Bundesliga Betting: Gladbach won't suffer a setback
After making a profit from the last two columns, our Bundesliga man Kevin Hatchard is back with three more picks.
Fabulous Foals to win again
Union Berlin v Borussia Monchengladbach Saturday 23 November, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Given that Borussia Monchengladbach haven't won the Bundesliga title since their glory years in the 1970s, no-one is getting carried away by the fact they are four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, but there is an unmistakable excitement about how the team is playing. Gladbach are winning both at home and on the road, they are playing a thrilling brand of all-action football under new coach Marco Rose, and youngsters like Marcus Thuram, Laszlo Benes and Florian Neuhaus are being backed up by consistent displays from more experienced campaigners like Patrick Herrmann and keeper Yann Sommer.
Sporting director Max Eberl continues to give the club stability with some savvy off-field moves. He had the bravery and foresight to dump vastly experiences coach Dieter Hecking, and he was able to tempt Rose away from a number of other suitors. Eberl has recently agreed new contracts with Benes and Neuhaus, and the summer acquisition of Thuram (five Bundesliga goals and five assists in his first 11 appearances, and a recent winner against Roma in the Europa League) is looking like a masterstroke. Eberl is the best in the Bundesliga business, and it's no surprise that he has been repeatedly linked with a move to Bayern Munich.
Union Berlin have won their last three games in all competitions, and they are chasing a third straight home victory in the top flight. It's been famine or feast at the Stadion An der Alten Foersterei - Union have won three and lost three of their six Bundesliga home matches. The concern about Union is their lack of pace in defence, and with speedsters like Thuram and Herrmann causing havoc and the elusive movement of Alassane Plea, they could be in for a tough afternoon. They couldn't contain Leipzig's star forwards in a 4-0 defeat, and they struggled against Bas Dost and Andre Silva against Eintracht Frankfurt.
I think Gladbach's in-form forward line will make the difference here, and I'll back the league leaders to win at 2.20.
Gisdol set for baptism of fire
RB Leipzig v Koln Saturday 23 November, 17:30 Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
The people of Cologne are an excitable bunch, and as a result expectation levels amongst the FC Koln fanbase can rise and fall at breakneck speed. The 2-1 home defeat to Hoffenheim just before the international break sparked a classic wave of Cologne chaos - sporting director Armin Veh left the club on the night of the game, and coach Achim Beierlorzer followed him out a day later.
Horst Heldt has filled the sporting director role, and former Hoffenheim and Hamburg boss Markus Gisdol has been brought in. The appointment of Gisdol is a risk - he has an underwhelming Bundesliga record, and was part of Hamburg's historic relegation season.
Gisdol could barely have a tougher opening game. Leipzig have won their last four competitive games 6-1, 8-0, 2-0 and 4-2. Star striker Timo Werner scored seven goals in those four matches, and the team is playing breathtaking football under genius coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Leipzig should extend their winning streak here, and should do so in style.
Paderborn to suffer Borussia backlash
Borussia Dortmund v Paderborn Friday 22 November, 19:30 Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Trips to Bayern Munich have become an annual act of self-harm for Borussia Dortmund, more Der Massacre than Der Klassiker. Their 4-0 drubbing at the Allianz Arena just before the international break was a stark reminder that this BVB squad has plenty of work to do to pip Bayern (and others) to the Meisterschale this season. That said, Dortmund are still in the title mix. They are six points behind surprise leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, and only two behind Bayern and second-placed RB Leipzig.
A home game against rock-bottom Paderborn could be the perfect tonic. SCP have lost their last two away games 3-0 at Koln and Hoffenheim, they were shredded 5-1 at home by Schalke, and they have leaked 26 goals in just 11 games. It's one thing to not have the requisite quality to compete, but it's another to just abandon defensive basics, and that's what's been happening with Steffen Baumgart's side. This is a club that won back-to-back promotions, and many of the players that turned out for them in the third tier are still there now.
Dortmund have already won by three goals or more three times at home in the Bundesliga this season, and I'll back them to do that again.