Borussia Dortmund have had a difficult week, and Kevin Hatchard doesn't reckon their game against Freiburg will be plain sailing.
"Dortmund have conceded five goals in two games in the last few days, and Freiburg have made a bright start to the season."
Freiburg can expose BVB's flaws
Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg
Saturday 03 October, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
It's been a strange start to the season for Borussia Dortmund. A 5-0 hammering of lowly Duisburg in the DFB Cup featured 17-year-old midfield recruit Jude Bellingham becoming the club's youngest ever goalscorer, and Bellingham then set up his fellow 17-year-old Gio Reyna for the opening goal of a 3-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. The game featured BVB coach Lucien Favre's counter-attacking football at its best - the third goal came from a Gladbach corner, as Dortmund swept down the pitch, and Jadon Sancho's perfectly-weighted pass teed up Erling Haaland to complete his brace.
That early optimism took a nosedive in the last few days. Favre's side were sloppy in defence and imprecise in attack as they slipped to a 2-0 league defeat at Augsburg, and on Wednesday they conceded some galling goals in a 3-2 Supercup loss at their old foes Bayern Munich. There's an argument to say they were the better team against the champions, and it was a vast improvement upon their last few displays at the Allianz Arena, but ultimately Bayern were a little more ruthless.
Dortmund's late-season wobble in 2019/20 means they have lost three of their last five league matches overall, and three of the last five at Signal Iduna Park. Goalkeeper Roman Bürki and in-demand winger Jadon Sancho have both been suffering with illness, and missed the game in midweek. Erling Haaland was withdrawn midway through the second half of the Supercup, but is thought to be fully fit.
Freiburg have started the season really well. They won a southern derby 3-2 at Stuttgart, and they made more than enough chances to beat Wolfsburg on Sunday, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw. If you look at the Infogol xG stats, Freiburg have registered figures of 2.13 and 1.4, and I think they'll get some chances against a Dortmund side that may be a little drained after Wednesday's efforts.
I'll back both teams to score here at 5/61.84.
Baum to face baptism of fire
RB Leipzig v Schalke
Saturday 03 October, 17:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
The Ruhr region of Germany is the country's industrial heartland, and it's not unusual to find a few factories. At Schalke, they manufacture false dawns, and the latest one received its packaging this week. David Wagner was dismissed as coach after overseeing a club-record 18-match winless run in the Bundesliga, and with money in short supply and the club's lustre not what it was, the queue of quality replacements didn't exactly stretch round the block.
Former Augsburg coach Manuel Baum might not be Mr Right, but he may be Mr Right Now. He is very sharp tactically, but the concerns about him centre around whether he can unify the disparate parts of a fractured and demoralised squad. Former Schalke defender Naldo will be his enforcer, dealing with the man-management and motivation while Baum focuses on the X's and O's.
The pair could hardly have a tougher opening game. RB Leipzig swept aside Mainz on Matchday One, and played some lovely football in a 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen. The last time they played Schalke, they hammered them 5-0, with French midfielder Christopher Nkunku getting four assists.
Unsurprisingly, Leipzig are a skinny 2/71.28 to win the game, so I'll instead look to the To Score market. Hee-Chan Hwang, who arrived at the club from Salzburg in the summer, looked really lively as a sub against Leverkusen. He scored on his Red Bulls debut against Nurnberg in the cup, and if he starts, he's worth backing at 6/5. Keep an eye on the team news, and if the South Korean is left out of the starting XI, back new Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth instead at 10/11.
Tired Wolves may lack bite
Wolfsburg v Augsburg
Sunday October 04, 17:00
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
It's fair to say it's been a packed start to the season for Wolfsburg. Oliver Glasner's side have already played six competitive games, including three rounds of Europa League qualifying. On Thursday, they fielded their full-strength side at AEK Athens, but conceded a 94th-minute winner as they tumbled out of the competition. Having worked so hard to qualify for continental competition, falling at the final hurdle is an unmitigated disaster, and a serious psychological blow.
Wolfsburg have been hit by injuries and illness (right-backs William and Kevin Mbabu are both out, while centre-back Marin Pongracic has glandular fever) and they have drawn both of their Bundesliga games so far. They probably deserved to beat Leverkusen in a goalless stalemate, but they escaped from Freiburg with a fortunate 1-1 draw.
Augsburg have beaten Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund, and they look far more dangerous under coach Heiko Herrlich than they did under his predecessor Martin Schmidt. FCA have lost just one of their last five Bundesliga away games, and against a Wolfsburg side that won just four home games in the league last term, I think the Swabians can avoid defeat.
2020-21 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 6
Points Returned: 3.89
P/L: -2.11 points
Back Both Teams To Score in Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg at 5/61.84
Back Hee-Chan Hwang to score for RB Leipzig v Schalke at 6/5 on the Sportsbook
Lay Wolfsburg v Augsburg at 20/211.96