The Bundesliga has a shorter winter break than usual, and Kevin Hatchard's back with his first set of selections for 2021.
"Mainz haven't been able to bring in a permanent coach yet, they have already fired two bosses, and the team is bereft of confidence."
Crisis club to suffer again
Bayern Munich v Mainz
Sunday 03 January, 17:00
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Because they've established themselves as Bundesliga regulars, it's easy to forget that Mainz are punching above their weight by even being in Germany's top flight. Even though the great Jürgen Klopp took the Zerofivers into the Bundesliga, it took him several attempts, and even then he couldn't keep them at the top level. They have never won a major trophy, and have only ever had four European campaigns, all of which have been contested in the 21st century.
The carnival club have been battling the drop in recent seasons, and this term has been a disaster so far, as I predicted in my season preview. Sporting director Rouven Schröder has now been fired, and coach Jan-Moritz Lichte has also been dismissed. Mainz are now onto their third coach of the season - they want to hire former M05 player Bo Svensson, but the Dane is still negotiating his way out of Austrian side Liefering, so youth boss Jan Siewert (yes, the Huddersfield Town legend) is likely to be in charge at Bayern on Sunday.
Bayern went top for Christmas with a dramatic comeback win at Bayer Leverkusen, and they were allowed to postpone their DFB Cup game, so they've had a decent rest. Their last three games against Mainz have seen them win 3-1, 6-1 and 6-0, and I anticipate a similar rout against the second-worst team in the division. I'll use the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi to back Bayern to lead at half-time and full-time and Over 3.5 Goals.
Goals in the cathedral city
Köln v Augsburg
Saturday 02 January, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
It's been a hugely disappointing season for Köln so far, and despite a surge just before Christmas, the Billy Goats are still only a point above the bottom three. Although their defending has improved (they drew 0-0 at Leipzig and won 1-0 at Mainz), the 4-0 hammering at home by local rivals Bayer Leverkusen shows there is still a lot of work to do.
Augsburg are five points better off, but they have faded after a strong start. The Swabians won their first two games, but have only won twice since. They have only kept one clean sheet in their last ten outings, and they have conceded at least two goals on six occasions in that sequence.
Both teams have found the net in nine of Köln's 13 league games, and seven of Augsburg's. I'll back both teams to score here too.
Dortmund too short against gritty Wolves
Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg
Sunday 03 January, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
These are uncertain times at Borussia Dortmund. Coach Lucien Favre was dismissed after yet another title push started to fade, and his temporary replacement Edin Terzic just led the club to defeat at Union Berlin. A record-breaking goal from 16-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko couldn't hide the fact that BVB had suffered a preventable defeat thanks to shoddy defending at set plays.
The return of star striker Erling Haaland is a massive boost, and Dortmund have certainly missed him, but even with the Norwegian the Ruhr giants have lost their air of invincibility at home. I would argue that Dortmund have suffered more than most because of the absence of fans in stadiums, and the stats back that up. Die Schwarzgelben have lost their last three Bundesliga home matches, and if you go back further, they have lost six of their last ten.
A game against a confident Wolfsburg is hardly one to relish. Oliver Glasner's side is above Dortmund in the standings, and their only defeat in the league this term was a narrow 2-1 reverse at Bayern. Key midfielder Maxi Arnold is out with COVID-19, but a clutch of his close contacts have tested negative, and should be available here.
Wolfsburg have a dreadful record against Dortmund, but they have only lost two of their last 14 away games in the league, and I can't get on board with backing the hosts at 1.584/7. I'll lay them instead.
Kevin Hatchard 2020-21 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 44
Points Returned: 33.73
P/L: -10.27 points