Wolfsburg v Borussia Monchengladbach
Daniel Farke’s vastly improved Borussia Mönchengladbach make the trip to Wolfsburg on matchday 10 of the Bundesliga this weekend. With an impressive 5-2 win against Rheinderby rivals Cologne last weekend, Farke will look for that performance to be a catalyst for Gladbach’s upcoming Bundesliga games against Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin as they sit in the final European spot.
Only Bayern Munich (11) have created more chances per 90 than Gladbach (8) this season. But what lets their flamboyant attack down is their inability to finish. Farke’s side are underperforming their xG by -4.0 with 16 goals scored from an xG of 20. Alongside Werder Bremen, 50% of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s shots find the target but they must start converting them if they are to secure a place in Europe come May.
Marcus Thuram has rightly been criticised for his lack of composure in front of goal despite already surpassing last season’s goalscoring tally. From an xG of almost 8, Thuram has only scored 5 Bundesliga goals this season. The potential and technical ability is there, but the Frenchman must find his confidence in front of goal. With the chances that Gladbach create, do that and Thuram could well find himself in the race to finish as the Bundesliga’s top scorer.
Not only that, with Lars Stindl, Alassane Plea and Jonas Hofmann, Borussia Mönchengladbach have players who can contribute from every area of the final third in Farke’s preferred 4-2-3-1.
As for Wolfsburg, expectations were high following the appointment of Niko Kovac. But with just 2 wins after 9 Bundesliga games and 9 goals scored, question marks have already been raised with former Bochum head coach Thomas Reis identified as a potential candidate to succeed the Croat. This almost feels like a must win game for Wolfsburg and that will only invite them to attack.
Lukas Nmecha returned last weekend and could be a candidate to start, a huge boost in attack for Kovac. But overloading central areas as we’ve often seen Wolfsburg do this season can leave them open at the back.
Wolfsburg almost allow their opponents an average xG of almost 2 and with Gladbach’s high number of chance creation, we can expect this to be quite the attacking game and with odds of 1.6 on Betfair, this offers excellent value in a game that should produce at least 3 goals.
RB Leipzig v Hertha Berlin
After beating Celtic 2-0 at Parkhead in the Champions League on Tuesday night, RB Leipzig have placed themselves in an excellent position to qualify for the knockout stages. With Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg on the scoresheet in the final 15 minutes, RB Leipzig have done the double over Celtic and now there’s just five points between leaders Real Madrid (10pts), RB Leipzig (6pts) and Shakhtar Donetsk (5pts) in third.
But on Saturday afternoon, their full focus will be on Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga’s Topspiel for matchday 10 with Marco Rose’s side down in 11th. Even though they’ve won just 3 league games this season, RB Leipzig sit just 3 points off a Europa League spot.
In the 7 games that Rose has been in charge since succeeding Domenico Tedesco, RB Leipzig have scored 13 goals across the Bundesliga and Champions League. Since the return of Timo Werner, it’s been difficult to implement the former Chelsea forward back into the squad after Christopher Nkunku had such a successful season last year with 55 goal contributions.
Now, it’s up to Rose to find a system that works for Werner, Nkunku and Andre Silva. Against Celtic, Rose operated a 4-2-3-1 system with Dominik Szoboszlai included in an attacking quartet, protected by Amadou Haidara and Xaver Schlager.
Only Bayern Munich (11), Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach (8) average more chances than RB Leipzig (7) in the Bundesliga this season but only 39% of their shots find the target, placing them in the bottom half of the table for this metric.
Once Rose instils confidence into this quartet, they can be deadly on their day, as showcased in their 3-1 win over Celtic on October 5 but against a Hertha Berlin side that has improved of late, they must improve.
Visitors at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday, Hertha Berlin are unbeaten in their last five Bundesliga games, picking up draws against Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Freiburg – three teams with far superior squads. After just 1 point from a possible 12 to start their campaign, it looked like Hertha hadn’t learned from their lesson last season but under Sandro Schwarz, they look a little more confident.
With 3 goals in 5 games, Dodi Lukebakio is Hertha’s dangerman whilst Suat Serdar drives from midfield and provides a goal threat in Schwarz’ preferred 4-3-3.
With Leipzig ‘keeper Peter Gulacsi out for the foreseeable with an ACL injury, Lukebakio & Co. may cause Rose’s side defensive problems but averaging just 5.3 chances per 90 this season, only 4 teams have created less than Hertha in the Bundesliga this season.
They shouldn’t provide Leipzig with too much of a threat. Rose’s side are the far superior team and their performance midweek against Celtic showcased that Nkunku, Werner and Silva are starting to create an understanding. I wouldn’t expect this to be a high-scoring game, but Rose’s Leipzig look good for a win this weekend.
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