Bundesliga Betting Guide for Matchday 29
Remember when the Bundesliga roared back to action a mere two weeks ago?
As the first major European league -- and essentially the first sporting competition of any kind outside of South Korea and Belarus -- to resume after a two-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus, the German top division has stood alone in the spotlight and given us something to cheer about in these barren times.
Of course, the league’s stint as the world’s (nearly) sole purveyor of live sport was never going to last forever, and now that the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, and Italy’s Serie A have announced they’ll resume their respective seasons in June, there is now an expiration date on the undivided attention of millions of fans that have tuned in to German football for the first time, either from genuine interest, curiosity or sports deprivation.
And yes, while evergreen champion Bayern Munich’s 1-0 defeat of second-place Borussia Dortmund this past week essentially signaled the end of the title race -- the 29-time league winners are now a commanding seven points clear with six matches left -- it certainly doesn’t mean the show’s over, even if some might believe it is.
With a cluster of teams still fighting for their place in next season’s lucrative European cup competitions -- and even more close enough to the relegation zone to be nervous -- there’s still enough at stake in the Bundesliga to retain our focus, even when the rest of the world starts playing again.
Speaking of which, Matchday 29 might not have a marquee clash like Der Klassiker on tap, but it does offer several unique matchups stretched over a four-day weekend, beginning in Freiburg on Friday and finishing in Cologne on Monday.
For a full list of fixtures and what the oddsmakers are saying about them, check out FanDuel Sportsbook, but first, feel free to consult this week’s Bundesliga tip sheet below, starting with…
VfL Wolfsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg at -105
Wolfsburg has won two of three since the league restarted, including an eye-opening 4-1 road victory midweek against a Bayer Leverkusen side that had gone 12 matches in a row without defeat in all competitions.
At 1.2 goals allowed per game, Oliver Glasner's men have the league’s third-tightest defense. They’re currently sixth in the actual table -- three points clear of Hoffenheim for a Europa League place -- and are fourth in the "form" table, a breakdown of how teams are doing over the last eight league games.
And while Eintracht Frankfurt did score a dramatic come-from-behind draw at home to Freiburg Tuesday -- is that Timmy Chandler’s music?! – they’ve still only earned one point of a possible nine this month and have shipped a league-worst 11 goals in those three games, the only team to surrender double-digit tallies.
They’re 14th in the league table, 15th in the form table, and they’re just two points clear of the relegation playoff spot, albeit with a game in hand.
And while we’ve established that home teams don’t have much of an advantage in these matches without fans or atmosphere – home teams are just 5-12-10 since play resumed -- Adi Hütter’s group has still taken a league-worst seven points (!!) in their 14 road matches this season.
Oh, and the Wolves beat the Eagles 2-0 in Frankfurt in the reverse fixture in November.
So knowing all that, why are Wolfsburg only -105 favorites? Here’s a rare opportunity at near-even odds to back a home team that’s clearly better than its opposition.
Hertha Berlin vs. Augsburg
Draw at +280 or Augsburg at +290
There’s a reason why Hertha is a -115 favorite in this match against Augsburg.
After enduring their share of worrying results this season combined with a shambolic return to training this spring, the capital city club known as Die Alte Dame – “The Old Lady”, a nod to their 127-year history – are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the league under new head man Bruno Labbadia.
Their five-game unbeaten is the fourth-longest current streak in the German top flight, a set of results highlighted by a 4-0 beatdown of their crosstown rivals Union last Friday and a solid road draw against a 10-men RB Leipzig side on Wednesday.
With nine goals scored and just two conceded, they’ve got the best goal difference in the league since the restart and would be second in the table behind Bayern if only points earned post-pandemic were observed.
Hertha Berlin in 3 games under Bruno Labbadia:
2 goals allowed
2 table positions up#RBLBSC pic.twitter.com/6vF3QWkUrB
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) May 27, 2020
But here’s the case for Augsburg.
After a pretty horrific beginning to the Rückrunde that saw them go 1-7-1 in league play, the Bavarians have been a respectable 1-1-1 since the restart, losing a close match to Wolfsburg before crushing a free-falling Schalke side and drawing with Paderborn.
More pertinently, though, they hammered Hertha 4-0 at the WWK ARENA in November, and while the visitors were down a man for over an hour of that match, bear in mind that Hertha was already losing 2-0 when goalkeeper Rune Jarstein was sent off in the 28th minute.
Then there’s Hertha’s home form to consider. Even though -- or perhaps, because -- they play inside the impressive 74,000 seat Olympiastadion, they’ve had almost no home field advantage this year, as they’re 15th in the home table with just 15 points from 14 games.
In the big picture, Augsburg are currently in 12th in the standings, just four points back of the team they face this weekend, but as they’re also just four points ahead of 16th-place Düsseldorf, they’re not out of the relegation fight by any stretch.
With Hertha safe from the drop but likely adrift of the last Europa League spot and Augsburg fighting for survival, motivation might play a factor on Saturday, and in this matchup of essentially two even teams, a draw or a road win feel just as likely as three points for the home side.
Bayern Munich vs FC Düsseldorf
Draw at +1000 or Düsseldorf at +3200
I know it’s … shall we say ... far-fetched that relegation-threatened Düsseldorf would go into the Allianz Arena and knock off the eight-time champions elect.
But hear me out for a moment.
Yes, Bayern are on a 14-game unbeaten run, with their last league defeat coming all the way back on December 7.
More impressively, they’ve won 13 of the 14 matches during that streak, with their lone draw coming to Leipzig in February.
Since the restart, they’ve won their three fixtures by an aggregate score of 8-2, they beat Düsseldorf 4-0 in the reverse fixture in the autumn, and to put the odds further in their favor, the Bavarians have an extra day of rest prior to Saturday’s encounter. (FCD won 2-1 over Schalke on Wednesday, while Bayern’s pursuit-crushing 1-0 win at Dortmund took place on Tuesday.)
But here’s why picking Düsseldorf isn’t crazy.
With a win and two draws, Uwe Rösler’s team are one of only five unbeaten sides in the Bundesliga this May and have gone six matches in a row without tasting defeat.
While the competition they’ve faced hasn’t been elite, the Rheinländers are still allowing only a goal per game this month, one of the best defensive records in the league.
Factor in that FCD drew with Bayern a year ago, that Hansi Flick’s side are coming off an emotional, potentially title-clinching win against their arch rivals, and that Bayern haven’t exactly dispatched lesser teams with ease this season -- for example, they needed an 88th-minute winner to get by bottom-side Paderborn in February -- and it’s not inconceivable an upset could be on the cards.
And while no one -- including myself -- really believes Düsseldorf will beat Bayern on Saturday, the odds are so lopsided and the underdog is decent enough that it’s at least worth considering ... as long as you’re not too upset when Bayern win 4-0.