Bundesliga Betting: Bayern’s pursuers to damage each other

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Bayern’s pursuers to damage each other

RB Leipzig v Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday 30 January, 17:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

After watching his team crumble against relegation-threatened Mainz, crestfallen RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann dismissed talk of a Bundesliga title challenge. He knows the champions Bayern haven’t been at their best of late, and it pains him that Die Roten Bullen haven’t been able to take advantage or apply sufficient pressure. They have dropped points against two of the bottom three in recent games, and you now get the sense that they are looking down at their rivals for a top-four spot rather than up at Bayern, who are seven points ahead.

Bayer Leverkusen have similar regrets. They were top of the table and unbeaten in late December, but in their final match of 2020, they suffered a careless and incredibly damaging defeat to Bayern. They had led the European champions, but they conceded two horrible goals.

The psychological damage of that failure can’t be underestimated – they have lost three of their five league games since, and they have scored just four goals in that spell. Players like Patrik Schick, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey are all potential match-winners, but none of them can find consistency.

These two have drawn their last three Bundesliga meetings 1-1, and I don’t think there’s much to choose between them this time either. From a mental standpoint, it’s a game that neither team dares lose, and the price of 3.9 for the draw seems very big, especially when you consider that Leipzig rarely win against the division’s top teams.

Sunday snooze in prospect

Köln v Arminia Bielefeld
Sunday 31 January, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

These are testing times in the cathedral city of Cologne. The Billy Goats are in the bottom three, and although he continues to receive the club’s backing, coach Markus Gisdol is feeling the heat. The former Hoffenheim and Hamburg boss saved Köln from the drop last term, but since lockdown he has picked up just three wins in 27 top-flight outings, and that’s an appalling return given that he has a talented squad at his disposal.

That squad has been added to this week by the arrival of former Schalke midfielder Max Meyer, after his lucrative but ultimately unsatisfactory sojourn at Crystal Palace. Club Brugge striker Emmanuel Dennis has arrived on loan, and while he has quality and pace (just ask Real Madrid) he has rather lost his way of late.

Arminia Bielefeld are outside the bottom three at the halfway mark, which is an achievement in itself for a squad that lacks Bundesliga experience. Goals have been hard to come by, and Arminia have the joint-worst goal-scoring record in the division, but they work incredibly hard.

Köln have failed to score in six of their last seven Bundesliga matches, and their was only one goal in their last meeting with Arminia, a 1-0 defeat at the Schuco Arena. Backing No in the Both Teams To Score market has paid off in 11 of Arminia’s 18 league games, and I think that’s the way to go here.

Silas to strike

Stuttgart v Mainz
Friday 29 January, 19:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Mainz pulled off one of the biggest shocks of the Bundesliga season so far last weekend, as they twice came from behind to beat RB Leipzig 3-2. Defender Moussa Niakhate twice scored from set plays, and new signing Danny Da Costa set up the winner for young midfielder Leandro Barreiro. If former Mainz player Bo Svensson is to drag his beloved club out of danger, the coach will need a lot more performances like that.

The problem Mainz have is that they find it incredibly difficult to keep clean sheets, and they’ve only managed 17 in their last 100 Bundesliga outings, so the defensive deficiencies are somewhat entrenched. Only rock-bottom Schalke have a worse defensive record this term, and Mainz have conceded at least twice in four of their last five league matches.

Stuttgart wiped the floor with Mainz in the reverse fixture, and put four goals past them. Although they are having their toughest spell of the season, they are still a vibrant, attack-minded side, and Pellegrino Matarazzo’s men should create plenty of opportunities.

At least some of those chances should fall to the in-form forward Silas Wamangituka. The DR Congo-born speedster has already rattled in ten league goals, and he has netted in his last three Bundesliga matches. He scored and produced an assist in Mainz back in September, and I’ll happily back him to score here at 13/8 on the Sportsbook.

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