The Bundesliga returns this weekend and league leaders Bayern Munich face a trip to Union Berlin on Sunday as they bid to consolidate their four-point lead at the top. Mark O'Haire analyses the odds.
"The Bavarians have scored 38 goals whilst accruing 31 points in their last 11 Bundesliga fixtures"
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
Sunday May 17, 17:00
BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Union the division's surprise package
Union Berlin have been one of the biggest surprise packages of the Bundesliga season. Promoted via a relegation play-off victory, Die Eisernen have pocketed victories over Borussia pair Dortmund and Gladbach on their way to their current mid-table league position, leaving the newcomers closer to the European chase than a relegation dogfight.
Urs Fischer's outfit encapsulate some of the best qualities that German football has to offer. The hosts take pride in their tradition, living off of raw emotions and exuding unbridled passion, a team that aim to embrace the grind and make their presence felt throughout the 90 minutes. Direct and uncompromising, Union are a unique proposition in the Bundesliga.
Unfortunately for Die Eisernen, head coach Fischer could miss Sunday's match after leaving the team camp for personal reasons. To add to the Berliners concerns, 11-goal leading goalscorer Sebastian Andersson is considered a doubt and key centre-back Marvin Friedrich is missing through suspension. Anthony Ujah could be drafted in as a replacement up top.
Bayern clicking into gear
Bayern Munich were back to their old selves before the enforced Bundesliga break. FC Hollywood bagged W10-D1-L0 from mid-December to charge into a four-point lead at the top of the table as the Bavarians chase down an eight successive Meisterschale. Outright odds suggest the perennial champions have an 83% chance of retaining their crown.
Since Niko Kovac was dismissed in early November, Bayern have improved week-on-week with successor Hansi Flick adding the relentless aggression and ruthless attitude that had been missing from Germany's giant. However, the slight tactical amendments employed by Flick out of possession shouldn't be overlooked with Bayern much more coordinated across the park.
Clinical star striker Robert Lewandowski tops the goalscoring charts with 25 strikes and the time off has allowed the Polish hitman to recover from a knee operation to take his place in the team's attack. In fact, the visitors will only be missing fringe playmaker Philippe Coutinho and long-time absentee Niklas Sule at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.
Bavarians firm favourites in Berlin
October's reverse fixture in Munich was the duos first competitive meeting; Bayern were far from imperious in that encounter, pinching a 2-1 success in what turned out to be Niko Kovac's final victory in charge of the club. Union Berlin will undoubtedly be hoping to catch the table-toppers cold on Sunday evening, although the numbers suggest it's unlikely.
Union [18.50] have registered five triumphs from their most recent eight outings at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, recording shutouts in each triumph. Nevertheless, the hosts have also shipped at least three goals in four of their last eight matches and could be without key components in attack and defence, as well as head coach Urs Fisher here.
The form Bayern [1.23] displayed before the break is ominous for their opposition, should Hansi Flick's outfit pick up where they left off. The Bavarians have scored 38 goals whilst accruing 31 points in their last 11 Bundesliga fixtures; the visitors also registered four consecutive road triumphs and scored at least three goals in five consecutive fixtures on their travels.
Bayern to prove too hot to handle
Goals have been a feature of Bayern Munich's matches across the full Bundesliga campaign, especially so on the road. The defending champions have delivered Over 2.5 Goals [1.49] in all bar one of their 12 away trips with nine contests even breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. indeed, the visitors' away days have averaged a huge 4.17 goals per-game.
With that in mind, I'm happy to support a goal-heavy game alongside Bayern beating the -1 handicap. Looking towards Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market, we can combine the cushy Bayern victory with Over 2.5 Goals for an appealing 1.99 play. It's a selection that's paid out in six of Bayern's seven Bundesliga road trips under Hansi Flick's leadership.
Mark's 2019/20 Profit/Loss
Staked: 129.00 pts
Returned: 149.99 pts
P/L: +20.99 pts