Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen Saturday September 15, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Although new Bayern coach Niko Kovac was derided by some as an inexperienced candidate who wasn't the Bavarian giants' top choice, the Croatian could barely have made a better start to life at Sabener Strasse. Four games across three competitions, and four wins. The Supercup is in the bag, and two victories in the Bundesliga put the German champions on top of the pile before the international break.
Kovac is an excellent man-manager (look what he did with Kevin-Prince Boateng), and his ability to get into players' heads has already reaped rewards. Thomas Muller has shrugged off a dismal World Cup, while Robert Lewandowski has gone from wantaway agitator and World Cup flop to razor-sharp goal machine in a matter of weeks.
I said in my ante-post column that I didn't fancy Bayer Leverkusen to make the top four this term, and defeats to Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg have reinforced my view. Doubts have resurfaced about coach Heiko Herrlich, and it's worth noting that stretching back into last season, B04 have won just one of their last six league games.
Bayern are firm favourites here and there isn't a lot of wiggle room in their price of 1.24, so I'll look to the Over 3.5 Goals market. Bayern have rattled in three goals in each of their first two league matches, while five of Bayer's last eight league games have featured at least four goals, and they have leaked 12 goals in their last six Bundesliga outings. It's also worth remembering that Bayern put six goals past Bayer in the DFB Cup last season.
Fortuna to take another step forward
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hoffenheim Saturday September 15, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Although they have only picked up one point from their first two matches back in the Bundesliga, Fortuna Dusseldorf have plenty to be cheery about. They led Augsburg in their opener before the Swabians turned the game around in the second half, and they were very impressive at RB Leipzig on Matchday Two. They played well enough to win the game at the Red Bull Arena, but ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Now they face another big hitter, as Hoffenheim come to the ESPRIT Arena. Hoffe have a Champions League trip to face Shakhtar Donetsk looming on the horizon, and coach Julian Nagelsmann has to deal with a long injury list. Nadiem Amiri is out until November, Kasim Adams is struggling with a ligament injury, Benni Hubner is suffering from the after-effects of a concussion, and playmaker Kerem Demirbay has only just returned to training.
Even when Hoffenheim have a fully fit squad, they struggle on the road in the league. They have won just three of their last 16 Bundesliga away games, amazing for a team that finished third last season. I think they might be a bit distracted by that Champions League game, and Fortuna have played better than their points total suggests. At 1.96, I'll lay the visitors.
Floundering Frankfurt to lose again
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt Friday September 14, 19:30 Live on BT Sport 3
There are plenty of examples of clubs who have suffered the Icarus Effect, in that they rose high, flew too close to the metaphorical sun, and subsequently crashed and burned. Cologne are currently smouldering in the second tier of German football, after a first European qualification for 25 years was followed by the ignominy of relegation. Now Eintracht Frankfurt must battle to avoid the same fate.
Having won the DFB Cup - their first major trophy in 30 years - Frankfurt lost their inspirational coach Niko Kovac to Bayern Munich. He was followed out of the door by key players like Kevin-Prince Boateng, Marius Wolf and Omar Mascarell, weakening a squad that must now deal with the demands of a Europa League group-stage campaign.
The early signs under new coach Adi Hutter haven't been promising. A humiliating 5-0 shredding by Bayern in the German Supercup was bad enough, but a first-round cup exit at lower-league Ulm was the nadir. A dramatic Matchday Two defeat at home to Bremen (the Eagles conceded a 96th-minute winner) means Hutter has lost three of his four competitive games in charge. To make matters worse, a clutch of senior players are either injured or suspended.
Borussia Dortmund suffered their first setback under new boss Lucien Favre before the international break, as they drew 0-0 at Hannover. BVB ought to have nicked it - Marco Reus hit the crossbar, having earlier been denied by a world-class save from H96 keeper Michael Esser, and Maximilian Philipp saw a brave header deflected onto a post.
Dortmund are unquestionably a work in progress, but they should beat a disjointed and depleted Frankfurt with room to spare. Opta tell us that BVB have won their last seven home games against Eintracht. It will help the hosts' cause that their attack has been boosted by the loan signing of Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer. The Spanish international should make his debut on Friday night.
*Kevin will be commentating on Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig v Hannover for the Bundesliga's TV world feed, and on Freiburg v Stuttgart for Amazon Music - you can follow him on Twitter @kevinhatchard
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen at 2.00
Lay Hoffenheim v Fortuna Dusseldorf at 1.96
Back Borussia Dortmund -1.5 on the Asian Handicap v Eintracht Frankfurt at [2.35]