Bundesliga Saturday Tips: Billy Goats and Eagles to go wild
We've reached the penultimate matchday of the Bundesliga season, and Kevin Hatchard has picked out three more selections.
Karneval club to throw a party
Köln v Eintracht Frankfurt Saturday 20 June, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Although they were humbled by Rhineland rivals Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday in a 3-1 defeat, Köln know that only an extraordinary turn of events would now see them dragged into the relegation playoff. Whilst the acquisition of safety is a big achievement for a side that was bottom in December, they have tailed off badly since the restart, with three draws and four defeats. Coach Markus Gisdol says some of his players are now fighting for their futures.
Eintracht Frankfurt were on dreadful form themselves not that long ago, but a run of four wins in five league matches has saved their campaign, and even Europa League qualification isn't totally out of the question. The Eagles have been scoring freely, rattling in 16 goals in their last seven Bundesliga games.
Over 3.5 Goals is trading at 2.32 here, and I think that's a great bet. Köln have scored in their last 18 league games, but have also conceded at least twice in seven of their last eight outings. 10 of their 15 league games in 2020 have featured at least four goals. An Over 3.5 Goals bet has landed in seven of Frankfurt last 12 BL outings, and Köln won the reverse fixture 4-2.
Basement boys to falter again
Paderborn v Borussia Mönchengladbach Saturday 20 June, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
Tuesday's defeat at Union Berlin confirmed that Paderborn will depart the Bundesliga stage after just one season, having won plenty of admirers along the way. The problem was that they didn't win enough matches - just four and counting so far - and the brutal truth is that their lack of collective quality has been exposed. An injury to promising young defender Luca Kilian did them no favours in 2020, and none of the club's strikers have netted more than five top-flight goals this term.
Coach Steffen Baumgart, who took the team from the third tier to the first in just two seasons, isn't under threat of the sack. If anything, his departure is more likely to happen because a Bundesliga club snaps him up - the likes of Hoffenheim have already been linked. Baumgart was true to his word in the sense that his team stuck to their attacking principles, and the drop in attacking output since the restart was down to a lack of ingenuity rather than a sense of pragmatism.
Paderborn's last two home games have seen them shredded 6-1 by Borussia Dortmund and 5-1 by Werder Bremen, and I suspect another heavy defeat is on the cards here. Visitors Borussia Mönchengladbach certainly don't lack motivation, as they are pushing hard for a top-four finish. Their old Rhineland foes Bayer Leverkusen are a point ahead of them with just two matchdays remaining.
Gladbach wiped the floor with Wolfsburg on Tuesday in a 3-0 win, and that was without the injured Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea. Breel Embolo impressed in their absence, as did Jonas Hofmann, who grabbed a brace.
There are a few ways we can play this, but I'm intrigued by the OddsBoost on offer of 6/5 for Gladbach to score two goals or more, and to win six corners or more. Gladbach's average of corners won per match is 5.12, but Paderborn have conceded the most corners in the league, at an average of 6.47. Gladbach racked up eight corners during their 2-0 win over the same opponents in December, and Paderborn have conceded six corners or more in eight of their last 12 Bundesliga outings.
As for the goals part of the bet, Paderborn have the worst defensive record in the league, with 68 goals leaked in 32 games. They have conceded two goals or more in 19 of those matches.
Bremen to win nailbiting clash
Mainz v Werder Bremen Saturday 20 June, 14:30 Live on Betfair Live Video
In one of the most extraordinary and frankly nonsensical results of the season, Mainz pulled off a 2-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. To put that into context, only Bayern have beaten BVB at Signal Iduna Park this term in any competition. Mainz managed what Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSG all failed to do.
That win has moved the Zerofivers six points clear of Saturday's opponents Werder Bremen in the race to avoid the drop, but they aren't yet mathematically safe from either automatic relegation or demotion via the playoff. Given Mainz's poor home form, their safety can't be guaranteed. Achim Beierlorzer's team has lost the last three league games at the Opel Arena, and they haven't scored in any of them. If you stretch back further, they have lost seven of their last ten on home soil.
Werder lost 1-0 to champions Bayern Munich in midweek, but their away form gives them cause for hope. Florian Kohfeldt's battlers have won all three of their away games since the restart, and they have only lost two of the last seven away from the Weserstadion.
This might be a strange psychological test for Mainz. They know that anything but a defeat sees them avoid a bottom-two finish, but they aren't good enough defensively to dig in. I'll back Werder to get the win that keeps their survival hopes alive.