THE Bundesliga is back – and no doubt with a bang.
Those ever-efficient Germans are the first major European league to return to action during the Covid-19 pandemic, complete with rigorous testing, sex bans and masked managers.
Ahead of the big restart this weekend, SunSport has trawled the fixture list to bring you betting tips for your first acca opportunity since March, starting with the Revierderby…
Dortmund vs Schalke (Saturday, 2.30pm)
What better way to kick-off than with the Bundesliga's fieriest derby.
Well, it would be in normal times.
The Revierderby without fans might take the edge off in the stands at least, but on the pitch we'd expect this to be as hard-fought and frantic as ever.
These two teams don't like each other. At all.
As with all the great derbies, the wounds run deep in society and go back decades – and supporter groups have spoken out in an effort to keep people from gathering outside the stadium.
Dortmund resume the season four points adrift of Bayern Munich and you feel their title aspirations rest on a near-perfect run in.
As such, this is a game they can't afford to lose. Especially at home.
Schalke are a much improved unit this season under former Huddersfield and Dortmund II boss David Wagner.
After narrowly avoiding the drop last term, Die Knappen currently sit in the Europa League spots – but were suffering a slump in form when the virus hit.
They have a great recent record at this ground, scoring EIGHT times in their last two visits.
Dortmund's home form has been the backbone of their success this season and they're unbeaten in 12 matches here.
With plenty at stake for Lucien Favre's side, we're expecting a cagey encounter and no repeat of the 4-4 goalfest here in 2018.
Instead, Wagner will use his pragmatism to frustrate the hosts, who will be unable to benefit from the noise and intimidation the Yellow Wall usually provides.
We still think Dortmund take the spoils over the 90 minutes, but don't rule out Schalke frustrating them until half-time at least.
While there's value to be found in the goal markets, with under 2.5 goals at 6/5 a big price. That's a winner in four of the last seven H2H's.
Dortmund will likely need a hero and it's easy to back boy wonder Erling Haaland at 5/6 anytime.
But we prefer Premier League reject and now target Jadon Sancho, who is Dortmund's top scorer this term and a huge 7/2 to net the opener. Get on.
SunSport's best bets
- Dortmund to make winning return: 1/2
- Under 2.5 goals: 6/5
- Jadon Sancho to score first: 7/2
RB Leipzig vs Freiburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
The title dream isn't over for RB Leipzig just yet.
They're the most divisive team in the division and derived by many as a sort of Bundesliga MK Dons.
But don't let that detract from their efforts on the field so far in 2019/20, where their young guns have been hugely impressive and sit within touching distance of Dortmund and Bayern.
Dropping silly points in three of their last four games has seen them drop off the pace slightly – five adrift – and makes this game huge for a late title charge.
In their way are Freiburg, who themselves are enjoying a terrific season and currently flirting with the European places.
After a relegation-threatened campaign last time out, the relative comfort of mid table is bliss for the yo-yo club who regularly bounce between the top two divisions.
Recent history though isn't exactly on their side though, with defeats in three of their last four visits to face RB at this ground.
And we're predicting another tough afternoon for them as the Bundesliga returns to action.
Freiburg have won just one of their last ten league matches on the road, with that sole victory over fourth-bottom Mainz.
With so much at stake in this little mini-season, Leipzig can't afford to drop points at home and we predict they'll be all guns blazing for this one.
And when they need goals, they usually provide them.
They've crashed 62 in just 25 games so far this season and at home, that's an average of 3.8 per game.
You see where this is going – back the over 2.5 goals at 4/7 with confidence.
Freiburg did manage to win the home clash against Red Bull back in October and there's definite value in them at least scoring, with them drawing a blank just four times on the road this season.
That's 10/11 on it's own – a decent price – but double it up with Ladbrokes' BTTS and over 2.5 market to get a juicy 6/5 instead.
Timo Werner is the Leipzig goal machine and the German has 21 this season, 13 more than his nearest team mate Marcel Sabitzer.
He's a puny 2/3 to score any time though, so instead take Sabitzer to bag his ninth of the season at a far bigger 7/4.
SunSport's best bets
- Over 2.5 goals: 4/7
- Both teams to score and three goals or more: 6/5
- Marcel Sabitzer on the scoresheet: 7/4
Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich (Sunday, 5pm)
This season is taking on a familiar pattern for Bayern.
Chasing a ridiculous eighth-straight Bundesliga title, a brutal run of form has seen them take control heading towards the chequered flag.
Their last league defeat came way back in December and since then, they've won 10 out of 11 top-flight matches, drawing the other.
Title winning form then, and it's hard to back against the Bayern machine stream-rollering their way to yet another championship.
Union Berlin are enjoying a terrific first season in the Bundesliga and look set to book their place for another year at least.
Eight points clear of the drop zone, they were many people's pick to go straight back down after a dramatic promotion last season.
A club with the fans at it's very heart, playing behind closed doors is far from ideal in the run-in though.
And that may count against them here, with the usually bustling terraces of the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei standing empty.
You'll always get 100% from this current set of players though and expect them to give Bayern a good game – and definitely back them to trouble the scorers.
The visitors are a tiny 2/11 to win here and unless you've big money to put down, you're just not getting bang for your buck.
Instead, play it cute on the goals market and you could be looking at healthy returns.
Why? Well, 21 of Bayern's games this season have featured over 2.5 goals, while Union's last four have seen the same.
And despite their underdog tag, the home side have failed to notch here just TWICE all season. That's some record for a team playing their first season in the top-flight.
They managed to score at the Allianz earlier in the season – and missed a penalty – so both teams to score is very much on the table.
Taking that on its own is good enough to back at 11/10, but combining it with a Bayern win is a massive 9/5.
That's £18 profit for your tenner, rather than a measly £1.81 if you simply back the win.
In terms of a goalscorer, as ever with Bayern you've got a host of big games to choose from.
Chasing value again, Serge Gnabry had six goals in six before the pandemic struck.
He's 13/10 to net at anytime and real should be odds-on. You know what to do.
SunSport's best bets
- Both sides to net in Berlin: 11/10
- Both teams to score and Bayern to win: 9/5
- Serge Gnabry to bag: 13/10
*All odds from Ladbrokes and correct at time of publication
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