Champions to make a statement
Arminia Bielefeld v Bayern Munich
Saturday 17 October, 17:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
It’s been a strange start to the season for European and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. They have won the UEFA Super Cup and DFL Supercup, but they were smashed 4-1 at Hoffenheim, and needed a four-goal salvo from Robert Lewandowski to squeeze past Hertha Berlin in a 4-3 thriller. Bayern are by no means the only big club to be having some odd scorelines (Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG have all suffered bizarre defeats already) but it’s still unusual to see them misfire rather than smoothly move through the gears.
I expect a much more straightforward encounter for Hansi Flick’s side at newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld. Although Uwe Neuhaus’ side have already shown they can be competitive at this level (they have lost one of their first three games, and that was an unfortunate reverse at Werder Bremen) I think they’ll find it hard to contain a Bayern side that has won 10 of its last 11 Bundesliga away matches, winning eight of them by two goals or more.
Bayern’s big hitters are all available apart from Leroy Sane, with Lewandowski given the all-clear after suffering a bruise on international duty with Poland. The hosts can’t call upon the support of their fans, because a rise in local infection rates means spectators have to stay away. To make matters worse, Arminia could be without forward Cebio Soukou, midfielder Andreas Voglsammer and right-back Cedric Brunner because of injury.
I’ll back the Bavarians -2.0 here on the Asian Handicap at 4/51.8.
Dortmund to suffer another slip-up
Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund
Saturday 17 October, 14:30
Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
There was a lot to like about Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Freiburg before the international break. Erling Haaland was in predatory form in attack, scoring a brace and teeing up Felix Passlack with the last kick of the game when he could’ve gone for a hat-trick. At the tender age of 17, Gio Reyna became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to set up three goals in one match, and his fellow 17-year-old Jude Bellingham gave another assured display in midfield.
However, a stiffer test is in store in Sinsheim against a team that beat BVB home and away last term. Hoffenheim thrashed Bayern Munich 4-1 in their last home game, they have won five of their last six league games stretching back into last season, and they have won three of the last four at the PreZero Arena. Andrej Kramaric is the league’s top scorer, having netted six goals in just three games. The Croatian also scored all four goals in Hoffenheim’s 4-0 win at Dortmund on the final day of last season.
BVB have already slipped up on the road, losing 2-0 at Augsburg, and this is another examination of their title credentials. Hoffenheim’s new coach Sebastian Hoeness has made a great start, and it just feels like the visitors are too short for the win at 4/51.83. I’ll lay the visitors.
Foals to gallop to home win
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Wolfsburg
Saturday 17 October, 19:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
After a spluttering start, we finally saw the real Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Rhein derby on Matchday Three. Marco Rose’s side won 3-1 at old foes Köln, and did so at a canter. It was a display of control and precision, a huge upgrade on the previous displays against Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin.
The Foals’ home form has been very good in the past year, and while we were burned when we backed them to win against Union, I’m happy to back them again at 10/111.93 to beat an underwhelming Wolfsburg. Gladbach have won 12 of their last 16 Bundesliga games at Borussia Park, including a 3-0 win over the Wolves towards the end of last season. Apart from long-term injury victim Denis Zakaria, Gladbach’s best players are all available, with Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram poised to cause a static Wolfsburg side plenty of problems.
Wolfsburg have drawn all three of their games so far, they have scored just one goal, and they are struggling to provide star striker Wout Weghorst with consistent service. The Wolves were lucky to escape from their last away game at Freiburg with a point, and despite the recent acquisition of versatile Mainz youngster Ridle Baku and ex-Dortmund forward Maxi Philipp, I think they’ll fall short here.