Your Friday night football feast is… wait for it… Freiburg v Leverkusen! Wahaayyyy, I hear you say.
Well, though it may not sound like a classic for a standalone game, both of these teams have their eyes on the prize. European Qualification is still on the cards for both in some shape or other and this will surely give us a competitive fixture.
There has been talk around how the ‘behind closed doors’ matches are affecting the nature of play – wins, goals ratio, and other stats that we would consider when wanting to place a bet. But with only three game weeks played, it is a little early to be making huge assumption on any of the above.
However, one thing that’s clear from just watching is the reduced amount of home crowd pressure on the ref. There are no crowd reactions to prompt reviews or an action from a linesman or referee – Jerome Boateng’s handball against Dortmund is a case in point. This leads me to think that the plays we’re looking for should weigh more towards the away side – IF you can find an angle.
At the time of writing, Leverkusen are a 4/6 shot for this game, which equates to them having approx. 60% chance of winning this match. This is short enough in my book as it is. Interestingly, the home leg of this fixture from November of last year ended 1-1, though Leverkusen were with without goal machine Kai Havertz that day.
Freiburg have not won a match since the resumption of the Bundesliga while Leverkusen started a blaze with seven goals in their first two games before being humbled at home by Wolfsburg last week.
Havertz is sure to draw plenty of attention in all the markets but we will look a little elsewhere for some value. With Kevin Volland still out injured and unable to partner Havertz, a small play on Moussa Diaby first goalscorer at 13/2 seems smart. He will play out left behind Havertz and will have plenty of chances of bagging a goal.
Freiburg were careless in throwing away two goals in the last 10-15 mins last weekend in their 3-3 draw with Frankfurt, and they will be keen not to put themselves in such a position again. They will need to play as they did in the first hour last week to make an impact against Leverkusen and will fancy their chances to take something from this home fixture to continue the drive for a European place next season.
From the SGM market, Leverkusen to score first, a goal in both halves and game ending in a draw @ 11/1 will keep you in the running.
With Luca Waldschmidt having only played an hour last week I will steer away from him in the last goal market and instead point towards him in the anytime goal market for Freiburg. He had five goals in 14 games before the break in football – and now would be a good time to start back on that form. As a bonus he is also their penalty taker.