Round 10 action
Borussia Dortmund’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to FC Koln last weekend has firmly put Bayern Munich in the driving seat after their 3-1 victory on the road at Stuttgart. However, there remains unexpected pressure on Bayern from Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig - who have a big chance this weekend to overtake Hans-Dieter Flick’s side.
RB Leipzig are only two points off the top, having kept up with Bayern by beating Arminia Bielefeld 2-1, and go into a crucial head-to-head with Bayern full of confidence.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Wolfsburg beat Werder Bremen 5-3 on Friday night to remain unbeaten and extend their winning streak to three. They aren’t in the title race, though, as they’ve drawn so many matches, but nevertheless it is shaping up to be an excellent season for Oliver Glasner’s team.
Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig
This should be a very good game, with Julien Nagelsmann’s Leipzig looking to play quick-tempo vertical football and burst into the final third at speed, suggesting it will be an end-to-end game in Munich. Bayern’s good form, inspired by Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry in particular, ensures they are an explosive outfit no matter the opponent; don't expect either side to temper their style of play for this clash.
Leipzig are particularly strong on their left, with Angelino overlapping superbly down that flank in Nagelsmann’s fluid 3-5-2 formation. This is a dangerous area for Bayern, particularly during periods when they are dominant in possession and right-back Benjamin Pavard is forward to support Gnabry. That is just one of several fascinating key battles, including Thomas Muller versus an occasionally under-stocked two-man Leipzig midfield.
There may have only been two goals in the last two games between these sides, but so far the 2020-21 season has been full of goals - and with both sides likely to be tired, this should become a stretched game with plenty of action.
Given the current odds - Bayern: 1.52; Leipzig: 5.88 to win - might it be worth taking a look at backing Leipzig for an upset?
Hertha Berlin v Union Berlin (zero margin game - offering the fairest odds)
The Berlin derby on Friday night is a surprisingly important match for both teams: Hertha had anticipated a mid-table finish, but they find themselves in a relegation battle, while Union were supposed to struggle but are now in the battle for Europe. The reversal of expected fortunes adds an extra edge to a derby that has only very recently become a Bundesliga contest.
Hertha won 4-0 in May last season, but Union’s form in the current campaign suggests the hosts will have to play a lot harder this time round. The visitors play a rugged, direct style of football with plenty of long balls into the channels and deep defending, and in a season defined by the pandemic it is the perfect system: poor fitness and minimal time for tactical coaching favours simplified football.
Consequently, we reckon Union should be considered favourites for this one - a view that sits firmly in the face of the current odds (Hertha 2.47; Union 3.17 for the win).
Hertha have only won two Bundesliga games this season and both away from home, while Union are on an eight-game undefeated run in the league. The form guide tells a clear story.
Werder Bremen v Stuttgart (zero margin game - offering the fairest odds)
An intriguing match-up on Sunday sees two out-of-form teams battle it out to avoid falling into the relegation battle as we approach the winter schedule. Werder Bremen have now gone seven games without a win, with five consecutive 1-1 draws before their wild 5-3 defeat to Wolfsburg - but it is that most recent game that offers a hint at what this weekend’s match will bring.
Similarly, Stuttgart have gone five games without a win, while there has been a total of 10 goals scored in their two most recent matches. It would seem that both of these sides, as confidence wanes, are becoming less cohesive, leading to high-scoring contests with goals flying in at both ends.
For that reason, back over 3.5 goals in Sunday’s early kick-off.
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