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German Bundesliga Preview

The German Bundesliga returns with Bayern Munich travelling to take on Schalke in a Friday night game.
The German Bundesliga returns with Bayern Munich travelling to take on Schalke in a Friday night game.
How annoying to be forced into an international break just a week into the Bundesliga schedule. Nevertheless, Germany’s premier division resumes proceedings this weekend with a mouth-watering set of fixtures. Bayern Munich destroyed Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga’s opening match and laid down an ominous marker for what may prove to be another Bavarian dominated season. No other team scored more than twice in the first week; Bayern put six past a powerless Bremen outfit. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for Week 2.

Friday 9 September

17/2 Schalke | Draw 9/2 | Bayern Munich 3/10 (20:30)

Schalke began their Bundesliga campaign in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 defeat to 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt. The Royal Blues allowed the opposition to create plenty of chances in the opening stages and were a goal down within 12 minutes. Goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann saved a penalty but Schalke could not come back into the match. Robert Lewandowski netted a second hat-trick in eight days as Bayern Munich began their title defence with a 6-0 routing of Werder Bremen. Carlo Ancelotti’s more pragmatic approach was nowhere to be seen as Bayern went straight on the attack and scored three either side of half-time. Bayern Munich should have little trouble collecting three points at 3/10.

Saturday 10 September

5/10 Leverkusen | 33/10 | Hamburger 11/2 (15:30)

Leverkusen opened up the season with a 2-1 loss to Monchengladbach on the road. Despite grabbing an equaliser with just 12 minutes remaining, Leverkusen could not hold out for a share of the spoils. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno was struck in the face by a shot in the 21st minute and experienced a memory blackout until the 35th minute. The German shotstopper was outstanding, keeping his side in the match and making saves even during his period of cognitive confusion. Hamburg were denied an opening day victory by Ingolstadt, who hit back to level proceedings late on at Volksparkstadion. Hamburg defender Cleber was to blame for the two points lost; the club will need an outstanding performance to deny their superior opposition. Back the home win at 5/10.

19/20 Wolfsburg | 51/20 | Cologne 11/4 (15:30)

Wolfsburg came away from Augsburg with a 2-0 win that was the perfect first step in putting a largely disappointing previous campaign behind them. Their form on the road last season was simply woeful and the victory would have injected some confidence into a side in desperate need of it. Daniel Didavi scored on his competitive debut, a great sign for a side that has lost the mercurial but often invisible talents of Bas Dost. Cologne also got their season off to a strong start with a 2-0 win over Darmstadt at home. Marcel Risse gave the Billy Goats an early lead before Anthony Modeste scored in the second half to put the game to bed. This could be a closer match than expected but I still foresee Wolfsburg doing enough to claim the three points at 19/20.

29/20 Ingolstadt | 21/10 | Hertha Berlin 2/1 (15:30)

Thanks to Cleber’s gift return pass to Lukas Hinterseer, Ingolstadt left Hamburg with a point to begin the season reasonably positively. With Ingolstadt’s new manager still feeling his way into the job, one would have to assume that Ingolstadt’s goal for the season will be to survive yet again. Hertha Berlin beat Bundesliga new boys Freiburg 2-1 in a match that needed every minute of injury time to settle after an insipid first 90 minutes. Vladimir Darida gave Berlin the lead after an hour before the men from the capital conceded three minutes into injury time. Somehow, Julian Schieber scrambled home the winner two minutes later to collect three points for the Old Lady. Ingolstadt are a tough side to break down and I’ll opt for Under 2.5 Goals at 11/20 in a match that perhaps won’t sparkle.

39/20 Darmstadt | 22/10 | Eintracht Frankfurt 29/20 (15:30)

Darmstadt opened up their campaign with a disappointing 2-0 loss to Cologne on the road. Darmstadt failed to challenge throughout the match and were almost reduced to bystanders, such was their lack of cutting edge. In spite of finishing the match a player down and missing a penalty, Frankfurt still had enough to beat Schalke 1-0 in their opening match. Alexander Meier opened the scoring for the club and will yet again be expected to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for goals this season. Darmstadt were largely disappointing at home last season and backing the Frankfurt win at 29/20 could prove a shrewd bet.

5/2 Freiburg | 5/2 | Monchengladbach 21/20 (15:30)

Freiburg were cruelly denied a point in the capital after equalising deep into stoppage time at Hertha Berlin. The newly-promoted club then promptly conceded two minutes later and learnt a hard lesson about playing all the way until the final whistle. Monchengladbach ensured that there would be no repeat of their disastrous start to last season - where they lost the first five matches - by getting off to a winning start against a fancied Leverkusen side. Andre Hahn gave the club the lead on the stroke of half-time before captain Lars Stindl ensured the three points with a goal in the 85th minute. It’s certainly worth backing the away side to come away with all three points at 21/20.

9/2 Leipzig | 33/10 | Dortmund 11/20 (18:30)

Red Bull Leipzig captain Dominik Kaiser has put on a brave face and believes the newly-promoted club have no reason to fear this match with Dortmund. Leipzig collected their first ever Bundesliga point from a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim before the International break, Marcel Sabitzer scoring a last-minute equaliser for the visitors. Leipzig are a team with extraordinary quality given their status and will certainly take the game to their more fancied opposition. Dortmund were made to fight for their three points against Mainz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang beginning the season with a bang by netting a brace. Something tells me that Dortmund will take some time to get back to their best after losing key personnel. Instead of the away win, I’m opting for Both Teams To Score at 13/20.

Sunday 11 September

5/4 Werder Bremen | 49/20 | Augsburg 21/10 (15:30)

Werder Bremen were completely overrun by a Bayern Munich side in fine form, beginning the season with a horrendous 6-0 loss that simply piled more misery on a Bremen outfit who were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal in the first round. The signing of Serge Gnabry from Arsenal bodes well for the club, who seem short of direction and match fitness rather than quality. Augsburg put up little fight in a 2-0 loss at home to Wolfsburg in the opening gameweek and will certainly need to be far better on the road in this outing. Augsburg can basically kiss any DFB-Pokal dreams goodbye after drawing Bayern Munich in the second round and so will have to focus fully on all league endeavours. There’s value to be had in all corners of this match but I’m tempted by backing both teams not to score at 12/10 in a match of few chances.

1/1 Mainz | 51/20 | Hoffenheim 51/20 (17:30)

Mainz made Dortmund’s 2-1 victory tough work and definitely deserved at least a point from the match despite only netting a consolation goal in the later stages. Mainz were the more positive of the two sides, forcing the hosts onto the back foot in the opening stages with a lively Yunus Malli looking a real threat. Mainz just couldn’t make their superior performance count and will host Hoffenheim intent on rectifying that situation. Hoffenheim couldn’t get over the line against Leipzig, opening the scoring through Lukas Rupp and Mark Uth netting their second in the 83rd minute. Nevertheless, Leipzig struck late to force a draw. I expect Hoffenheim to struggle on the road and the home win at even money looks a great bet.

Written by Rick John Henry