BREAKING NEWS! I miss sports. Typically, by the 2nd week of May, I’ve parlayed my NCAA bracket pool winnings into Fantasy Golf dollars at The Masters and I would be deep into dominating NHL playoff bets and pools with a few NBA games on the side. I’d have a strong handle on the young MLB season and be in deep prep for the Euro 2020. Alas, none of these things have happened. Instead, I have bent my mind and will to horse racing and UFC. I know. Something has got to give! Well ladies and gentlemen, THIS weekend we have ourselves something to put up on the marquee. Welcome back German football!
The Bundesliga will be the 1st major sports league to return to it’s postponed season, with a full slate of games. And more excited I could not be. There will be no fans in the stands, but for about 15 Euro you can have a cardboard cutout of yourself placed at a seat in the stands. Pretty cool idea. It will be interesting to see how the logistics of this whole thing works out, with players, staff, TV production etc, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Ze Germans. On the pitch, the intrigue continues. Teams are returning under less than ideal training conditions and playing to empty stadiums, that certainly plucks away much of the home pitch advantage. What could this all mean to the matches? Lets see if we can’t predict what will happen in some of this weekends televised matches on FS1 and FS2.
Saturday, May 16th.
9:30AM EST (FS1). Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04. -185, +330, +515
2nd place Dortmund (15-6-4) will start their journey to catch table leaders Bayern Munich in the Rivierderby against Schalke (9-10-6) for bragging rights in the Ruhr. You would normally see around 82,000 fans jamming Signal Iduna Park stadium for this rivalry (this will mark the 156th derby between the two sides). Dortmund is a strong side, loaded with young talent. They won’t all be around next year, so the goal is to win now. They will be without Marco Reus, Axel Witsel and Emre Can, but have the quality to overcome this with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Norwegian superstar Erling Halaand. New COVID-19 rules allow for 5 subs which should help with lack of fitness from the layoff. Schalke, hang in 6th place but are 10 points out of 5th. They would love a result here to help cling to the final Europa bid. They will rely heavy on Matija Mastatic and Rabbi Matondo to help offset the Drotmund fire power. These teams played to a nil draw back in October. I would look for Dortmund to win a tight affair as teams try to find their legs. Dortmund 1-0
9:30AM EST (FS2). RB Leipzig vs SC Freiburg. -300, +460, +820
Leipzig (14-8-3) have been on the rise ever since storming out of the 5th division(!) just over a decade ago. Just two points out of 1st and playing an up tempo brand of football, there is much to like about Julian Nagelmann’s side. Led by German super striker Timo Werner up front and French center back Dayot Upamecano they have been taking the German football world by storm. In Freiburg (10-6-9) they face a team that brings it every game and can surprise in any fixture (as they did in October beating Leipzig 2-1). I think the layoff will hurt their side far more here as Leipzig look to keep their run to the top going and avenge the loss earlier in the season. Leipzig 3-0
12:30PM EST (FS1). Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Monchengladbach +190, +250, +140
Not the team they were a year ago, Eintract (8-4-12) have struggled without Luka Jovic and crew who departed for greener pastures. Sitting in 12th and 6 points clear of relegation. Still they have the ability to surprise in spots. Their 5-1 dismantling of Bayern Munich in November is a testament to that. Monchengladbach (15-4-6) sit in the coveted 4th spot and look to secure their ticket to Champions League. Led by Lars Stindl and Marcus Thuram they will need them to step up without Denis Zakaria at their disposal (injured). The lack of fans won’t help the home side here and the better, deeper team wins. Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1
Sunday, May 17th.
9:30AM EST (FS1). FC Cologne vs FSV Mainz 05 -115, +295, +300
Sitting safely in the 10th spot, Cologne (10-2-13) look safe to remain in the top tier. They swapped coaches late last year and Achim Beierlorzer had them playing a more structured game beofre the layoff. In Mainz (8-2-15) there is a team just 4 points out of relegation and hoping the layoff hit the reset switch. They do have former Cologne manager, Markus Gisdol so look for an inspired effort in a bit of a revenge game. Swedish international Robbie Quaison, who is 4th in the league in scoring will be the focal point of the attack. DRAW 1-1
12:30PM EST (FS1). FC Union Berlin vs. Bayern Munich +1400, -600, -500
The German coaching carousel didn’t avoid Bundesliga giants Bayern (17-4-4) who brought in Hansi Flick, the long time German national team assistant. This turned around a disappointing start and the 7 time defending champs are back atop the table with a mixture of familiar (Mueller, Neuer, Lewandowski) and new young (Gnarby, Pavard, Zirkzee) faces. Undefeated in the last 15 before the stoppage they will look to carry on where they left off. In Union Berlin, (9-3-13) the popular side look to come off the closure and shock the football world. A late PK by Polter gave them a respectable 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in Munich. I do not expect the same magic here as the Bundesliga leaders and look to put their stamp firmly back at the top. Bayern Munich 3-0