Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts and favourite fancies from across the continent with the return of the Bundesliga centre-stage this weekend.
Koln Can Be Opposed
Relegated Paderborn (74) were the only side to concede more goals than Koln (69) last season in the Bundesliga and the Billy Goats could be worth opposing in their curtain-raiser versus Hoffenheim on Saturday. Effzeh recorded only six shutouts during a turbulent campaign and there’s little evidence to suggest Markus Gisdol’s men have plugged defensive gaps.
Further forward, Koln lost top goalscorer, Jhon Cordoba, in midweek with chief creator Mark Uth also departing following his loan spell this summer. The hosts have been able to add Sebastian Andersson to their ranks, and Ondrej Duda also arrived, but the Billy Goats appear weaker on paper despite their 6-0 DFB Cup win over fourth-tier Altglienicke last weekend.
Hoffenheim had Koln’s number in 2019/20, racking up five goals as the Sinsheim club completed the double on Effzeh. Now under a new head coach in former Bayern Munich reserve team boss Sebastian Hoeness, ‘Hoffe’ are hoping to instil the same brand of exciting, attacking football that brought the Bavarian giants unprecedented success last season.
Having star forward Andrej Kramaric available is key to any Die Kraichgauer hopes, whilst the continued development of Austrian ace Christophe Baumgartner should ensure Hoffenheim pack plenty of punch in a potent attack, along with Ihlas Bebou should match fitness elude Munas Dabbur for Saturday’s opening showdown.
Koln – a club never too far away from the next headline – are in chaos off the field with former players vehemently criticising the direction of the club after plenty of downsizing over the summer. The Billy Goats began 2019/20 disastrously and were similarly dreadful when returning from lockdown, so a Bundesliga scrap wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
In contrast, Hoffenheim posted a sixth-place finish, suffered only three defeats times on their travels and were unbeaten at the bottom-half, scoring twice or more in seven of those nine games as guests. The visitors do have a few injury issues at the back but 1.96 quotes on Die Kraichgauer off a scratch 0 start are still well worth taking at the RheinEnergieSTADION.
Mainz To Be Mauled By RB
RB Leipzig smashed Mainz by an aggregate 13-0 in the clubs Bundesliga meetings last term, and despite Timo Werner’s big-money exit this summer, there’s little evidence to suggest Julian Nagelsmann’s hosts won’t rack up another cushy victory on Sunday afternoon.
Die Roten Bullen competed with confidence on the Champions League stage without Werner in tow, dumping Atletico Madrid out of European competition and giving PSG a good run for their money. Moves to replace with the German star remain ongoing but RB can still call upon a glittering array of forward-thinking assets to fill the void here.
Nagelsmann is one of the game’s smartest coaches and will be looking towards the likes of summer signing Hwang Hee-chan, Yussef Poulsen, Dani Olmo and Marcel Sabitzer in Leipzig’s preferred 3-4-2-1 system. Meanwhile, at the opposite end French centre-back Dayot Upamecano put pen to paper on a new contract to give the group an added boost.
RB Leipzig posted W12-D3-L1 against bottom-half clubs in Nagelsmann’s first campaign in the dugout – 10 of those triumphs were achieved by a margin of two goals or more and a resounding success looks the likeliest scenario again on Sunday. With that in mind, the even-money offering on Die Roten Bullen -1.5 on the Asian Handicap has to appeal.
Mainz lost 14 of 16 encounters with the top-eight, were beaten by two goals or more in seven of eight meetings with the top-four and shipped over two goals-per-game on average on the road last season.
Die Nullfunfer are shorn on experience, led by the unconvincing Achim Beierlorzer, and look set for another Bundesliga relegation battle this term.
- Hoffenheim +0 – 2 units @ 1.96
- RB Leipzig -1.5 – 2 units @ 2.00