Bundesliga Tips: Basement boys to be battered

We're speeding towards the winter break in the Bundesliga, and Kevin Hatchard has three selections from Matchday 13.

Failing Fürth to lose again

Greuther Fürth v Hoffenheim
Saturday 27 November, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video

It's difficult to find new things to say about how inadequate Greuther Fürth are at this level, so I'll let the numbers speak for themselves. The Clover Leaves have suffered a record ten straight Bundesliga defeats, they have only collected one point from their 12 league outings, and they have still never won a Bundesliga home match. Highly-rated coach Stefan Leitl is battling manfully, but he just can't get his team to bridge the quality gap.

To make matters worse, Jeremy Dudziak and Max Christiansen have both picked up knocks in training, Paul Seguin and Cedric Itten both have heavy colds, and Jetro Willems has been ruled out. Fürth struggle when they are at full strength, so they can ill afford to lose players.

Hoffenheim beat RB Leipzig last weekend, and they are having one of their best runs of form under coach Sebastian Hoeness. Admittedly, their away form is a lot worse than their home form (they've taken just a point from their last five away matches, and 12 from the last five home games), but against Fürth they shouldn't be trading at as big a price as 1.72 in the Match Odds market. Star player Andrej Kramaric is back, and even without him Hoffe should have enough firepower to win this. I'll back the visitors -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.15.

Bayern to win, but don't expect a hammering

Bayern Munich v Arminia Bielefeld
Saturday 27 November, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football

The COVID-19 outbreak and vaccine debate that has knocked Bayern Munich off course shows no signs of abating. Joshua Kimmich missed the 2-1 defeat at Augsburg because he is unvaccinated and a close contact has the virus, but he now has the virus himself, and so will miss this game and Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund. Niklas Süle, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Josip Stanisic have also tested positive, although Süle is expected to be available. Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala have now been vaccinated, but they will still be absent this weekend.

Bayern won 2-1 at Dynamo Kyiv in midweek in the Champions League, and that was a draining game played a long way from home. With so many players unavailable or short of full fitness, one wonders just how intensely Bayern will approach this clash with relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld.

Arminia drew 3-3 at Bayern last season, but don't be distracted by that. Generally, they play safety-first football under Frank Kramer, and they lack firepower. The chief aim here will be to dig in and try to nick something, and according to Infogol, Arminia have the lowest Expected Goals For figure in the entire division (11.2 through 12 games). On that basis, it's hard to see the visitors contributing much in terms of scoring goals.

There are two ways to go here. We can either give Arminia a three-goal start on the Asian Handicap at 1.82, or we can back Bayern to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.64, as I don't think this will be as spectacular a game as many Bayern matches are. If Bayern start well, they may well look to conserve energy and avoid injury. I'll go for the latter option here, as it gives us the 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and 2-1 scorelines.

Inconsistent Leipzig to slip again

RB Leipzig v Bayer Leverkusen
Sunday 28 November, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports

The last couple of weeks have summed up RB Leipzig's season so far. They beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the Bundesliga and demolished Club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League. However, in the middle of those two wins was a wretched 2-0 defeat at Hoffenheim, a game that saw them lose the Expected Goals battle 3.06 to 0.28.

Leipzig will be without coach Jesse Marsch and goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi this Sunday, as both have tested positive for COVID-19. Dani Olmo and Domink Szoboszlai are racing to be fit, while Yussuf Poulsen is definitely out, although he went to Bruges to give a rousing pre-match speech (which clearly worked).

Leverkusen lack consistency themselves, but key attacking players Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz are both fit, and before their respective injuries they were in excellent form, with 12 league goals between them. Three of the last four meetings between the clubs have ended 1-1, and I'm happy to lay the hosts here at 1.85, as I don't see much between the sides. Leverkusen are unbeaten on the road in the Bundesliga this season, and I think they'll stay unbeaten here, especially without a home crowd (COVID restrictions mean this is a "ghost game".)

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