Bayern can avoid defeat in cracking clash
RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich
Saturday 11 September, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports and Betfair Live Video
Bayern Munich have often been accused of cutting their domestic rivals off at the knees by recruiting their best players, and it’s a phenomenon that’s existed for decades. Karlsruhe, Werder Bremen, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund have all been raided by the Rekordmeister, and now RB Leipzig have seen a chunk of talent defect to Bavaria. Coach Julian Nagelsmann couldn’t resist the lure of a club he supported as a boy, and he has been joined in Bavaria by defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Marcel Sabitzer.
However, Bayern’s actions is this regard certainly aren’t unique (Borussia Dortmund recruit heavily from other Bundesliga clubs too), and their attractiveness as a destination isn’t just about money. FCB are competitive at home and abroad, so players know they will compete for the biggest honours if they go to Säbener Strasse, with Bayern crowned as European champions three times in the 21st century.
Nagelsmann did a lot of fine work in his time at Leipzig, but as he returns to the Red Bull Arena, he faces a team in flux. His replacement Jesse Marsch has overseen 1-0 defeats at Mainz and Wolfsburg, and although the American coach insists he is happy with the performances so far, a defeat on Saturday evening would see Die Roten Bullen slip seven points behind the champions.
Bayern weren’t at their best in their opening-night 1-1 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach, but they have since reeled off four domestic wins in a row, scoring at least three times in each of those matches.
Star striker Robert Lewandowski has found the net in every game he’s played for Bayern this term, and he looks as sharp as ever. The 33-year-old was outstanding for Poland against England in midweek, and he beautifully teed up his country’s last-gasp equaliser.
I think Lewandowski can cause problems against Leipzig’s new-look defence, with youngsters Mohamed Simakan and Josko Gvardiol still adjusting to a new club, a new country and a new league. You can back Bayern/Draw Double Chance and Lewandowski to score on the Sportsbook’s Bet Builder at 2.1211/10, and I think that’s an attractive price. Bayern are unbeaten in their last six Bundesliga meetings with Leipzig, although four of those matches have ended level.
Wolves to stay perfect
Greuther Furth v Wolfsburg
Saturday September 11, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
I’ll admit I had and to some extent still have doubts about Wolfsburg’s new boss Mark van Bommel, but the Dutchman has made the sensible decision not to tinker too much with a winning formula. Wolfsburg are still playing the rock-solid football that netted them a Champions League spot last term, with the key performers from last term all still present and in their correct positions.
Wolfsburg have won all three of their games, and sport CEO Jörg Schmadtke has played a blinder in the transfer market. German internationals Luca Waldschmidt and Lukas Nmecha have come in to beef up the attacking options, so that the Lower Saxony club aren’t so reliant of chief goal-getter Wout Weghorst. Schmadtke also played hardball with RB Leipzig over defensive prodigy Maxence Lacroix, so the excellent young French centre-back is still a Wolfsburg player.
Despite the loss of midfield battler Xaver Schlager to an ACL rupture, Wolfsburg should have no problems disposing of a Greuther Furth side that looks well short of the required quality for this level. Furth have taken just a point from their three matches so far, and they have already conceded nine goals against teams that all finished outside the top six last season.
I’ll back Wolfsburg -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.021/1 – if they only win by a goal, we have our stake returned, but a bigger win gives us an odds-against success.
Foals to trot back into winning circle
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Arminia Bielefeld
Sunday 12 September, 18:30
Live on Sky Sports App and Betfair Live Video
It’s been a tough start to the campaign for Adi Hütter’s Borussia Mönchengladbach, with the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach collecting just a point from his first three games. His team actually played really well against Bayern on Matchday One, but they suffered a disastrous derby defeat at Bayer Leverkusen, and then his injury-hit side went down 2-1 at Union Berlin.
Gladbach have been unlucky with injuries and illness, but things are clearing up. Matthias Ginter is back after recovering from COVID-19, while Ramy Bensebaini and Breel Embolo could both return. After scoring a superb goal for Germany against Armenia, midfielder Jonas Hofmann will return full of confidence.
Arminia have made a solid yet unspectacular start to the campaign, with three draws, and they needed a late leveller against Eintracht Frankfurt last time out. Frank Kramer has made DSC tough to beat since taking over as coach, and he kept them up last term, but the lack of punch in attack continues to be a big problem. In their 37 league games since winning promotion, Arminia have scored just 28 goals.
I can’t see there being many goals here. Arminia will have been stung by their 5-0 defeat at Borussia Park last term, and will adopt an even more defensive approach. Gladbach aren’t as bad as their results suggest, they have players returning, and they should edge a close one. I’ll back Gladbach to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.111/10.