Bundesliga Betting: Augsburg to get no favours from Bavarian neighbours Bayern
Augsburg are in serious relegation danger, and Kevin Hatchard doesn't expect them to improve their situation at champions Bayern Munich.
"Bayern have won seven of their last ten games to nil, and if Juventus and Barcelona couldn't score at the Allianz Arena, it's fair to say Augsburg might struggle."
Bayern Munich vs Augsburg, Sat 14:30 BST
Match Odds: Bayern [1.22], Augsburg [18.5], the draw [7.6]
Bayern Munich have dominated the Bundesliga because they have by far the strongest squad in the division. Jupp Heynckes' preferred starting eleven is incredibly talented, but it's the sheer depth of talent at his disposal which has put the Bavarian giants 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund. For example, when Dortmund's star striker Robert Lewandowski is unavailable, Jurgen Klopp calls upon Julian Schieber (three goals in 21 Bundesliga appearances). When Heynckes is without Mario Mandzukic, he can pick Mario Gomez (11 goals in 19 league games) or even Claudio Pizarro (six goals in 19 Bundesliga matches). Indeed, Gomez and Arjen Robben have made just nine league starts apiece, and yet have racked up 15 goals and six assists between them.
Heynckes has at least two high-quality options for each position (I include the goalkeeping department, as Tom Starke is excellent), and there are plenty of players keen to make their mark ahead of the Champions League final against Dortmund and the German Cup final against Stuttgart. All of this is bad news for relegation-threatened Augsburg, who are in the relegation play-off spot, just two points above the automatic dropzone.
Augsburg looked doomed at the winter break, but they have rallied impressively under inexperienced coach Markus Weinzierl, who has made his team much more attacking in the second half of the campaign. As a result of this riskier approach, Augsburg have simply stopped drawing games, winning five and losing six of their last eleven matches. Away from home they have struggled of late, losing their last three road matches.
Augsburg know their final game will be against relegated Greuther Furth, and that's a match they will expect to win. A good result at the Allianz Arena would be a massive bonus, but it's hard to envisage that against a Bayern side that has won 19 out of the last 23 league games. Opta tell us Augsburg have lost their last ten encounters with Bayern, and even though they are yet to lose a game by more than two goals this season, I like the look of backing Bayern -2.0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.04]. In seven of their last ten games, Bayern have won to nil, and despite Augsburg's attacking improvements I would back Bayern to do so again at [2.08]. If Juventus and Barcelona couldn't score at the Allianz, it's fair to say Augsburg might struggle too.
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Nurnberg, Sat 14:30 BST
Match Odds: Fortuna [1.88], Nurnberg [4.7], the draw [3.8]
In any relegation battle you often get one team that seems okay halfway through the campaign, and then ends up in an inescapable tailspin. Fortuna Dusseldorf are playing that role in this season's Bundesliga. Norbert Meier's men haven't won any of their last ten league games, and Opta tell us they have collected fewer points (nine) since the winter break than any other team.
As I've regularly pointed out in the last few weeks, Fortuna's defending has gone to pieces, and there was further evidence of that decline in last week's 3-1 reverse at Eintracht Frankfurt. Although there was nothing Fortuna could do about Frankfurt's third goal (a stunning curler from Alex Meier), the first two goals were eminently preventable. Keeper Fabian Giefer has looked shell-shocked in recent weeks, and Fortuna look particularly ropey at set-pieces. They have shipped 23 goals in their last ten games, and they have conceded two goals or more in each of their last six matches.
That weakness could be exposed by Nurnberg's Hiroshi Kiyotake, who is one of the Bundesliga's best set-piece specialists. The Japanese international has racked up ten assists, not bad in a team that has only scored 34 goals all season. His delivery at corners and free-kicks is exceptional, and could cause havoc in Fortuna's jittery rearguard.
I can't fathom why Fortuna are odds-on favourites to win this game. Nurnberg have admittedly lost their last four games, but Fortuna's confidence is in tatters, and I think the visitors are overpriced.
Werder Bremen vs Eintracht Frankfurt, Sat 14:30 BST
Match Odds: Werder [2.22], Eintracht [3.35], the draw [3.85]
Right then, it's time for Hatchard's Hunch. This may seem a bit crazy, but I think Werder are finally going to win on Saturday, and in doing so they'll finally banish the spectre of relegation.
Thomas Schaaf's Werder (although they may not be his for much longer) haven't won any of their last eleven Bundesliga games. That said, they played well for most of last week's 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim, succumbing to late jitters as Hoffe stormed back from 2-0 down. With bad boys Marko Arnautovic and Eljero Elia banned for the rest of the season by the club for speeding, Werder seemed to play with a bit more unity of purpose. Aaron Hunt and Nils Petersen (who have netted 11 goals apiece) looked a threat, and did the in-demand Kevin De Bruyne.
Eintracht Frankfurt have revived their Champions League qualification hopes by collecting seven points from three games, but their away form since Christmas has been really poor. The Eagles have failed to score in five of their last six road matches, and their only away victories since the winter break have come at flaky Hamburg and relegated Greuther Furth. Goalscoring has been a real post-Christmas problem, with Frankfurt netting just 13 times in 15 games.