Bundesliga Predictions and Best Bets – January 22-24, 2021
There was a very interesting round of Bundesliga fixtures in midweek, with some of the results potentially having a big effect on the battles at both ends of the table.
Bayern remains the team to beat, but RB Leipzig has emerged as the main challenger this season and will be doing its utmost to avoid falling away in the second half of the campaign like last year.
This weekend sees all 18 clubs playing over three days on matchday 18, with Friday’s opener between Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund looking like the pick of the lot.
I’ll be looking at all nine games – as usual – as well as picking out three betting options to consider.
Borussia Monchengladbach to Beat Borussia Dortmund
The Bundesliga gets off to a flying start this weekend with Dortmund’s trip to Monchengladbach on Friday. Marcus Thuram is available once again for the home side, but the Foals have been doing pretty well without him during his suspension and may opt to go with Alassane Plea upfront. Monchengladbach is four games unbeaten and would be making a huge statement of intent with another win here.
Borussia Dortmund is desperate to get its title challenge back on track after a draw with lowly Mainz last weekend and a loss away at Leverkusen on Tuesday. Erling Haaland hasn’t scored in his last five games, and Dortmund really needs a positive result here. But interim manager Edin Terzic will be without Thomas Delaney in the middle on Friday, and that could make all the difference.
Union Berlin to Beat Augsburg
Augsburg might have now lost three in a row, but manager Heiko Herrlich will probably take some positives from its defeat to Bayern in the week. For all the champions’ dominance, it was only a Robert Lewandowski penalty that won the game. Augsburg could have even snatched a point if Alfred Finnbogason had managed to put his spot-kick away in the second half.
But Union Berlin will prove to be another tough opponent on Saturday, as the capital city club continues to overachieve in the eyes of many this season. There was a narrow 1-0 defeat of its own on Wednesday as Union fell to RB Leipzig. That was only the third loss of the season, though, so Die Eisernen will feel as though it can see off Augsburg – even without Max Kruse.
Bayer Leverkusen to Beat Wolfsburg
RB Leipzig’s win over Union might have put the eastern German club second in the Bundesliga, but Bayer Leverkusen is looking just as much a title challenger this season. Peter Bosz’s team recorded a huge victory over Dortmund on Tuesday to end a four-game winless streak. The winner came from teenage sensation Florian Witrz, but there are a whole host of players shining in the Leverkusen team at the moment.
Wolfsburg is hardly finding things tough going at the moment – Wout Weghorst inspired the win over Mainz in midweek – but there has been a slight slowing down of late. The Wolves, in fifth, have played four of the rest of the top six in the last month and not won once. It looks as though Wolfsburg might be an outside chance for the Europa League this season, but not good enough to claim a top-four spot.
Freiburg to Beat Stuttgart
Freiburg managed to come back from going a goal down early on against Eintracht Frankfurt in midweek to lead with half an hour to go, only to score an own goal 15 minutes from time. The draw with a fast-improving Frankfurt should be seen as a good result, though, and Christian Streich’s side should be considered favorites against a frustratingly inconsistent Stuttgart.
Stuttgart has looked very good on occasions in its first season back in the German top flight but is still prone to the lapses in concentration like those that played their part in the 3-0 loss to Arminia Bielefeld in the week. The fact that that it can be thought of as a shock result shows how well Pellegrino Matarazzo’s team has done this season so far, though.
RB Leipzig to Beat Mainz
Mainz, second bottom of the league and struggling for points, suffered another blow this week when it was announced that Jean-Philippe Mateta is joining EPL side Crystal Palace. The striker has been a rare plus point for the 05ers this season, and it is going to be very difficult for new boss Bo Svensson to turn around this season now. Relegation seems almost inevitable.
RB Leipzig would have been big favorites to beat Mainz on Saturday, even with Mateta in the home team. But the task should be a little easier now. A narrow win over Union Berlin in the week sent Julian Nagelsmann’s side back into second in the table and just four points behind Bayern. This weekend’s fixture is the kind that Leipzig just cannot afford to drop points in now.
Eintracht Frankfurt to Beat Arminia Bielefeld
Arminia Bielefeld gave its survival chances a huge boost on Wednesday with its 3-0 thrashing of Stuttgart. Japan international Ritsu Doan scored another in that win – and he is becoming increasingly crucial to his club as it goes into this weekend on the back of a three-game unbeaten streak. That might end on Saturday, but things are looking up for the Bundesliga minnow.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s winning streak was interrupted in the week when it could only draw 2-2 in Freiburg. Adi Hutter is overseeing a huge improvement at the club, and the return of crowd favorite Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid has already paid dividends. The Eagles will now start believing in Europa League qualification – and three points at the weekend will help that cause.
Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen to Draw
This fixture looks like a crucial one for both sides as Hertha and Bremen continue to struggle at the wrong end of the table. Matheus Cunha returned for Hertha in the week but could do nothing about a 3-0 defeat at home to Hoffenheim. The scoreline probably flatters the visitors, but the Berlin team looked very poor throughout. Bruno Labbadia really needs to work on his tactics for the rest of the season.
Werder Bremen is not doing too much better this year – and lost its midweek game away at Borussia Monchengladbach. That ended a better period of play from Florian Kohfeldt’s side, but it is still not scoring nearly enough goals. Players such as Josh Sargent really need to step up soon – and the American may be looking at this fixture as a chance for his drought to end.
Bayern Munich to Beat Schalke
It is top versus bottom in the Bundesliga in the early game on Sunday, as the champions travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke. The Royal Blues lost again on Wednesday – this time at home to Koln – and even Matthew Hoppe’s fifth goal in three games was not enough to earn a point. Even new boss Christian Gross will not be holding out too much hope for this one.
Hansi Flick will be hoping that his players can play a little better than the somewhat passive performance they put on in the week against Augsburg. Robert Lewandowski’s penalty just before the quarter-hour mark suggested a big win was on the cards, but the team never really got going and looked quite grateful for the points in the end.
Hoffenheim to Beat Koln
Hertha Berlin would probably say that Hoffenheim was lucky to win at the Olympiastadion in the week, but even with the fortunate deflections, Sebastian Hoeness’ side was the better of the two on the night. The highlight was definitely Andrej Kramaric’s free-kick for the third goal – and Hoffenheim fans will be hoping that he can repeat the trick against Koln on Sunday.
Koln used up every last second of its midweek game against Schalke to come away with all three points. Jan Thielmann popped up three minutes into stoppage time to score the winner that was still unable to help his team climb out of the bottom three. Another victory is needed here, though, as Arminia Bielefeld is starting to put together some results and could leave Koln behind at the bottom.
My Top Bundesliga Picks for January 22-24, 2021
Here are my three picks in the Bundesliga for matchday 17. Odds are courtesy of Betway.
- Borussia Monchengladbach to beat Borussia Dortmund – 3.10
- Bayer Leverkusen to beat Wolfsburg – 2.05
- Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen to draw – 3.40
It will not be easy for Monchengladbach to overcome Dortmund on Friday, but the Foals will have Marcus Thuram back in contention for a place in the starting eleven and is facing an Erling Haaland who hasn’t scored in the last two games.
Bayer Leverkusen’s task on Saturday is just as difficult, but the win over Dortmund in the week could be a turning point just in time for the second half of the season. I fully expect Peter Bosz’s side to deal a blow to Wolfsburg’s European hopes.
My final pick is for Hertha Berlin to put on a better show than it did in the week and earn a point at home to Werder Bremen. The Old Lady has not been at its best this season – especially at the Olympiastadion – but should be good for a draw.