Bundesliga Betting: Bayern to maintain their march
Bayern Munich are on the charge, and although Kevin Hatchard doesn't think Leverkusen can stop their winning run, they can at least score.
Bayern to win again, but Bayer can strike a blow
Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen Saturday 30 November, 17:30 Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Sometimes you only get a sense of how popular a coach was when he leaves his role. In Niko Kovac's case at Bayern Munich, our suspicions have been confirmed. While senior players at Sabener Strasse may well think the Croatian is a nice chap, they were never truly convinced about his tactical acumen. Joshua Kimmich has publicly thanked new boss Hansi Flick for clearer instructions about the pressing game, while keeper Manuel Neuer suggested that having the lines of the team about 15 or 20 metres closer together was having a hugely beneficial effect.
The results have been clear for all to see. Interim coach Flick has won all four of his games in charge, Bayern haven't conceded a goal in that spell, and the record champions have rattled in 16 goals. Tuesday's 6-0 demolition of Crvena Zvezda in the Champions League was spectacular - star striker Robert Lewandowski scored four goals in 15 minutes, yet another record for his extraordinary collection. The Polish international has already scored 31 goals for club and country, and we haven't even reached December. He has scored in all but one of his Bundesliga appearances this term.
Bayern have moved to within a point of top spot in the Bundesliga, and face a critical fortnight. Next Saturday they travel to face the current league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, and this Saturday they take on a Bayer Leverkusen side that hasn't quite reached its true potential. Bayer are by no means adrift in the race for Champions League qualification, and they have stayed alive in their bid to reach that competition's last 16.
The problem Bayer have had is that they keep missing chances in games, and without that clinical edge in front of goal, it's hard to see them truly flourishing under Peter Bosz. They have lots of goal threats, like Kevin Volland, Kai Havertz, Lucas Alario and Karim Bellarabi, but with a game on the line in the 94th minute, would they snap up the match-winning chance? Bayer score goals freely, but not always when it truly matters.
At the other end of the pitch, the progress of German international centre-back Jonathan Tah seems to have stalled. He has struggled recently at international level, and he looks like a player wo has lost confidence. He always seems a little bit out of position, and while his pace and strength often gets him out of trouble, Peter Bosz's high-risk style of play doesn't suit him.
I think Bayern can continue their winning run, but Bayer might end their sequence of clean sheets. Both teams have scored in the teams' last five meetings, so I'll back Bayern to win and Both Teams To Score at 11/10 on the Sportsbook.
Paderborn heroics a flash in the pan
Paderborn v RB Leipzig Saturday 30 November, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Paderborn's superb first-half display in their 3-3 draw at Borussia Dortmund deserves a huge amount of credit, after they took full advantage of their hapless opponents' flaws. BVB's absurdly high defensive line, coupled with the lack of pace displayed by Mats Hummels and Julian Weigl at centre-back, allowed Paderborn to use their pace on the counter-attack and go 3-0 up. The second half was more in keeping with what we've seen from a team that is bottom of the table, with just one win to its credit. Steffen Baumgart's team couldn't break forward, and collapsed defensively.
Paderborn have conceded 29 goals in 12 Bundesliga games, and they are running into one of the hottest attacking teams in Europe. RB Leipzig qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek, and they have rattled in 26 goals in their last six competitive games. They put eight goals past Mainz, four past Koln, four past Union Berlin and four past Hertha Berlin. When they face underdogs, they don't ease off.
On the road, Leipzig have won six times already by a two-goal margin or more in all competitions. I'll back them to make that seven this weekend. Back Leipzig -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at just above evens.
Table-toppers too short for win
Borussia Monchengladbach v Freiburg Sunday December 01, 14:30 Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Borussia Monchengladbach are unquestionably ahead of the curve when it comes to their rebuild under new coach Marco Rose. They are top after 12 games, but last weekend's defeat at newly-promoted Union Berlin is a sign of how far they still have to go. Although the Foals started that match incredibly well, hitting the post through Patrick Herrmann, they faded badly after Union took the lead.
Freiburg's 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen last weekend was their latest eye-catching result. Coach Christian Streich admitted his side were second-best at the BayArena, but they have developed a handy knack of picking up points even when they aren't playing well. Freiburg have lost just twice in the league all season, and on their travels they have suffered just one Bundesliga defeat in six. That's a huge improvement from a team that has generally accrued the vast majority of its points at home.
This bet is purely because I feel the prices are wrong in the Match Odds market. Gladbach feel too short at 1.56 - they slipped up last week, they had a draining UEL game on Thursday, and Freiburg are in great form. I'll lay the hosts.