Wirtz-inspired Bayer to win again
Arminia Bielefeld v Bayer Leverkusen
Sunday 03 October, 18:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
There have been a lot of new coaches at top Bundesliga clubs, with Bayern, Dortmund, Gladbach, Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Leverkusen all starting the campaign with new men in charge. There have been mixed fortunes, but new Bayer boss Gerardo Seoane has been one of the standouts so far. Leverkusen have collected 13 points from their first six games, and the likes of Patrik Schick, Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz have stood out in attack.
Wirtz has been particularly good, and continues to make the jaw drop at the age of just 18. He is the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach ten top-flight goals, and he is making the sport look very straightforward.
At the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper and captain Lukas Hradecky is in excellent form, and a good partnership has formed at centre-back between Odilon Kossounou and Jonathan Tah.
Arminia Bielefeld’s problem since winning promotion to the Bundesliga has been offensive production, and they are still struggling to score goals. Frank Kramer’s men have netted just three goals in six matches, and they are still looking for their first Bundesliga win of the season. Summer signings Patrick Wimmer and Robin Hack have given them a bit more unpredictability in attack, but the loss of last season’s standout performer Ritsu Doan has been keenly felt.
I think Leverkusen can win at the Schuco Arena, but given that Arminia like to shut games down, I’ll combine a Bayer win with an Under 4.5 Goals bet at evens on the Sportsbook. Just five of the 40 Bundesliga games since Arminia won promotion have featured five goals or more.
Malen can step out of Haaland’s shadow
Borussia Dortmund v Augsburg
Saturday 02 October, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
If anyone doubted the importance of Marco Reus and Erling Haaland to Borussia Dortmund, they only needed to watch last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach to have those doubts wiped away. Without that dangerous duo, Marco Rose’s men huffed and puffed throughout (before and after a first-half red card for Mahmoud Dahoud), completing a miserable reunion for the coach with his old employers. According to our friends at Infogol, BVB put up an xG figure of just 0.65, as they failed to have a single shot on target.
However, the return of Reus to the line-up helped die Schwarzgelben to a 1-0 win over Sporting in the Champions League, a victory that included a much-needed goal for summer signing Donyell Malen. The Dutchman has been unfairly labelled as the replacement for Jadon Sancho – they are very different players, and it was always likely for Malen to take a bit of time to settle. However, Malen’s goal may just ease the pressure, and he can operate with a bit more freedom. Dortmund may be relying on Malen to deliver, as star striker Haaland is still a struggling with the thigh injury that has kept him out of the last two matches.
Augsburg have made a dreadful start to the season, and find themselves just a point above the relegation zone. The Swabians have given Dortmund a few headaches in recent years (they beat them in September last year, and in 2019) but they have mainly been confined to Augsburg, and they tend to struggle at Signal Iduna Park. Across their last three visits, FCA have leaked 12 goals.
Regardless of whether Haaland starts or not, Malen is likely to be part of the starting XI, so I’ll back him to score at any time here at 2.111/10 on the Sportsbook.
In-form Frenchman to find the net
RB Leipzig v Bochum
Saturday 02 October, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
These are difficult times for RB Leipzig. Jesse Marsch’s team is already behind the 8-ball in the Champions League after defeats to Manchester City and Club Brugge, and they have fallen nine points behind leaders Bayern after just six matches. Defensively, the team is really struggling, and Marsch simply hasn’t been able to get his ideas across effectively in the opening weeks of the season. New signings Mohamed Simakan and Josko Gvardiol look like the raw recruits they are, and Andre Silva (who scored 28 league goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season) has only found the net once.
Amidst the gloom has been the startling form of Christopher Nkunku, who has been one of the standout stars of the Bundesliga so far. He scored a dazzling hat-trick against Manchester City, and followed that up with a brace in last weekend’s 6-0 demolition of Hertha Berlin. The former PSG player also found the net in midweek against Club Brugge.
Given that Bochum lost 7-0 at Bayern and that they have leaked 13 goals in six games. Nkunku should get a few scoring chances against the newly-promoted Ruhr side, and at 2.6413/8 on the Sportsbook to score at any time, he’s too big a price to ignore.