Augsburg v RB Leipzig
With one of Germany’s most talented coaches in charge, Augsburg have impressed under Enrico Maassen this season after being appointed in the summer. With one win and four defeats from their opening five Bundesliga games, questions were already being asked but then Augsburg went on a run of three wins and a draw before a narrow 3-2 defeat against Cologne last weekend. On Saturday, they host Marco Rose’s RB Leipzig, who are unbeaten in three Bundesliga games.
Augsburg have wins against Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich this season, two squads that have a much superior squad to Augsburg, who work on a miniscule budget. Even with the departure of last season’s top scorer Michael Gregoritsch to Freiburg, Ermedin Demirovic went in the opposite direction and has already scored four Bundesliga goals this season, one behind his season best of five in 2020/21. Augsburg aren’t a team that really excel in any particular category. In fact, they created the least number of chances (42) of any team in the Bundesliga this season. But they are clinical in the final third – they’re seventh when it comes to chances converted (26%). When Augsburg are involved, so are goals. There’s been 19 goals in their last four games in all competitions.
Visitors to the WWK Arena on Saturday afternoon, RB Leipzig will be looking to pick up three points – a win for Rose’s side could effectively see them move up into a Champions League spot, should results go their way, but a Europa Conference League spot seems more likely. With seven goals in 10 Bundesliga games, Christopher Nkunku is again RB Leipzig’s top scorer and after a slow start – he went five games in all competitions without scoring – the Frenchman is finally finding form again. What’s been difficult for Rose is trying to get Nkunku, Timo Werner and Andre Silva working in tandem. With five wins and one draw in their last six across all competitions, Rose has found a system.
In their last three Bundesliga games, RB Leipzig have scored eight. Four of the last six meetings between the two teams have also finished with Over 2.5 goals. RB Leipzig are almost on par with their xG whilst their attacking quartet will always cause problems. You can see Augsburg scoring, but also RB Leipzig winning and so Over 2.5 goals at 1.53 looks like good value.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Eintracht Frankfurt
Daniel Farke’s Borussia Mönchengladbach host Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend. Despite what looked like an impressive start to the season, they’ve picked up just two wins in eight games across all competitions. Die Fohlen also come into this fixture on the back of a 2-1 defeat against 2. Bundesliga side Darmstadt in the DFB Pokal, whilst losing two key players in Yann Sommer and Jonas Hofmann. The duo have been integral members of the Gladbach squad over the last three years and their injuries are a major blow. Heading into Saturday’s Topspiel, Eintracht Frankfurt already have the upper hand.
After a worrying start to the season, Oliver Glasner’s Eintracht have improved of late. With four wins and two defeats in their last six Bundesliga games, SGE are second in the form table behind leaders Union Berlin. Their last six games has seen Eintracht score 14, the most of any side in the Bundesliga. Across 10 Bundesliga games, only Bayern Munich (3) average more goals than Eintracht Frankfurt (2.1) per 90. Eintracht are also outperforming their xG by 5 goals.
This is largely down to Daichi Kamada, who has scored 6 from an xG of 4.3. Jesper Lindstrom has also impressed of late – scoring a superb chip against Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, the Dane’s stock is rising as he continues to develop. The duo behind summer arrival Randal Kolo Muani cause the Bundesliga’s best defences problems. The way in which they transition, interchanging positions in the final third will prove problematic.
On paper, Eintracht’s squad just edges Borussia Mönchengladbach’s in terms of quality. After Borussia Mönchengladbach’s elimination from this season’s German Cup, Farke alluded to the fact that they need to be much better defensively. Without the leadership of Sommer, that may prove difficult. Going forward, they do have Marcus Thuram, who has scored (7) 39% of Gladbach’s 18 league goals but he can be hit and miss in the final third. The Frenchman must improve his conversion rate and composure.
Eintracht Frankfurt are on an upward trend and even their performance against Tottenham Hotspur (3-2) in the Champions League showcased their ability to go up against Europe’s best players. Although just one point separating the two teams, Eintracht Frankfurt Double Chance at 1.62 seems generous and is excellent value. Despite being away, SGE are unlikely to go home empty handed.
