It's been an excellent start to the season for our Bundesliga tipster Kevin Hatchard, and he's back with another trio of selections.
"Koln scored a couple of goals against Bayern in a five-goal thriller, and they'll adopt a similar approach against an RB Leipzig team that conceded four against Bayern and six against Manchester City."
Cathedral city chaos in store
Köln v RB Leipzig
Saturday 18 September, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports
In German, a false start is called a fehlstart, and that word has been appearing quite often in articles about RB Leipzig. American coach Jesse Marsch took over a talented squad, and is expected to challenge for the Bundesliga title. However, the Red Bulls are already nine points off the pace, and they have lost three of their first four league matches.
The last week for Leipzig has been a big concern. They played well in patches against the record champions Bayern, but were ultimately shredded 4-1. To make matters worse, Leipzig's risky style played into the hands of Manchester City in the Champions League, resulting in a 6-3 win for the English champions. There has been lots of talk of learning, with little real evidence that the content of any lessons is actually sinking in.
Leipzig have lost both away games in the Bundesliga, and they have gone down at the Etihad. Now they face a trip to an in-form Köln, whose flat cap-wearing coach Stefan Baumgart has already won over the Billy Goats fans with his swashbuckling style. The Rhineland club has taken seven points from four games, hasn't yet kept a clean sheet, and is averaging two goals per game. After a tough spell which included the death of his father, striker Anthony Modeste has rediscovered his scoring touch, and looks far more at peace with himself than he did a year ago. The French forward has scored in three of his four league appearances.
With both teams playing front-foot football and conceding goals regularly, Over 3.5 Goals looks too big to me at 2.546/4, and it's a price I'm happy to take advantage of. It's paid out in four of Leipzig's six competitive games, and half of Köln's four league games.
Back-to-back wins for Berlin
Hertha Berlin v Greuther Furth
Friday 17 September, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
It took them a while to get going, but Hertha Berlin finally clicked into gear last weekend. The capital club made a slow start at Bochum, but a quick-fire brace from Suat Serdar turned the game on its head, and new signing Myziane Maolida found the net to seal a 3-1 win. It was a victory that has eased the pressure on coach Pal Dardai, and now the Hungarian goes in search of back-to-back victories against promoted clubs.
I suggested before the start of the season that Greuther Furth weren't strong enough for this level, and so it has proved. They have collected one point from four games, they have scored just two goals and they already have a goal difference of minus nine. There are weaknesses all over the pitch, and former Hertha keeper Sascha Burchert could have a busy evening.
Hertha have lost just one of their last seven home games in the league, and despite yet another injury in defence (Jordan Torunarighan has been sidelined again), they should have enough quality to win this comfortably. The hosts are 1.774/5 to win this, and that seems a fair price to me.
Glasner can relish reunion
Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt
Sunday 19 September, 18:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Austrian coach Oliver Glasner did a terrific job during his two years at Wolfsburg, and had his relationship with Sport CEO Jörg Schmadtke been better, he may well have stayed on. He led the Wolves to a top-four finish last term, securing a golden ticket to the Champions League, and his replacement Mark van Bommel has been loath to tinker too much with what Glasner built.
There's no doubt that Wolfsburg have made an impressive start to the campaign, winning all four games, and conceding just one goal in the process. However, if you scratch below the surface, it's perhaps not quite as eye-catching as you might think. Two of the wins were against newly-promoted Bochum and Greuther Furth, one was against struggling Hertha, and the only truly impressive victory was a narrow success against RB Leipzig.
Glasner's new side Frankfurt haven't won any of their first four league games, but they were desperately close to edging out Stuttgart last Sunday. Colombian striker Rafael Borre hit the crossbar with virtually the last kick of the game, and with star player Filip Kostic back in the line-up after a transfer tussle saw him temporarily down tools, the Eagles suddenly look like a more dangerous side.
Wolfsburg are fair favourites, but 1.84/5 just seems too short to me, so I'll lay the hosts.
Kevin Hatchard 2020/21 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 12
Points Returned: 18.33
P/L: +6.33 points
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