Bundesliga Betting: No Timo, no problem

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann
Julian Nagelsmann must find a way to remodel Leipzig's attack

The Bundesliga is back, and Kevin Hatchard has three selections, including backing wins for three of the best teams in the division...

"Hwang Hee-chan and Alexander Sorloth are both intriguing signings, and Nagelsmann will demand goals from elsehwhere, with Dani Olmo, Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forsberg all capable of chipping in. There's certainly enough firepower to see off Mainz."

Back RB Leipzig -1.5 on the Asian Handicap v Mainz at 1.910/11

Red Bulls to mount early charge

RB Leipzig v Mainz
Sunday September 20, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League will have provided a huge confidence boost for RB Leipzig, not least because they dumped out Atletico Madrid without Timo Werner. The departure of the German international to Chelsea does create a big void in the Leipzig attack, but inspirational coach Julian Nagelsmann has options at his disposal.

Summer signing Hwang Hee-chan has already scored in the DFB Cup against Nurnberg, and his consistent displays for Red Bull Salzburg suggest he can hit the ground running. Alexander Sorloth failed at Crystal Palace but excelled in Turkey, and could prove a good replacement for Patrik Schick. At the other end, French centre-back Dayot Upamecano's new contract is a significant boon.

Leipzig smashed Mainz 5-0 and 8-0 last season, and I expect another resounding win here. Mainz stayed up thanks to a late-season surge, but I remain unconvinced about the merits of coach Achim Beierlorzer, and it's a young team that makes mistakes and concedes silly goals.

Bayer to start life after Havertz in style

Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen
Sunday September 20, 17:00
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Like RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen have lost their best player to Chelsea. Kai Havertz was the team's creative heartbeat, the go-to guy when things got tough, despite his tender age. However, Patrik Schick has proven he can score Bundesliga goals during a loan spell at Leipzig, and Bayer hope that midfielder Exequiel Palacios and centre-back Edmond Tapsoba continue to adjust to the league and improve.

Wolfsburg qualified for Europe last season, which was their main aim, but coach Oliver Glasner repeatedly saw his side falter against the elite teams in the division. The Wolves lost at home to Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer last term, and they only won four of their 17 home matches.

Bayer are the better side, they have won six of their last ten BL away games, and I'll back them to win here at 2.447/5.

Champions to fly from the blocks

Bayern Munich v Schalke
Friday 18 September, 19:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Joshua Kimmich looked up, spotted Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki slightly too far off his line, and floated a featherlight lob over the Swiss international and into the net. That moment of genius back in late May pretty much decided the title race in Bayern Munich's favour, and it was part of a 21-match winning run that also delivered the DFB Cup and the Champions League.

This is a relentless Bayern, a red machine, and there are few signs of wear and tear heading into this season. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is back to his best, while the centre-backs are playing so well that World Cup winner and record signing Lucas Hernandez has been reduced to the status of fringe player. Alphonso Davies is fast becoming the most impressive left-back in Europe, Kimmich and Leon Goretzka provide grit and quality in midfield, and Robert Lewandowski would surely have won the Ballon d'Or had it been staged. Throw in Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller and new signing Leroy Sane, and it's really hard to spot a weakness.

Perhaps most importantly, there are no lingering questions about the coach. Carlo Ancelotti fell victim to doubts about a lack of intensity, while Niko Kovac was internally accused of an absence of tactical ingenuity. Hansi Flick has worked his charges incredibly hard, but has also proven he has what it takes tactically.

The contrast with the creaking, crumbling football edifice that is Schalke could hardly be greater. They are on a club-record run of 16 Bundesliga games without a win, they have returning loan players like Mark Uth and Sebastian Rudy that have a lot to prove, and mercurial midfielder Amine Harit hasn't maintained the form of last year. Schalke have lost their last six league games against the Bavarians, conceding 18 goals and scoring just two.

I don't think there's a doubt that Bayern will win this, so it then becomes a question of how we find an attractive price. You could keep it simple and back Bayern -2.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.865/6, but I'll go for Bayern to win, Over 2.5 Goals and Serge Gnabry on the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi at 1.991/1. Gnabry finished the season strongly, scoring four goals in his last five competitive appearances and scoring a winning goal in a friendly with Marseille.

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