting.

Betting Tip

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Austria vs Poland Correct Score 1-1 @ 5.20
March 22 03:45 (GMT+8)

Austria have the edge with our Euro 2020 betting odds. They are priced 1X2 @ 2.34, with Poland @ 2.94 and the draw – remember this has only happened once in seven meetings – @ 3.20.

For Poland to lead at the break, how about First Half 1X2 @ 3.60 or Austria @ 2.90?

Asian Handicap betting throws up some attractive bets: you can get -0.25 Austria @ 2.00 and -0.50 Austria @ 2.35, while Poland 0.00 @ 2.29 will catch the eye of many.

First Half Asian Handicap has Austria -0.25 @ 2.42 and Poland 0.00 @ 2.16 – again at very tempting odds.

Over 2.50 goals will payout @ 2.26, total goal 0-1 @ 2.52 and total goal 2-3 @ 1.83.

A solitary 1-0 home win is available @ 6.00, a 1-0 away victory @ 8.00 and a goalless draw also @ 7.00 which shows you how evenly matched this is expected to be.

I am going to set my stall on a correct score of 1-1 @ 5.20.

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Bundesliga: Beware the Bayern Backlash!

Bayern Munich vs Mainz 05

This is not the time to be rocking up at the Allianz Arena to take on FC Bayern, but it’s the turn of FSV Mainz this weekend…and they’d better be prepared.

Of course, Sandro Schwarz is a good coach and has talented players, but the Mainz boss knows that not only are his opponents in formidable Bundesliga form, they are also pretty angry! Last night, Niko Kovac’s team crashed out of the Champions League to Liverpool, and that after they had held the Premier League outfit to a draw on Merseyside.

I expect the Bavarians to show no mercy when Mainz come to town. The visitors aren’t in good form at the moment, so I fully expect the reigning champions to make it a sixth Bundesliga win on the trot on Sunday.

Talking Points

Can anyone stop the Bayern Bandwagon?

With nine games to go, it’s beginning to look a little ominous for those (millions) hoping that BVB can wrestle the title off the champions. The Bundesliga 2019 betting odds have swung firmly in favour of FC Bayern over the past few weeks. Our latest odds have the Bavarians down to 1.28 with long-time leaders BVB out at 3.40.

Bayern’s chances of retaining the title were hanging by a thread not long ago, but a run of 12 wins in 13 games, while Dortmund stuttered, has shifted the momentum firmly in Kovac’s team’s direction. They have closed the nine-point gap but the teams are still level on points, and the Bayern coach is determined to take a grip on top spot, saying: “We are now where we wanted to be. We want to stay there, too.”

Bayern hammered Wolfsburg last week by six goals to nil, and Robert Lewandowski scored twice, becoming the German league’s all-time top scoring foreign player in the process. He’s top of the Bundesliga scoring charts again and looks likely to retain his crown; one ray of hope for the visitors is that he has only scored twice in the last six games against Mainz.

Prior to thrashing Wolfsburg, Bayern beat Champions League-chasing Borussia Monchengladbach, 1-5, on their own patch, so what price is Kovac’s team smashing Mainz for seven?!

Can Robert Lewandowski lead Bayern Munich to stay on top of Bundesliga table?

Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring against Wolfsburg

It’s all about winning a seventh consecutive title now, and Bayern fans will be checking the Bundesliga 2019 updates on Saturday evening to see if tenth-placed Hertha Berlin can do a favour when they host Borussia Dortmund.

Is this a free hit for Mainz?

No coach will ever admit it, but if ever there was a game where not much is expected then this is surely it.

Schwarz has a young team with an average age of just over 24. They are 11 points clear of the drop and shouldn’t get dragged into a relegation fight. But if they leave the Allianz Arena empty-handed, then that will be six defeats in seven and their momentum will all but have stopped. Realistically, they only need another three or four points to survive so I believe this game is a free hit.

Die Nullfunfer’s defence will be severely tested, and captain Stefan Bell, alongside 23-year-old Moussa Niakhate, has his work cut out. The skipper is an uncompromising figure, picking up seven yellow cards so far this season.

FSV Mainz can be dangerous on the break: in the Bundesliga statistics, they sit fifth in the list of sprints and fourth in the number of crosses from open play. Wing-back

Daniel Brosinski has produced five assists, and Jean-Phillipe Mateta has been the chief beneficiary with seven goals. The 21-year-old striker was on the bench in the 0-1 defeat to Monchengladbach last week and will hope for a start against the league’s best on Sunday.

Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer has kept just two clean sheets in the last eight games, so I won’t rule out an away goal.

History

Mainz have hovered around mid-table since promotion in 2009 and qualified for the Europa League in 2016, but another season in the top flight isn’t a bad return.

