Betting on the Second Half of the 2019/20 Bundesliga Season
Germany’s top clubs have been enjoying their traditional winter break over the festive period. But after almost a month without any action, the Bundesliga returns this weekend.
With the second half of the season just days away, it’s the perfect time to take a look at all the top betting markets and see if we can find some value in the bookies’ odds.
In this post, I will analyze the Bundesliga title race and assess the competition for a top-four finish. I will also discuss the relegation battle and decide which player will finish at the top of the goalscoring charts.
After taking everything into consideration, I will share my picks for each market at the end.
But before we get right into the best bets for the second half of the Bundesliga, let’s start by taking a look at the Bundesliga table at the halfway point in the 2019/20 season.
Current Bundesliga Standings
The table has an unfamiliar look this season. The title race is set to be the closest we’ve seen for many years, while the relegation battle remains wide open.
|2019/20 BUNDESLIGA TABLE|
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The unpredictability surrounding the German top flight at the moment means betting on the Bundesliga this season could prove to be very profitable.
Let’s check out all the main markets and find the best bet for each one.
Bundesliga Title Race – Is It Leipzig’s Year?
Bayern has claimed the past seven Bundesliga titles, so their dominance usually means the title race is all but over by the time the winter break comes around. However, Leipzig currently leads the way, but just four points separate RB and third-place Bayern.
It’s set to be an intriguing battle at the top end of the table, so let’s see what the bookies think.
Bayern’s recent control over the Bundesliga means the bookmakers still favor the reigning champion to retain their crown. Let’s take a closer look at the main title contenders.
Niko Kovac may have guided Bayern to the domestic double last season, but it was almost inevitable that he would lose his job as soon as the team hit a run of poor form. Despite the silverware, Kovac never really hit it off with the club’s supporters, and he failed to get the best out of his players.
Following Kovac’s sacking in November, Bayern’s performances have improved. Temporary head coach Hansi Flick has got the team playing with a swagger again. But Bayern is still nowhere near their best.
Bayern’s problems are largely due to their defense. The team is still creating plenty of goalscoring opportunities, while Robert Lewandowski continues to find the back of the net at a frightening rate. But lengthy injuries to key defenders Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandes have hampered the back line.
The reigning champion is likely to bolster to their squad during the January transfer window. But even with the addition of a world-class center-back, I’m not sure if Bayern is capable of defending their crown this time around.
Bayern’s downfall, coupled with Leipzig’s rise, means the Bundesliga title race is wide open this season.
Prior to the start of the season, I was very excited to see how RB Leipzig would progress under the guidance of Julian Nagelsmann. At the halfway point in the campaign, it’s fair to say that both Leipzig and Nagelsmann have exceeded expectations.
Leipzig’s attractive possession-based approach has seen the team shoot to the top of the table. Nagelsmann has taken RB’s game to the next level this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Leipzig stayed at the summit for the remainder of the campaign.
Leipzig has lost just two of their seventeen league games in 2019/20. However, rare defeats to Freiburg and Schalke were quickly followed by an 8-0 win over Mainz, marking the beginning of a ruthless six-game winning streak in the German top flight.
Remarkably, Leipzig scored at least three goals in each of their eight games leading up to the winter break. If Leipzig can maintain their blistering goalscoring form and star striker Timo Werner continues to add to his already impressive tally, RB will be extremely difficult to stop.
After finishing runner up to Bayern in four of the last seven seasons, Dortmund made a series of high-profile signings in the summer transfer window in an attempt to put an end to Bayern’s domination.
Mats Hummels, Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz, and Julian Brandt were all brought in for big money, but Dortmund has failed to make an impact on the title race so far this season.
Lucien Favre’s tactics have been widely questioned, but the club has backed their Swiss manager. The 62-year-old has come in for criticism after continuing to use players out of position, while Favre is yet to find a solution to Dortmund’s woeful defensive record.
However, the recent arrival of Erling Haaland has given Favre more attacking options. The highly rated teenager will have to pick up where he left off at Red Bull Salzburg if Dortmund is to stand any chance of challenging for their first Bundesliga title since 2011/12.
If you think Dortmund’s title wait has been long, then spare a thought for Monchengladbach. The Foals’ last top-flight triumph came all the way back in 1976/77! Still, after spending a large portion of the campaign at the top of the table, Gladbach supporters have been dreaming of a return to the glory days this season.
New boss Marco Rose has hit the ground running, and he’s clearly tightened things up at the back. No other team in the division has conceded fewer goals than Gladbach, but it’s the club’s forward players that have been grabbing most of the headlines.