VFL Bochum v Union Berlin
Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin travel to Bochum on Sunday as they look to extend their lead over Bayern Munich and Freiburg. Urs Fischer’s side have already taken 7 points from a possible 9 against Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund, and so their first place is most certainly deserved. Sunday’s game at the Ruhrstadion offers a different kind of battle though.
Winless under Thomas Reis, Thomas Letsch was appointed and although losing his first game against RB Leipzig, he did win his first home game in charge, an impressive 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. Bochum have taken four points from a possible six in their last two home games and are now 4 points from safety.
With three wins in their last four away games, Union Berlin come into this game with the fourth best away form in the Bundesliga. With a back five consisting of Christopher Trimmel, Timo Baumgartl, Robin Knoche, Diogo Leite and Julian Ryerson, Union have conceded just six goals in 10 Bundesliga games this season, a defence bettered by no one. They also have drive from midfield with Andras Schafer and Janik Haberer, the latter scored a brace last weekend against Borussia Dortmund. The partnership of Sheraldo Becker and Jordan Pefok is also blossoming. The duo have scored nine and created six between them and have proved troublesome for the best defenders with their skillset.
As for Bochum, they’ve scored just nine goals this season, the worst return in the league. They’ve struggled in the final third following the departure of Sebastian Polter in the summer. Against 3. Liga side Elversberg in the DFB Pokal Bochum won 1-0, a concern given they only created three chances with a relatively unchanged squad. Preceding their German Cup win, Bochum lost 4-1 at Stuttgart who at the time were without a league win. It doesn’t bode well for Bochum.
Union may have only scored eight in five away games this season but they remain strong at the back, conceding three. As we’ve already seen this season, Fischer’s team strive on a compact defence operating in a low block, whilst looking to counter. Don’t expect too much to change on Sunday. They’ll operate a little more offensively but their gameplan is always to keep a clean sheet. Against the Bundesliga’s worst attack, you would expect Union Berlin to extend their lead this weekend.
Hertha Berlin v Schalke
Schalke travel to the capital on Sunday to face Hertha Berlin just days after dismissing their head coach. Frank Kramer was backed after last weekend’s defeat against Hoffenheim despite an impressive display but just days later, were humiliated 5-1 by the same opposition in the DFB Pokal, resulting in Kramer’s sacking. S04 bosses have confirmed that assistant Matthias Kreutzer will be in charge this weekend as their search for a successor continues. As for Hertha Berlin, they’ve had an uptick in form recently.
With one point from a possible 12 to start their Bundesliga campaign, questions were already being asked about Sandro Schwarz. But after beating Augsburg 2-0 in September, Hertha Berlin have picked up draws against Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Freiburg, three teams superior to them, whilst giving RB Leipzig a game last weekend, bringing the game back to 3-2 after being 3-0 down inside the first 45 minutes.
Operating in a 4-3-3, Schwarz likes to use inside forwards with Marco Richter and Dodi Lukebakio sitting narrow and supporting a lone forward. Last weekend, it was Stevan Jovetic. Hertha are underperforming in their xG metric but have improved of late.
Whilst this fixture is unlikely to be pretty on the eye, it’s a game of immense importance. Hertha Berlin average 5.4 chances per 90, more than Schalke (4.5). S04 are also underperforming their xG (15) by 5 goals. Simon Terodde hasn’t been able to replicate his 2. Bundesliga scoring form whilst it just hasn’t worked for Sebastian Polter. Rodrigo Zalazar is also out for the foreseeable and Jordan Larsson has been wasteful in front of goal. It’s a difficult time for Schalke at the moment, as Hertha are on an upward trend. Schalke have lost their last four Bundesliga games and have failed to score in three of them.
Meanwhile, Hertha have failed to score in just two of their 10 Bundesliga games this season. But they have just one clean sheet this season. Sitting one place above Bayer Leverkusen who occupy the relegation playoff, Hertha will be eager to win and each game are gaining confidence. You would fancy to Hertha to beat Schalke at home, keeping a clean sheet. It’s difficult to see Schalke scoring here.
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