In the 30 games played since 2005, FC Bayern have won 22 while Mainz won five and there have been just three draws. The champions have won five of the last six meetings, the other being a 2-2 draw in Munich back in 2017.

Recent form isn’t good for Mainz with three consecutive away losses while Bayern have won eight from 12 at home.

Betting Tip

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Bayern Munich vs Mainz 05 FC Bayern First Half -1.00 @ 1.89
March 18 01:00 (GMT+8)

At us odds of 1.13 a home win, 7.20 for a draw and 21.00 for a Mainz win, I can’t see anything other than a convincing Bayern victory. I think they will be determined to get Wednesday’s loss to Liverpool out of the way, and so there should be value in backing a fast start.

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Bundesliga: When the Champions Meet the Wolves

Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg

When champions Bayern Munich were beaten 3-1 by Bayer Leverkusen little over a month ago, their hopes of a seventh successive Bundesliga title were hanging by a thread.

Fast forward to last weekend and the picture had changed completely as long-time leaders Borussia Dortmund dropped yet more points and Munich were suddenly level at the summit.

Dortmund’s miserable month, sparked by throwing away a three-goal lead at home to Hoffenheim, has not only caused many a Bundesliga 2019 news headline but have also led to the Bundesliga 2019 betting odds turning around firmly in Munich’s favour.

us fans have already marked their top-of-the-table clash at the Allianz Arena on April 6 as a potential title decider.

Talking Points

With Dortmund now out of the Champions League, it’s hard to know how Lucien Favre’s men will respond – whether confidence will be shattered or whether their Euro exit will help their cause as far as domestic duties are concerned.

Either way, Bayern know they are now in a position they could scarcely have dreamt of four weeks ago and will not be complacent as they welcome Wolfsburg to town – themselves in seventh place spot but only four points off the fourth spot and the lucrative carrot of qualification for the season’s Champions League in sight.

A club that was in the knockout stages of Europe’s premier competition as recently as 2016 have often battled at the wrong end of the table in recent seasons.

However, helped by the presence of centre back John Brooks, Bruno Labbadia’s side dares to dream of a return to Europe’s top table.

John Brooks and his team-mates will certainly need to be in top form if they are to prevent a little bit of history this weekend.

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That’s because Robert Lewandowski is one goal away from emulating Claudio Pizarro as the Bundesliga’s top foreign marksman on 195 goals.

He’ll fancy his chances, too. After all, the Polish international has scored more against Wolfsburg than any other opponent, including five in a historic nine-minute spell back in 2015.

He also grabbed a brace when Munich defeated Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena back in October.

Lewandowski is also only four goals behind Thomas Muller on the Bavarian’s all-time scoring list with reports the club wants to extend his contract by a further two years to 2023.

Wolfsburg may not have the best head-to-head record against Bayern, but here are two sides in form.

They are unbeaten in their last five Bundesliga outings and have the second-best away record in the league (behind Bayern) – with seven wins in 12 on the road – and also came from two down to draw in Munich last season.

Bayern have won 11 of their last 12 Bundesliga matches and are bidding to make it five league wins in a row.

There is so much to play for in a game where the result could be crucial come season’s end.

It will also be interesting to see how Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng respond after Germany national coach Joachim Low announced they would not be selected for future squads as he looks to revitalise the squad after a 2018 to forget.

Point to prove?

Robert Lewandowski helped Bayern Munich move level on 54 points with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich joined Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund on 54 points following a 5-1 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach

History

Six of the seven meetings have ended in Bayern victories, including some one-sided scorelines.

The exception was in that game last season which finished 2-2 when Lewandowski and Arjen Robben goals were cancelled out by Maximilian Arnold and Daniel Didavi.

The last time Wolfsburg defeated Bayern was eight games ago in January 2015 when a certain Kevin De Bruyne – six months before he departed for Manchester City – inspired them to a 4-1 success.

De Bruyne scored twice that day and was joined on the scoresheet on that occasion by Bas Dost who also netted twice.

Betting Tip

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Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.28
March 09, 22:30(GMT+8)

You will not be surprised to hear that the odds strongly fancy Bayern.

1X2 has them priced @ 1.24 with Asian Handicap odds backing the champions -2.00 @ 2.21.

Wolfsburg, by comparison, are 1X2 @ 12.00 and available to back with Asian Handicap odds + 1.75 @ 2.05.

Goals are definitely predicted with over 3.25 only paying out @ 1.92, and total goal 0-1 @ 6.00.

Total goal 2-3 is priced @ 2.24 and total goal 4-6 @ a marginally higher 2.35.

The Double Chance Wolfsburg or Draw @ 3.70 will appeal to some, perhaps for those who feel Munich may have one eye on the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Liverpool which follows four days later.

A repeat of their victory earlier in the campaign – correct score 3-1 to Bayern – is available @ 9.00.

I’m going to think big for my tip.

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