Bundesliga Betting: League leaders to survive Dortmund test
We're all set for a rare midweek round of fixtures in the Bundesliga, and Kevin Hatchard has four more selections.
In-form Leipzig to put a flag in the sand
Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig Tuesday 17 December, 19:30 Live on BT Sport 2 and Betfair Live Video
RB Leipzig are the form team in Germany at the moment, having surged to the top of the table with a six-match winning streak in the Bundesliga. In that sequence, they have scored 25 goals (at least three in each victory) and conceded just six. On-loan Roma forward Patrick Schick has given a timely reminder of his quality, while Timo Werner (16 Bundesliga goals and counting) is giving Robert Lewandowski a run for his money in the race for the Torjaegerkanone.
RBL coach Julian Nagelsmann appears to have found a happy medium between his style and the high-intensity pressing machine that he inherited. It also helps that he has a deep squad to choose from - there is competition for places in all departments, and there are some excellent players like Ademola Lookman who have barely featured. It's an incredibly young squad (Leipzig have the youngest average age when it comes to Bundesliga starting XIs this season) but they are coping with the pressure, having also reached the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
Borussia Dortmund are still in the title mix, and are just four points off top spot. However, they have had some rough moments during this campaign. They were humiliated yet again in Der Klassiker, losing 4-0 at Bayern Munich, they suffered the embarrassment of having to come back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at home to the bottom side Paderborn, and they lost at newly-promoted Union Berlin. Time and time again, the spotlight shines on coach Lucien Favre, and yet he remains in situ, despite doubts abouts his viability as a long-term solution.
When Favre's football works, it is a joy to behold, and BVB have won their last four games in all competitions. Despite some off-the-field indiscretions and talk of him being unsettled, Jadon Sancho is in terrific form. The English teenager has ten goals and ten assists across the Bundesliga and UCL, and he has scored in each of his last six appearances. Alongside him, Thorgan Hazard has scored four league goals and set up seven more, while skipper Marco Reus has smashed in nine Bundesliga goals. Behind them, Julian Brandt continues to settle and improve - he has three goals and four assists across the BL and UCL.
However, the issue for Dortmund is in defence, and my belief that they won't be able to contain Leipzig underpins my contention that the hosts are far too short for the win here at 2.24. Yes, BVB beat Leipzig home and away last term, but both of those wins weren't straightforward, and Die Roten Bullen are even better under Nagelsmann than they were under Ralf Rangnick. BVB employ a high line, and I think the visitors will carve out plenty of chances. Let's get two results in our portfolio by backing Draw and Away in the Double Chance market at 1.79. Also, with both teams scoring freely, and likely to play on the front foot, I'll go for Over 3.5 Goals at 2.26.
Augsburg to maintain momentum
Augsburg v Fortuna Dusseldorf Tuesday 17 December, 19:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Momentum is so important in football, and Augsburg certainly have it. The Swabians have collected 13 points from their last five games, and they are playing some excellent football. On Friday, they counter-attacked with deadly precision in a 4-2 win at Hoffenheim. Striker Florian Niederlechner produced a Herculean performance - he was credited officially with three assists, and won the penalty from which the other goal was scored.
Fortuna Dusseldorf are stuck in the bottom three, and have lost momentum entirely. Admittedly, they have had a tough fixture list, and have been hammered recently by Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig. However, they haven't won since the first week of November, and they've collected just two points from their last seven away games.
I'll back the hosts to collect a third straight home win at 1.93.
Foals to get back on track
Borussia Monchengladbach v Paderborn/strong> Wednesday 18 December, 19:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
I know I keep getting burned by opposing Paderborn, but they are still bottom, and I still genuinely believe they are the worst team in the division. On Wednesday they visit Borussia Monchengladbach, who are chasing a seventh straight home win in the Bundesliga.
In three of Gladbach's last five home wins, they have led at half-time and full-time, and given that they'll be fired up after Sunday's defeat at Wolfsburg, I think Paderborn are in for an early storm. Paderborn have conceded 18 first-half goals this term already, including ten in the first 15 minutes of games.
I'll back Gladbach/Gladbach in the HT/FT market at 1.87.