German Bundesliga

Bundesliga Tips: Bayern to win, but not by much

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich
Joshua Kimmich (right) is one of many unavailable players for Bayern

The title race is tightening up in Germany, and in this week's column, world feed TV commentator Kevin Hatchard takes a look at both contenders for the meisterschale.


Battered Bayern are there to be shot at

Bayern Munich v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Saturday 03 February, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

Last weekend, Bayern Munich moved to within just two points of leaders Bayer Leverkusen, as they won at Bavarian neighbours Augsburg and Bayer were held to an incredibly frustrating goalless draw at home by Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, Bayern's 3-2 victory wasn't convincing, and their crippling injury issues could cause them headaches again this weekend.

Gladbach showed very little attacking ambition in that Rhineland derby at the BayArena last weekend, but stand-in goalkeeper Moritz Nicolas continued his excellent form (he is in the league's top seven when it comes to post-shot xG differential, according to fbRef.com), and the Foals survived despite conceding 28 shots and managing just four themselves.

While I think Gerardo Seoane's side will probably lose against Bayern this week, I'm happy to give them a +2.5 cushion on the Asian Handicap at an attractive 1.855/6. Gladbach only lost the reverse fixture 2-1 (they led at one stage), and their only defeat by three clear goals this term was at home to Leverkusen.

Bayern really are down to the bare bones. At centre-back, Dayot Upamecano is injured (although he has returned to running training), while Min-Jae Kim is at the Asian Cup with South Korea. In midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Konrad Laimer are injured. Influential winger Kingsley Coman has just damaged knee ligaments, and will be out for months.

All of this means that Bayern are at least partially relying on youngsters and new signings. Eric Dier has just been recruited at centre-back, Sacha Boey has come in at right-back from Galatasaray, and the summer move for Granada winger Bryan Zaragoza has been brought forward to mitigate the loss of Coman. Munich native Aleksandar Pavlovic has caught the eye in central midfield, but the whole thing feels very makeshift, and Bayern simply don't have a lot of rhythm.

Bayern are an incredibly talented outfit, and of course they can catch fire at any time, but we successfully gave Augsburg a two-goal head-start last weekend, and I'll happily set the bar at a three-goal win for Bayern this week.

Back Borussia Monchengladbach +2.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.855/6

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Leaders to cruise to victory

Darmstadt v Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday 03 February, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

While Leverkusen were held at arm's length by Gladbach last weekend, they still played well, and they are producing the best football in the division this term. Die Werkself can hurt teams in lots of different ways, there's a lovely balance between youth and experience, and coach Xabi Alonso is holding the whole thing together with calmness and tactical clarity.

A deep squad has come to the fore, with bustling striker Victor Boniface injured and a number of players away at AFCON. Alonso still has options in every position, and his team still hasn't suffered a single competitive defeat this term.

I've said for a long time that Darmstadt are the worst team in the league, and they remain bottom of the standings. The Lilies have really struggled against the big hitters - they lost 8-0 at Bayern, 5-1 at Leverkusen, 3-1 at Stuttgart, 3-1 at home to RB Leipzig and 3-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund. They have conceded a league-high 47 goals, and of the 19 league games they have played, 12 have ended in defeat.

You can back Bayer -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.865/6, and that seems generous to me.

Back Bayer Leverkusen -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.865/6

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Sparkling Sancho can catch the eye

Heidenheim v Borussia Dortmund
Friday 02 February, 19:30
Live on Sky Sports and Betfair Live Video

It might be a coincidence, but since Jadon Sancho arrived back at his beloved Borussia Dortmund, Die Schwarzgelben have taken off. They are the only Bundesliga team to win all three of their league games in 2024, and Edin Terzic's team have forced their way back into the top four.

Sancho delivered an assist on his second debut in a 3-0 win at Darmstadt, and although it's understandable that a player who was exiled for most of the season at Manchester United will have ups and downs, there are little sparks here and there.

In 79 minutes of Premier League football this term, Sancho produced four Shot-Creating Actions. In 183 minutes in the Bundesliga, he has already racked up 12 SCA and four Goal-Creating Actions (not necessarily assists, but passes or dribbles in a move that lead to a goal).

If we get one of these sparks at Heidenheim on Friday night, then we'll be glad we took advantage of the Betfair Sportsbook's boosted price of 3/14.00 for Sancho to get an assist. Heidenheim are having a superb first season in the Bundesliga, but they do give the opposition a chance to play, and they have already leaked 35 league goals this term.

*UPDATE: Since time of writing, Sancho has been ruled out with a muscle injury. As an alternative, it's worth considering backing Niclas Fullkrug to score at 2.6213/8. The German international netted a hat-trick last weekend against Bochum, and has four goals in his last two games.

Back Jadon Sancho to get an assist at 3/14.00

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