Bundesliga Betting: Southern showdown will be fun
After securing 3/3 winners last week, Kevin Hatchard's back with another hat-trick of Bundesliga picks.
Old-school classic will entertain
Bayern Munich v Stuttgart
Saturday 20 March, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
Apart from an embarrassing DFB Cup exit at second-tier side Holstein Kiel, the season couldn't have gone much better for Bayern Munich. The Bavarian giants are top of the Bundesliga, they are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and they have won the Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL Supercup. Robert Lewandowski looks incredibly sharp in attack (32 league goals and counting), Thomas Müller continues to be an assist machine and the midfield pairing of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka is one of the most impressive in European football.
However, not all is sweetness and light. Bayern yet again failed to keep a clean sheet in midweek, as they leaked a late consolation goal in a 2-1 win over Lazio, and they have only managed five shutouts in the league all season. Hansi Flick's iteration of Bayern have always been willing to take risks and leave themselves exposed defensively, but a certain sloppiness has crept into their defensive play this term.
There are also issues off the pitch. A growing rift between coach Flick and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is becoming a real problem, with what the German tabloid press have described as Bayern's "alpha males" failing to agree on transfer policy and team selection. Flick's failure to rule out a move to replace Joachim Löw as Germany boss has also put noses out of joint.
Bayern will be fully tested this weekend by a Stuttgart side that in still in the mix of European qualification, and is in absolutely no danger of going straight back down to the second tier. Striker Sasa Kalajdzic has equalled a club record by scoring in his last seven Bundesliga matches, and fleet-footed winger Silas Wamangituka has become one of the most thrilling players to watch in the division. Stuttgart have scored at least once in their last nine competitive matches.
Bayern won the reverse fixture 3-1, and I expect a similar scoreline here. Bayern will be given problems by Stuttgart's pace and variation in attack, but I expect the champions to win through in the end. I'll back Bayern to win and both teams to score at 1.91 on the Sportsbook.
Wounded Foals can shred Schalke
Schalke v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Saturday 20 March, 17:30
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Schalke's miserable Bundesliga season hit another low last Saturday's as the Royal Blues were hammered 5-0 at Wolfsburg. Having competed fairly well for half an hour, the league's bottom side collapsed totally after a calamitous own goal from on-loan Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi. Neither Mustafi nor his fellow Gunner Sead Kolasinac have been able to make a positive difference since their arrival, and the Schalke ship is sinking without trace. They have the worst attack and the worst defence in the division, and they have taken just 10 points from their 25 games.
Gladbach are also on poor form, having lost their last seven competitive games, and the word is that they will part ways with Dortmund-bound coach Marco Rose if they lose this one. I don't actually think that action will be necessary - Gladbach have played better than results suggest, and they should have far too much for Schalke. For large parts of their 3-2 defeat at Augsburg last Friday, the Foals dominated, and it was only wayward finishing that let them down. I expect players like Lars Stindl and Florian Neuhaus to thrive here, and although Gladbach aren't a top-six side at the moment, they have the quality of one, and Schalke have lost all of their games against the current top six by at least two goals this season.
As much as Gladbach have struggled in 2021, I'll still back them to win this with room to spare. Back them -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.3.
Augsburg to edge towards the finish line
Freiburg v Augsburg
Sunday 21 March, 17:00
Live on BT Sport and Betfair Live Video
Barring some 50 + 1 rule-busting financial injection, a club like Augsburg are never going to win the Bundesliga, but every season they secure at the top level is a massive triumph. Last Friday's win over Gladbach was based on opportunistic finishing and strong defending, and I believe FCA can pick up another precious result this weekend.
Augsburg are eight points clear of the bottom three going into this weekend, and another win will make it very hard for the bottom sides to catch them over the final eight matchdays. Heiko Herrlich's side has won three of the last seven on the road, and they've edged out the likes of Köln and Arminia Bielefeld.
Freiburg are five points better off than Augsburg and are still on the fringes of the race for the top six, but they are running out of steam. The Black Forest side have only won one of their last five matches, and have failed to score in four of those outings. They have lost their last two games at the Schwarzwaldstadion, and coach Christian Streich admits that securing survival so early has taken the tension out of the campaign.
Freiburg are odds-on favourites here at 1.96, and I think that's too short, so I'll lay them.
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