Bundesliga Betting: Red Bulls to keep charging
Augsburg picked up a shock win against Borussia Dortmund last weekend, but Kevin Hatchard believes they'll get a reality check on Saturday.
"RB Leipzig are very good against the teams who are at the wrong end of the table, and Augsburg's away form is wretched."
Augsburg revival to be short-lived
RB Leipzig v Augsburg
Saturday 09 March, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Augsburg produced arguably their best display of the season last Friday, as they beat the league leaders Borussia Dortmund 2-1. Dong-won Ji was clearly inspired to beat a club that had signed him in 2014 but never actually given him a chance in the Bundesliga, and scored two goals, the second of which was breathtaking. Under-pressure coach Manuel Baum got his gameplan spot-on, and his players certainly performed for their boss, hustling and harrying at every opportunity.
However, I don't expect a repeat on the road this weekend against an RB Leipzig team that has really come alive in 2019, surging into the top three. Die Roten Bullen have won four of their last six league games, and booked a DFB Cup quarter-final trip to Saturday's opponents Augsburg. Although they have stuttered at home recently (two points from the last three games), they have had tough fixtures, and if Leipzig are anything, they are excellent flat-track bullies. In 2019 they have picked up wins against Hannover, Stuttgart and Nurnberg, who are all currently in the bottom five. They also won the reverse fixtures against all of those teams.
It's also worth considering that when Leipzig win, they tend to win well. Nine of their 13 league wins this term have been by a margin of two goals or more. Given the fact that Augsburg have lost six of their last seven Bundesliga away matches, conceding 17 goals in the process, I'll back Leipzig to win by a couple of goals here.
Wolves to leave a few scratches on Bayern
Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg
Saturday 09 March, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Having been nine points adrift at one stage of the race for the Meisterschale, champions Bayern Munich have got their groove back. A run of 11 wins from the last 12 Bundesliga matches has seen them wipe out Borussia Dortmund's advantage, and Niko Kovac's team is now only behind Die Schwarzgelben on goal difference. Last weekend's exceptional 5-1 win at Borussia Monchengladbach was their best performance of the season.
Bayern have a season-defining clash with Liverpool on the horizon in the last 16 of the Champions League (the first leg at Anfield finished 0-0), and it will be fascinating to see if Kovac rests players, or if any of the players are distracted by the task ahead. The Bavarians certainly can't afford to take their eye off the task at hand, because Wolfsburg are pushing hard for a place in Europe next season.
Bruno Labbadia has transformed an underachieving, relegation-threatened group into a cohesive unit that is playing with confidence and solidity. Die Wolfe are only four points adrift of the top four, and have put together a five-match unbeaten run. They have collected more points on their travels than they have at the Volkswagen Arena, winning seven of their 12 away games in the league.
Wolfsburg drew 2-2 at Bayern last season, and while they may not prevent Bayern from winning, I think they can run the champions close. Bayern have only won three of their last nine BL home games by a margin of more than one goal, and I'll give Wolfsburg a goal-and-a-half start here.
Hapless Hannover to sink deeper
Hannover v Bayer Leverkusen
Sunday 10 March, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
They say a change is as good as a rest, but I don't think anyone at Hannover is feeling particularly refreshed since Thomas Doll took the coaching reins from Andre Breitenreiter. If anything, the team has got worse, and Doll's constant berating of the team's attitude and quality in public can't be having a beneficial effect on morale.
The only team Hannover have avoided defeat against in 2019 is Nurnberg, who are the only team in the Bundesliga who are worse than them. They have lost seven of their last eight top-flight matches, and they have leaked 21 goals during that sequence. They are particularly brittle at set plays, where all too often listless players will just let their men have a free run, and in attack there is very little inspiration with Niclas Fullkrug and Ilhas Bebou still out injured.
Conversely, Bayer Leverkusen really have benefited from a coaching change. Peter Bosz has won five of his seven league games since taking the helm, and Die Werkself are right back in the race for European qualification. Last weekend they were vastly superior to Freiburg, winning 2-0 at a canter.
Bayer have won three of their last four on the road in the league, key players like Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz, Charles Aranguiz and Kevin Volland are all fit, and Leverkusen can fully focus on the league after exits from the Europa League and DFB Cup.
This could get pretty ugly for Hannover, and I'll back the visitors -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [1.92].
2018-19 Bundesliga P/L
Points Staked: 74
Points Returned: 74.89
P/L: +0.89 points
Back RB Leipzig -1.5 on the Asian Handicap v Augsburg at [2.05]
Back Wolfsburg +1.5 on the Asian Handicap v Bayern Munich at [2.22]
Back Bayer Leverkusen -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [1.92]