Go Low On Goals In Dortmund v GladbachStats
Dortmund v Monchengladbach
Twelve months ago German media were fawning over Borussia Dortmund.
Having surrendered their Bundesliga title to old enemies Bayern Munich for the previous two seasons, Jurgen Klopp’s men were starting the 2014/15 with what was widely recognised as their best ever squad. Some even suggested the Black and Yellows were capable of dethroning Bayern and reclaiming top domestic honours after successive silvers.
However, the reality was quite the opposite for a club that reached a Champions League final in 2013. BVB sat bottom of the Bundesliga in early February following a return of W4-D4-L11 and were in serious threat of relegation. Germany’s second force of the current decade was in tatters and legendary boss Jurgen Klopp’s future in doubt.
Klopp announced his decision to depart soon after and the W9-D3-L3 run across his ‘farewell tour’ alleviated any demotion fears, seeing Dortmund eventually clinch a place in the Europa League. In the meantime, former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel was charged with rebooting the club and on the surface of it, little has changed to the squad that capitulated so spectacularly.
Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus remain the team’s key figures but Tuchel’s high-octane style, tactical flexibility and extreme attention to detail have all been witnessed in glimpses during BVB’s early season fixtures. The Black and Yellows have already overcome Austrian outfit Wolfsberger 1-0 and 5-0 during Europa League qualifying as well as Chemnitzer 2-0 in last weekend’s DFB Pokal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, so often below-par last term, has appeared rejuvenated and Gundogan and Reus look fresh and fit after a full pre-season – all three will feel like new signings at Westfalenstadion. There’s a real sense of optimism engulfing Dortmund once more and whilst a title challenge is unlikely, a top-four finish is back within reach.
The Acid Test
Tuchel’s Bundesliga bow with BVB promises to be a real acid test, mind. Gladbach are in town with Lucien Favre’s side establishing themselves as one of Germany’s top teams in the past three years. Last term’s third-place was richly deserved but Max Kruse’s departure for Wolfsburg has disappointed Foals fans and influential schemer Christoph Kramer’s loan has expired.
Goalscoring midfielder Lars Stindl arrives having previously skippered Hannover whilst Josip Drmic’s capture could prove to be decisive should the Swiss goal-getter rekindle his form from two seasons ago. Gladbach looked strong in their 4-1 cup victory over St Pauli but the visitors will need to improve upon an away return of W4-D5-L10 when travelling to top-seven sides across the past three campaigns if they’ve aspirations to upset the odds on Saturday.
Veteran defensive lynchpin Martin Stranzl continues to struggle with injuries and his involvement remains doubtful but we should expect to see the visitors happy to concede possession and play on the counter. The Foals will be organised, defend in numbers and aim to stifle Dortmund before releasing the likes of Rafael, Patrick Herrmann and Ibrahim Traore on the break.
Bundesliga matches are notoriously high-scoring but Favre’s charges tend to bring the average down when they’re on the road. Since his appointment in 2011, Gladbach have seen just 30/74 (41%) of road trips feature Over 2.5 Goals and only half that figure produce four goals or more. The Both Teams To Score average is also below 50%.
Traditionally high on scoring and entertainment, Dortmund’s dreadful 2014/15 campaign also failed to deliver for goal-hungry punters.
Just 7/17 (41%) Bundesliga outings at Signal Iduna Park delivered in the Over 2.5 Goals market including two from eight duels against top-half teams.
Forecasting few goals on Saturday evening is also high on my agenda.
Based upon the trends above, we should be opposing goals and the 20/21 offer on Under 2.5 Goals looks an enticing prospect. It’s a bet that’s banked in nine of Gladbach’s final 13 away days last season as well as both sides’ openers 12 months ago, so backing a repeat at close to even-money holds plenty of appeal.
*Prices correct at time of publication