Bundesliga Betting Guide for Matchday 33
Heading into the penultimate weekend of the Bundesliga campaign, there are some things we know and some things still very much TBD.
After the dust settled on a wild round of midweek fixtures, the league had crowned a champion -- begrudging congrats again to Bayern Munich on their 30th (!!) top-division title -- and had seen resilient but undermanned SC Paderborn officially sent through the relegation moon door.
Bayern crowned champions, Paderborn relegated, plus more twists and turns in the battles for survival and Europe than we can fit in this tweet #BundesligaMD32, over and out. pic.twitter.com/M8iGDOJBgn
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) June 18, 2020
But beyond that, little else has been determined, making this week of matches plenty intriguing.
The fight for a European tournament spot couldn’t be closer, with RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach all in contention for the two remaining Champions League spots, while VfL Wolfsburg, TSG Hoffenheim, SC Freiburg, and even Eintracht Frankfurt are all still in contention for the Europa League.
At the bottom, just one point separates Werder Bremen and Fortuna Dusseldorf in the battle between a relegation playoff and automation relegation, while the likes of Köln, Augsburg and Mainz aren’t mathematically out of the woods just yet.
A word of caution, however: even though the majority of the league is still fighting for something, there are six clubs with little left to play for, and when you’ve got one-third of the league (potentially) already easing into their summer holiday, that creates an added level of uncertainty not normally seen during the rest of the season.
In other words, don't be surprised if this weekend's results are a little unpredictable, but we'll do our best to forecast what might happen anyway.
For the full picture of this weekend’s fixtures, check out FanDuel Sportsbook, and for a closer look at three of the matches we find noteworthy, read on…
FSV Mainz 05 vs. SV Werder Bremen
Draw +250 or Bremen +170
Who doesn’t love a good, ol’ fashioned relegation six-pointer on the second-to-last weekend of the season?
A few things to consider:
Since the league resumed in May, Mainz are unbeaten away from Opel Arena but are 0-3 at home with zero goals scored and seven allowed. (Granted, five of those goals came against Leipzig, but still.) In fact, over the season as a whole, the 05ers have accrued just 14 points from 16 games played on their home ground, third-fewest in the league.
Meanwhile, Bremen, too, have been dismal at home -- a Bundesliga-low six points in 16 games – but like Mainz, they’ve been much better in their travels and sit 8th in the road table.
That away form has kept them in contention to stay up for a 41st consecutive season despite an anemic stretch from November to February that saw the team from the northwest of Germany lose 11 of 13 league matches, including a 5-0 hammering at the WeserStadion in this weekend’s reverse fixture.
More recently, Florian Kohfeldt’s side have lost three of their last four, but two of those results were 1-0 road defeats to sixth-place Wolfsburg and champions Bayern, who required a world-class reaction save from Manuel Neuer to deny the Green-Whites at the death.
Still thinking about this 90th-minute Manuel Neuer save pic.twitter.com/XvVvmNor9F
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 17, 2020
Then there’s this: Werder Bremen have taken 10 points in eight games since the restart -- good enough for a midtable spot over that stretch -- and they’ll be playing desperate football, knowing a Fortuna Düsseldorf result against Augsburg that’s better than their result would confirm their relegation.
Yes, Mainz just pulled off a potentially season-saving upset at Dortmund on Wednesday, and yes, they’re probably the better side. But Bremen have more at stake here, and it’s hard to overlook the home-road splits for both.
If pressed, the draw seems the best option, but don't be surprised if Bremen secure all three points.
Hertha Berlin vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen
So much for Hertha’s strong start to the restart.
After posting three wins and a draw in their first four matches after league play resumed in mid-May, the Bruno Labbadia Revolution has taken a sharp U-turn, as the capital club have lost their last three matches by an aggregate score of 7-2.
Two games to go, we'll give it our all in both #SCFBSC #hahohe pic.twitter.com/wMuffCPyWn
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) June 16, 2020
As detailed in previous columns, Hertha’s form in Berlin has been dreadful this year -- they’re 14th in the Bundesliga home table -- and while they did beat Leverkusen 1-0 in December’s reverse fixture, Peter Bosz’s side have lost on just three occasions since.
Meanwhile, Die Werkself have been unbeaten on the road since February and are third in the away table, third in the Rückrunde standings, and third in Bundesliga goals in 2020. And unlike their weekend opposition -- who can’t make a European spot but are safe from relegation -- they’ve still got much to play for.
Make no mistake, with a lesser goal differential and a mere one-point lead over Gladbach for the final Champions League place, Leverkusen need a win at the Olympiastadion Saturday to help secure their return to Europe’s premiere cup competition for the first time since 2016-17.
— Kai Havertz (@kaihavertz29) June 17, 2020
One team is in decline and has nothing at stake, while the other is in a position of strength and desperately needs the result.
Don’t overthink this one.
Bayern Munich vs. SC Freiburg
Draw +550 or Freiburg +900
One of these weeks, betting against Bayern is going to pay off.
Yes, the Reds have won 11 league matches in a row and haven’t lost since December, but with a record eighth consecutive Meisterschale already clinched and the UEFA Champions League conclusion still two months away, what do Hansi Flick and Co. really have left to play for?
A lack of incentive combined with a quick turnaround from their 1-0 win at Werder Bremen on Tuesday -- and the ensuing title celebrations that surely followed -- could lead to a squad that’s partly changed or still in party-mode for this weekend.
With us in spirit #MiaSanMia #MEI8TER pic.twitter.com/ehfXh2FKho
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) June 18, 2020
On the other hand, Freiburg have the carrot of European competition within reach, as they sit one point back of Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim for a place in the Europa League.
Christian Streich’s side are finding their form at the right time, as they’re unbeaten in their last three, a run that includes a pair of wins over fourth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach and a stumbling-but-still-mid-table Hertha Berlin.
And while it’s true that the Black Forest club have beaten the Bavarians only once in their history and are winless in 19 trips to the Allianz Arena all-time, their lone victory in 2015 came in similar circumstances, as Bayern had already clinched the league title that year before losing 2-1 at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.
Add in the fact that Freiburg have played the champions close in recent seasons -- they drew both games against Bayern in the league last year -- and it could all add up to a surprising result in Munich on Saturday.
It’s not like Bayern can win 12 in a row -- right?