The race for promotion in Germany's third tier is hotting up, and Kev thinks one of the division's in-form teams is worth backing tonight.
"Wurzburg have won four of their last five games, and seven of their nine league wins in 2020 have been by two goals or more."
Visitors to maintain promotion push
Uerdingen v Wurzburg
Tuesday 23 June, 18:00
Olof Mellberg's Helsingborgs found a backbone at the worst possible time for us last night, as they ground out a goalless draw with Elfsborg. With a Swedish curse in the air, we move on.
We'll head to Germany, because Wurzburg are hoping to boost their promotion hopes in the Dritte Liga with a win at Uerdingen.
The third tier of professional football in Germany wasn't guaranteed to resume after the hiatus necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19. There was plenty of wrangling, not least from teams who thought they might benefit from an early end to the campaign, but the green light was eventually given. Teams have been powering through a punishing schedule of games, and amazingly we stand just four matches from the end of the regular season.
Wurzburger Kickers have flown out of the traps since the restart, winning five of their seven matches to move to within a point of top spot. Bayern Munich's second team are currently top, but they can't be promoted, so the second and third spots carry automatic promotion. Incredibly, just six points separate first from eighth.
It's been a lively few years for Kickers' fans. As recently as 2012, Wurzburg were in the fifth-tier Landesliga. They were promoted three times in five seasons, but found Bundesliga 2. tough going, and were immediately relegated in 2017. Since then they have finished fifth in back-to-back seasons, and the club is desperate not to fall short again.
Their opponents Uerdingen were a Bundesliga club back in 1996, but financial problems (thing got so bad that they once gave fans the chance to bid on eBay for the right to coach the team on a one-off basis) saw them busted down to the fifth tier. Back-to-back promotions in 2017 and 2018 took them to the third division.
Even with experienced players like Jan Kirchhoff, Dominic Maroh and World Cup winner Kevin Grosskreutz, they have underwhelmed this term, and the promotion dream has faded. Saturday's 4-0 drubbing at crisis club Kaiserslautern was one of the season's lowest points.
Uerdingen are playing like a team that wants the season to end, and they have taken just four points from their last six games. Given that Wurzburg have won three of their last four away games, and four of their last five games overall, I'll back the visitors -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.11]. Seven of Kickers' nine league wins in 2020 have been by two goals or more.
Points Staked: 90
Points Returned: 76.25
P/L: -13.75 points
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Back Wurzburg -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.11]