Following their arrival in the off-season, Marcus Thuram and Breel Embolo have forged a formidable partnership up front. Both players have brought pace and intelligence to Gladbach’s forward line, netting six goals each this season.
While Bayern, Leipzig, and Dortmund have to deal with the added workload of Champions League soccer in the coming months, Rose’s side doesn’t have to worry about competing in Europe this year. This could give Gladbach an edge over their rivals.
Finishing the campaign in the top four would be a huge success. But following their promising start to 2019/20, I think Gladbach will be considering themselves as a genuine title contender.
Top Four – Can Schalke Continue to Impress?
With a place in next season’s Champions League up for grabs, the battle for a top-four finish is always thrilling. As things stand, just six points separate fourth-place Dortmund and Wolfsburg down in ninth.
Here are the odds for the teams in contention for a top-four finish.
The bookies haven’t even included Bayern in this market, while Leipzig, Dortmund, and Gladbach offer very little value. Let’s check out some of the other potential top-four finishers.
Schalke has wildly overachieved this season. After narrowly avoiding relegation last term, former Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner was brought in to steer the club away from the drop zone. But the 47-year-old has done much more than that.
There’s nothing flashy about Wagner’s style of play, but the team’s relentless work rate has seen Schalke cement fifth place in the table — level with fourth-place Dortmund on 30 points.
Considering last season’s troubles, a top-four finish would be a remarkable achievement for the Schalke this year. In fact, finishing anywhere in the top half of the table would be a vast improvement on last term’s efforts.
Peter Bosz’s side secured a top-four finish last season thanks to a strong run at the end of the campaign. As a result, Bayer was expected to challenge the country’s top clubs this term. However, things haven’t quite gone to plan.
The departure of Julian Brandt has clearly affected the team, while youngster Kai Havertz hasn’t been able to replicate last season’s eye-catching form. The 20-year-old’s goals were pivotal to Leverkusen’s success in 2018/19, but the goals have dried up recently.
Bayer has only managed to score 23 goals in 17 games so far, the lowest total of all top eight sides in the Bundesliga. At this rate, I can’t see Leverkusen finishing in the Champions League places.
Along with losing their manager, Hoffenheim waved goodbye to a number of key players during the summer transfer window. Considering the major upheaval at the club, I wasn’t surprised to see Hoffenheim win just one of their opening six games this season.
But a run of five straight victories soon after saw Alfred Schreuder’s men march up the table, and now Hoffenheim is in contention for a Europa League spot at the halfway point.
Still, the team is very much a work in progress at the moment, so I’m expecting a mid-table finish for Hoffenheim come the end of the season. Given the club’s current transitional period, I think Schreuder will be happy with that.
Wolfsburg has arguably been the Bundesliga’s most inconsistent team so far this season. The team currently boasts the joint-best defensive record in the division but also has the joint-worst goalscoring record.
The club’s peculiar numbers have left Wolfsburg lingering in the middle of the table during the winter break. Manager Oliver Glasner will be hoping that his side can find some consistency in the second half of the campaign.
Wolfsburg lost just one of their six Europa League group games earlier in the season, but a run in Europe could have a negative impact on the team’s domestic performances. I can’t see Wolfsburg finishing any higher than mid-table.
Relegation – Will Bremen Avoid the Drop?
The odds suggest that Paderborn will almost certainly be relegated, and I have to agree with the bookmakers. The club’s rise from the third tier of German soccer to the Bundesliga in the space of just two years means that Paderborn is now out of their depth.
Here are the 2019/20 Bundesliga relegation odds.
Union Berlin was given very little hope by the bookies before the season kicked off. Prior to the start of the campaign, you could get odds of 1.61 for the newly promoted side to be relegated. But Union’s impressive first half of the season has seen that price rise to 8.50.
Still, there are plenty of teams that are far from safe. Let’s take a look at four of the relegation candidates.
Fortuna recorded a respectable tenth-place finish in 2018/19. But after a dismal first half of the season, Friedhelm Funkel’s side is currently third from bottom in the standings.
Dusseldorf lost star forwards Benito Raman and Dodi Lukebakio before the campaign got underway, and the team has struggled to replace their goals this term. Fortuna also has plenty of defensive problems that need eradicating if the club is to avoid relegation.
Three straight wins just before Christmas saw Koln pick up more points in one week than in all fourteen games prior. Koln has enjoyed spending the winter break outside of the relegation zone, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Achim Beierlorzer was sacked in November after a woeful start to the campaign, and Markus Gisdol was appointed as the new manager. Gisdol has undoubtedly made an impact, but will it be enough to keep Koln in the top flight?
