Kickoff: Saturday 5/23/20, 9:30 A.M. EST
Last week in the Bundesliga was a mixed bag in terms of quality of play. Some teams looked fit and in form; others you could clearly tell they had a two-month long break. Leverkusen and Monchengladbach were both on the fit and in form side of the scale.
Although home field advantage may not matter as much without fans, it is still something to factor into the matchups. Monchengladbach is the home team for this fixture, so Leverkusen won’t have to deal with raucous home fans. That could go in their favor as much as it could go against them as Leverkusen won’t have added motivation of shutting up the jeering home fans.
This weekend, these two teams are squaring off with huge implications on seeding for the Champions and Europa leagues. Monchengladbach are currently third, holding down a Champions League spot while Leverkusen sit fifth in a Europa spot. Only two points separate these two teams with Leipzig holding a one-point differential between both.
In their match last week, Monchengladbach dominated a Frankfurt side who has really disappointed this year. Monchengladbach have performed extremely well in the Bundesliga this year, sitting behind Dortmund just two points out. The same can’t be said for their play in the Europa League, even though their consistency has maintained in domestic play.
They will get to play at home where they have picked up nine wins in their thirteen matches played. Alassane Plea will need to preserve his form from last week to help his team keep up with Leverkusen’s attack. Their experienced keeper, Yan Sommer, will no doubt be called on to come up with some big saves to keep Leverkusen at bay.
Leverkusen looked just a little better, albeit against weaker competition in Werder Bremen. Leverkusen needs a result in this game to help their cause in the hunt for a Champions League spot. Kai Havertz will be the best player on the pitch and will need to play like it for Leverkusen to have a chance at all three points. In my opinion, the overall talent advantage lies with Leverkusen, and I think that quality shows through in this match.
Leverkusen have been marginally better away from home during their Bundesliga campaign. I am not sure how much we can still factor in the home-away splits with no fans in attendance. Either way I think they will be going for the win, to greatly improve their chances of finishing in a Champions League spot.
In the first fixture between these teams, Monchengladbach earned a 2-1 away win over Leverkusen. Although Leverkusen outplayed Monchengladbach in the first leg, they could not come away with a point. They will be out for revenge in this, adding to their motivations for this game.
I could see a higher scoring affair this time around with both offenses clicking out of the break. I could also see a low scoring game as well, given the importance of this match. We could get a really cagey match with both teams keeping their defenses tight, and the match may open up more as the pressure intensifies. If we don’t see any first half goals, the second half over or just a live over might be a good play as well. Given the variance with the total, this will be a stay away from me unless a good live play comes up.
The Pick: Leverkusen +.25 (-127) 1u; (5/17 via BetOnline)
Both of these teams were in good form out of the gates last week and I would expect that to continue. With potential positioning for a Champions League spot up for grabs, I have a hard time seeing Leverkusen losing this game. I think there is a good chance we see a draw in this game but I’d rather back a side who needs the win more in this spot.
Although there is some good value on the money line for Leverkusen, I am going to play it a little more conservatively and play +.25 on the Asian handicap. If they draw I will still get a half win, and I don’t see Leverkusen losing this game. If you decide to tail, best of luck on this play and any others I know you’ll have over the weekend.
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