Bundesliga Betting: Gritty Union can upset BVB
The Bundesliga's packing in a rare set of midweek fixtures, and Kevin Hatchard's back with three selections.
Union can trip up Dortmund once again
Borussia Dortmund v Union Berlin
Wednesday 21 April, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video and BT Sport 1
It was a bitter-sweet week for Borussia Dortmund. They crashed out of the Champions League despite a brave performance against Manchester City, but then their hopes of qualifying for next season's competition were boosted. They thrashed hapless Werder Bremen 4-1, while Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt both lost. BVB are now just four points behind Frankfurt, and five adrift of the Wolves.
Now a tough test awaits against an Union Berlin side that just beat Stuttgart, and deservedly drew at Bayern in the last away game. Union have lost just six league matches all season, and there is a genuine chance of them qualifying for European competition for the first time in two decades. They have caused Dortmund plenty of problems since coming into the Bundesliga for the first time - they have won both games against them in Köpenick, although they were smashed 5-0 at Signal Iduna Park on their last visit.
All of the pressure is heaped upon Dortmund here, and while they have the superior players and may well win if they click, I can't accept their price of 1.57 in the Match Odds market. Dortmund have only won five of their last 11 Bundesliga home games, so I'll give Union a one-goal start here on the Asian Handicap at 1.98.
Fear will dominate basement battle
Arminia Bielefeld v Schalke
Tuesday 20 April, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
After sliding towards the abyss for months (perhaps years), Schalke's descent into the second tier of German football could be confirmed on Tuesday. If the Royal Blues are beaten at the Schuco Arena, they cannot escape demotion. It will be a fully justified relegation - Schalke have the worst attack and worst defence in the league, they have only won twice and they have amassed a paltry 13 points.
Saturday's 4-0 hammering at Freiburg was typical of Schalke's season. They made basic errors (Benjamin Stambouli failed to cut out a routine pass for the first, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gave away a clumsy penalty for the second), they lacked any kind of attacking cohesion (their first shot was in the 62nd minute) and they were generally outplayed and outworked.
Arminia Bielefeld are still in with a shot of survival, and Frank Kramer's men are trying to grind their way to safety. They won 1-0 at home to Freiburg, and then drew 0-0 at Augsburg, and they have only lost two of their seven matches since Kramer took charge. I'll admit I was sceptical about Kramer's appointment, but while the football is still painful to watch at times, it is pushing the club towards survival.
This game brings together two of the most limited attacking teams in the division, and given Schalke's proximity to the drop, I can't see many risks being taken here. I'll go for No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.9. That bet has paid out in seven of Arminia's last nine games, and eight of Schalke's last ten.
Eagles will soar again
Eintracht Frankfurt v Augsburg
Tuesday 20 April, 19:30
Live on Betfair Live Video and BT Sport 3
It's been a chaotic week for Eintracht Frankfurt. Influential transfer chief Fredi Bobic is joining Hertha Berlin, while coach Adi Hütter signalled his intention to join Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer, and then Frankfurt promptly lost 4-0 to Gladbach to conjure up the kind of PR disaster that's usually reserved for Boris Johnson.
However, there is a deep desire within the Frankfurt squad to hold off the charge of Borussia Dortmund and secure qualification for next season's Champions League (whatever that will look like). In many ways, Augsburg are the perfect opponents. The Swabians' away form is atrocious, with six defeats from the last seven road matches, and they are playing like a team that knows it is probably safe from relegation.
Frankfurt are unbeaten at home this season, and they have won seven of their last eight league games at Deutsche Bank Park. They have scored at least twice in all of those wins. I'll back an Eintracht/Over 2.5 Goals double here at 1.92 on the Sportsbook's Bet Builder.
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