Werder probably had genuine ambitions of finishing in the Europa League places this season. Instead, the club has endured the worst first half of a Bundesliga season in their history.
Florian Kohfeldt is widely regarded as one of the best young managers in the country, so the 37-year-old is expected to guide Bremen to safety. But without Max Kruse in their ranks, Werder has been seriously poor in attack.
The 2003/04 Bundesliga champion is far from their best at the moment, but it would be a massive shock if a club of Bremen’s size dropped into the second tier at the end of the season.
A serious injury to last term’s top scorer Jean-Philippe Mateta in the off-season was never going to set Mainz up well for the campaign ahead. Mateta only returned to action just before the winter break, so the Frenchman will need to start firing immediately if Mainz wants to steer clear of the drop zone.
The club fired manager Sandro Schwarz in November and replaced him with Achim Beierlorzer. Considering Beierlorzer had just been sacked by fellow relegation candidate Koln, this was a questionable decision.
It’s worth pointing out that Mainz is the only Bundesliga club yet to draw a game this season. Six wins and eleven defeats have left Mainz in a precarious position.
Top Goalscorer – Can Werner End Lewandowski’s Dominance?
The battle for the Golden Boot has quickly become a two-horse race, and the bookies’ odds reflect that. Lewandowski has nineteen goals to his name, while Werner is hot on his heels with eighteen.
Let’s check out the odds for the Golden Boot race.
Dusseldorf’s Rouwen Hennings is the Bundesliga’s third-highest scorer this season with eleven. Barring serious injuries to both Lewandowski and Werner, no one else should come close to the two frontrunners.
The lethal Polish striker has been claiming records all over the place this season. Lewandowski now sits third in the all-time Bundesliga top scorers list after becoming the first player to score a goal in each of the first eleven games of a German top-flight campaign.
Now 31, Lewandowski is arguably playing the best soccer of his career. He has only failed to score in four of his seventeen league appearances in 2019/20, and I expect him to continue in a similar fashion when the second half of the season gets underway.
Bayern may not be at their fluid best, but their chief marksman is showing no signs of hitting a downturn in form anytime soon.
The Leipzig forward got off to a slow start in comparison to his Bayern rival, but Werner was scoring goals for fun prior to Christmas. After netting six in the first nine games, the 23-year-old scored twelve in eight leading up to the winter break.
RB boss Julian Nagelsmann must be given huge credit for enabling Werner to challenge for the Golden Boot this season. Werner has thrived on Nagelsmann’s forward-thinking tactics, which allow him to consistently get into goalscoring positions.
With 23 goals in 25 games in all competitions this term, not only will Werner be hoping to finish at the top of the goalscoring charts, but he could also fire Leipzig to their first-ever Bundesliga title.
So, here are my picks for each of the markets I’ve covered.
In my opinion, Leipzig is on a different level than any of their title rivals right now. Bayern and Dortmund are both struggling for consistency, while Gladbach isn’t likely to sustain their early-season form for the duration of the campaign.
Nagelsmann has transformed RB into a top side, and with Werner firing up front, I can’t see anyone catching Leipzig.
RB Leipzig to Win the Title3.10
If Schalke was to finish in the top four this season, one of the country’s top clubs would have to miss out on Champions League soccer next term.
But the current erratic nature of the Bundesliga could see Schalke take advantage of the situation. Dortmund and Gladbach could both miss out, leaving the door open for Wagner’s side.
Schalke to Finish in the Top Four3.00
There are probably more likely candidates. But with more than one relegation place up for grabs, I think Mainz will finish in the bottom three.
Replacing Schwarz with Beierlorzer was a strange move in my eyes, and the fact that Mainz hasn’t drawn a single game in 2019/20 suggests to me the team has very little fight.
Mainz to Be Relegated3.75
Lewandowski has claimed four of the last six Bundesliga Golden Boots, but I think we’ll see a new winner this year. With Leipzig playing the best soccer in the country, I’m backing Werner to finish at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Remarkably, both Werner and Lewandowski averaged a goal every 79 minutes in the first half of the season. However, the RB striker saw less game time than Bayern’s talisman, so he has arguably been more clinical.
Timo Werner to Finish as Top Goalscorer3.10
The second half of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season is going to be fascinating, and there will no doubt be plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way.
Hopefully, this guide will help you when it comes to placing your bets on the remainder of the campaign.