Bundesliga Betting: Eagles to open up title race

After making a profit from each of the last two matchdays, Kevin Hatchard's back with three more Bundesliga picks.

Champions to be given a tough test

Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich
Saturday 20 February, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Bayern's lead at the top of the Bundesliga has been cut to five points, and although they are still the clear favourites to lift the coveted meisterschale at the end of the campaign, they do have a few minor issues mounting up. Thomas Müller and Benjamin Pavard are out with COVID-19, Serge Gnabry is injured and the team looked understandably tired in Monday night's 3-3 draw with Arminia Bielefeld. The record champions had just returned from winning the Club World Cup in Qatar, and there was a looseness to their play, especially in defence. Bayern have now leaked 29 league goals in 21 games - they only conceded 32 in the whole of last season.

Jerome Boateng is expected to return to action after the tragic death of his former girlfriend Kasia Lenhardt, while midfield duo Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez are back in training after COVID-19, so there are some positives ahead of the game. However, the absence of the in-form Pavard at right-back is a massive blow. His understudy Bouna Sarr has been regularly found wanting at this level, and Niklas Süle is a capable deputy, but not an ideal one.

Eintracht Frankfurt's 5-1 win over Bayern last term brought about the promotion from within of current Bayern boss Hansi Flick, and he'll be all too aware of the challenge his side faces. Frankfurt are unbeaten at home this term, and a run of eight wins and two draws has seen them surge into the top three.

Centre-forward Andre Silva has smashed in 18 Bundesliga goals this term, Filip Kostic is causing havoc down the left, and Luka Jovic has beefed up the attacking options since his return from Real Madrid.

Bayern aren't quite the same side in attack without the creative and competitive Müller, and Bayern's problems at right-back could be exposed by Kostic. Bayern are a touch too short for my liking in the Match Odds market at 1.79, and even though they hammered the Eagles 5-0 in the reverse fixture, Adi Hütter's side has improved a lot since then.

Red Bulls to keep charging

Hertha Berlin v RB Leipzig
Sunday 21 February, 14:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

RB Leipzig fell short in midweek in the Champions League, as they made glaring errors in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in Budapest. It has however been a good week in other ways, as Leipzig shaved two points off the gap between them and the leaders Bayern in the title race. Die Roten Bullen have won four of their last five league games, and they have won three of their last five on their travels.

Leipzig's record against Sunday's opponents Hertha Berlin is exceptional, as they have won five of the clubs' last six Bundesliga meetings. They have rattled in 22 goals across those six games. They face a Hertha team that is still deep in relegation danger, and although the return of Pal Dardai as coach has made the side a little more cohesive, the capital club has still only collected a point from his three games in charge. Hertha haven't won since their first game of the year, and that was against rock-bottom Schalke.

Hertha's defending has been a massive problem all season, and they have leaked 37 goals in 21 top-flight games. Dardai has brought Norwegian veteran keeper Rune Jarstein back into the side, but that's not a long-term solution, and centre-backs Jordan Torunarigha and Dedryck Boyata are still missing. Left-back Marvin Plattenhardt and striker Jhon Cordoba have also been sidelined.

Leipzig's speedy attack could have a field day here, and I'll back Leipzig -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.2.

Arminia Bielefeld v Wolfsburg
Friday 19 February, 19:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video

Wolfsburg further enhanced their chances of qualifying for the Champions League last Sunday, as they kept Borussia Mönchengladbach at arm's length in a 0-0 draw at the Volkswagen Arena. The Wolves were the better team, but they found Foals keeper Yann Sommer in stubborn form. Oliver Glasner's side has a six-point lead over both Gladbach and Dortmund, with Bayer Leverkusen three points behind the VW club.

Wolfsburg haven't leaked a single goal in their last six competitive games, and they have a settled starting XI. 20-year-old defensive wunderkind Maxence Lacroix produced another outstanding display against Gladbach, while the midfield axis of Maxi Arnold and Xaver Schlager once again got through mountains of work.

Arminia Bielefeld are on a high after their unexpected 3-3 draw at champions Bayern Munich, but they were 3-1 up at one stage, and could've gone on to lose. Coach Uwe Neuhaus must be a little concerned about how defensively fragile his team has been in recent weeks - they have leaked 11 goals in their last three Bundesliga outings. Against a Wolfsburg side that gives away so little in defence, that has to be a concern.

I think an in-form Wolfsburg should win this with room to spare, so I'll back them -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.2.

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