Mark O’Haire’s European Footy Tips – Bundesliga Week 2
Week two of the 2015/2016 Bundesliga campaign kicks off with some juicy games for us to sink our teeth into.
Hertha Berlin v Werder Bremen, Friday 21 August (19.30) – BT Sport Europe
Hertha Berlin got their Bundesliga campaign off to a winning start last weekend but the Old Lady look a little too short in the betting to entertain on Friday night. Last weekend’s 1-0 success at Augsburg came via a Solomon Kalou second-half penalty and Pal Dardai’s troops rode their luck with the hosts rattling Hertha’s woodwork on three separate occasions.
Last season the shot-shy capital club averaged by far the fewest attempts on goal and a lack of threat in the opposition box could well lead to another battle against relegation.
Forward Roy Beerens will be suspended following his needless sending off on the opening day and Hertha’s home record (W6-D4-L7) during 2014/15 just isn’t strong enough to warrant pre-match quotes just above even-money.
Werder Bremen suffered a 3-0 home defeat to Schalke in their Bundesliga curtain-raiser with coach Viktor Skrypnyk admitting the River Islanders didn’t create enough opportunities and were punished for their sloppy defending. Theodor Gebre Selassie opened the account with a comical own goal before matters really turned sour in Bremen.
Werder improved dramatically under Skrypnyk’s watch last term but their road record remained rather uninspiring (W3-D4-L5) despite his positive impact.
A huge 10/12 (83%) of those fixtures produced Both Teams To Score winners on the road but Bremen might require a few weeks to adjust to the loss of last season’s two top goalscorers Franco Di Santo and Davie Selke.
Considering only 5/17 (29%) of Hertha’s home matches at the Olympic Stadium banked in the BTTS column last season, neither side delivered for BTTS backers on the opening day plus the dearth of quality opportunities created by either team, it might pay to go against the grain and back ‘No’ in the Both Teams To Score market at 20/21.
Hamburg v Stuttgart, Saturday 22 August (17.30) – BT Sport Europe
Hamburg were on the end of a 5-0 hiding by nemesis Bayern Munich in their Bundesliga curtain-raiser last weekend but boss Bruno Labbadia remained upbeat post-match. The Red Shorts were let down by sloppy individual mistakes despite holding firm and frustrating the defending champions for the first 25 minutes.
The past two campaigns have seen HSV require a relegation play-off to keep their top tier status intact and with many pundits pointing towards another season of struggle following a summer of rebuilding, Hamburg may experience more misery before the good times roll back into the Volksparkstadion.
On Saturday evening they entertain a Stuttgart side still smarting from their opening day 3-1 defeat at home to Koln.
The Reds showcased their new enterprising attacking style under new head coach Alexander Zorniger, firing in 12 efforts in a frantic first-half. The Swabians hit the woodwork twice and squandered a hatful of excellent opportunities before being picked off on the counter-attack in a thrilling final 15 minutes.
Zorniger has a talented bunch of youngsters at his disposal and the early evidence suggests Stuttgart will be one of the most entertaining sides to follow in 2015/16. But the visitors will need to be a bit more streetwise on their travels to tweak a road record that saw the Reds lose half of their fixtures last time out.
Still, Stuttgart collected a huge 33 of their 36-point tally against bottom-half clubs last term and their all-out attack approach could reap rewards against a Hamburg team that managed a meagre 25 goals last season and failed to find the net in seven home fixtures.
The 3/4 Draw No Bet option offers a bit of security against a stalemate and is well worth an interest on Saturday evening.
Ingolstadt v Borussia Dortmund, Sunday 23 August (14.30) – BT Sport Europe
Thomas Tuchel’s reign at Dortmund has gotten off to a perfect start. Including the DFB Pokal and Europa League qualifiers, BVB are 100% from their first four fixtures but the 4-0 destruction of Gladbach in the Bundesliga opener was by far the most impressive display from week one.
The Black & Yellows stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead with the attacking trident of Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan looking almost unplayable.
The team looked confident, comfortable and dominating in almost all facets of the match and should now fancy their chances of continuing their winning streak with maximum points on Sunday.
Newly-promoted Ingolstadt bagged a surprise victory at Mainz in their Bundesliga debut and showed their intent from the first whistle with Ralph Hasenhüttl fielding an attacking 4-3-3 and going for the jugular.
The Trenchmen were the better side during an impressive first 45 minutes and their aggressive pressing game could easily cause problems to their top tier rivals.
Dortmund are in Europa League action on Thursday night so there’s a possibility the visitors could be caught cold from an energetic Ingolstadt attack. And with nine league defeats on the road last term, BVB know all about potential travel sickness too.
But ultimately, Tuchel’s troops should come out on top but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see last season’s 2.Bundesliga champions net in a home defeat. It’s a hunky 11/5 on a Dortmund win and Both Teams To Score.