Freiburg vs Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund to Win – 5/4 (2.25)
Both of these sides got off to impressive winning starts last weekend. Freiburg dismantled a rather poor Augsburg team 4-0 whereas Dortmund beat top four challengers Bayer Leverkusen 1-0.
Similar to Dortmund’s result against Bayer, this should be an equally tough game. Both sides were defensively superior on matchday one and clearly have plenty of firepower going forward. As it’s Freiburg’s first home game of the season at Europa-Park Stadion, the atmosphere is going to be electric. If Dortmund are serious about winning the title this season, it’s difficult places such as Freiburg that they have to go to and get all three points.
For Dortmund, they have the arrival of Anthony Modeste to look forward to. The 34-year-old Frenchman scored 20 goals in the Bundesliga last season for Köln and comes as a temporary replacement for Sébastien Haller. Modeste could play in this game, however, it’s doubtful for him to start. So I expect youngster Youssoufa Moukoko to lead the line once again.
Freiburg’s new striker, Michael Gregoritsch got off to the best possible start scoring against his former employers on matchday one. Up against a much stronger defence this weekend, I think he might struggle leading the line on his own.
This game also see’s new BVB defender Nico Schlotterbeck return to Freiburg. It’ll be interesting to see what his welcome is like. It’s a place and team he knows inside and out and I think this will play to the away side’s advantage. I can see Dortmund’s positive start continuing as they leapfrog into 1st position (until Saturday evening at least).
Bayer Leverkusen vs Augsburg
First half over 1.5 goals – 11/10 (2.1)
Both sides lost last weekend, albeit in different ways. I tipped Augsburg to go down this season and after losing 4-0 on the opening day, you can see why. Defensively, FCA looked all at sea, especially on set pieces. This weekend, they’ll be focusing on shutting up shop early and try to hit Bayer on the break.
For Leverkusen, this is the ideal opportunity to bounce back after defeat in Dortmund. Despite a nervous and subdued opening half, Bayer looked a threat in the second period against Dortmund. If it wasn’t for the outstanding heroics of Gregor Kobel between the posts, Bayer may have come away with something.
One positive note from the loss in Dortmund was forward Moussa Diaby. His ability to run with the ball at great speed put Dortmund under a lot of pressure at times. If he can get at an already ropey Augsburg, I expect him to score or assist this weekend.
Czech forward Patrik Schick will also be looking to find the net after he missed a handful of chances on the opening day. In front of their home crowd, I expect Leverkusen to turn up the heat and get their Bundesliga campaign underway. Unfortunately for Augsburg, this could be another tough day at the office.
RB Leipzig vs FC Köln
Over 3.5 goals – 29/20 (2.45)
Leipzig’s season got off to a surprise 1-1 draw against Stuttgart. When the Saxon’s top marksmen, Christopher Nkunku scored after just 7 minutes, you feared the worst for Stuttgart. But credit to them, they got back into the game and could have led if it wasn’t for the post intervening.
Leipzig host Köln who are coming off the back of a 3-1 win at home to Schalke. I’m really looking forward to this one and think it has the makings to be one of the top games of matchday two. Despite the departure of Anthony Modeste, Köln still have many attacking options. Against Schalke, coach Steffen Baumgart gave a first start to Florian Dietz. The 24-year-old looked lively and nearly scored the opening goal with a decent headed attempt. Baumgart’s men are going to have to be on their game from minute one. I don’t think they’ll sit back, however. They have enough talent in the likes of Florian Kainz, Dejan Ljubicic, and Jonas Hector pushing on from left back to cause problems.
Leipzig will be favourites at home, there’s no doubt. What could make this game even more exciting is the arrival of Timo Werner from Chelsea. The German international returns to his former club where he experienced the best form in his career to date. Before leaving for the Premier League, Werner scored 90 goals and provided 40 assists in 152 games for the Saxons. With so much attacking display from both teams, I’m expecting a great game with plenty of goals.
Hertha Berlin vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Both teams to score 4/7 (1.57)
Both of these sides were pretty bad on the opening day. Hertha were humbled by city neighbours Union 3-1 whilst Frankfurt were smashed 6-1 by Bayern Munich. It’s a battle of the two worst teams from matchday one. With both teams going out with a point to prove, I think it will make for an interesting spectacle.
For Hertha, I expect a similar lineup last weekend with a front three of Myziane Maolida, Davie Selke, and Dodi Lukebakio. Lukebakio did manage to get off the mark last weekend which should give him confidence to continue his scoring run at home against a Frankfurt side that was completely opened up by Bayern. Now, Hertha might not have the same fire power to do the damage that Bayern did but the weaknesses are there to see.
Frankfurt played Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday. Ultimately losing 2-0, it was always going to be a tough game for the Eagles. What is important, however, is that their starting lineup on Saturday won’t be too dissimilar from the match in Helsinki. Could tiredness play a part? Maybe so.
One other negative for Frankfurt is the absence of outgoing Filip Kostić. The Serbian wasn’t involved in the match against Real and is expected to sign for Juventus in the coming days. In fact, he may already be a Juventus player by the time Hertha play their next Bundesliga match. There’s no doubt about it, they’re going to see his ability on the wing.
On reflection, this game all depends on who gets on top first and adds more pressure to the other’s defence. For that reason, I’m expecting both teams to score.
Schalke 04 vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Schalke 04 to win 21/10 (3.1)
Despite losing on matchday one, I thought Schalke were a bit unlucky away at Köln. The royal blues were a man down after 35 minutes and had a dodgy VAR call go against them that ruled out a goal. On the flipside, Mönchengladbach beat Hoffenheim 3:1 who themselves were playing with ten men after just 19 minutes. I think we can expect a competitive and tight game at the Veltins Arena on Saturday evening.
Mönchengladbach had a horrible season last time out. Despite getting off to a winning start, I still believe they’ll have their ups and downs this campaign. One a positive note, they kept goalkeeper Yann Sommer who was heavily linked to Nice in France. Striker Alassane Pléa has also signed a contract extension and it’s looking likely that Marcus Thuram may do the same. Last weekend, Gladbach weren’t tested too much due to their man advantage. Having said that, it did take them to go 0-1 down before running out as winners. When they travel to Schalke this Saturday, they’ll be met with 60,000 screaming fans, seas of blue and white, and a Schalke side with a point to prove.
It’s Schalke’s first home game back in the Bundesliga after a year’s absence. If this season is going to be a success, their home has to be a fortress which it has been in the past. They’ve heavily invested in the squad and will fancy their chances of a comfortable finish. Gladbach could be in and around Schalke as the table starts to take shape. That’s why this game is important for both sides despite it only being the second game of the season.
With Schalke being at home and desperate to get their first three points, I fancy them to win this one and outline some points of concern for Gladbach.