Title Race

We return with a very familiar feel to the top of the table, where Bayern sit proudly with a four-point cushion over rivals Borussia Dortmund. Given their dominance in recent years and more pertinently the form with which they had started the year it would certainly take a brave punter to bet against the holders

However, for those that like a long shot, there's relatively little sense in Dortmund being half the price of RB Leipzig in some places. The not-so-popular new kids on the block are just one point back on Lucien Favre's side, in third, meaning a five-point deficit on the leaders. While Dortmund certainly entered the lockdown in better shape, winning their last four, they may be coming out of it worse off, with key midfielders Axel Witsel and Emre Can nursing muscular injuries.

Ahead of the break Die Schwarzgelben had appeared to resolve a relatively suspect defensive record, but whether they pick up where they left off remains to be seen. In Julian Nagelsmann's first season in the Leipzig hot seat the third placed side still seem the more stable side with regards to balancing defence and attack and on paper their run in looks favourable. Besides a potentially crucial match with Dortmund on the penultimate weekend, this Saturday's opponents Freiburg - in eighth - are the highest ranked opponent they're still to face. 

A best price of 10/1 doesn't look particularly short with that in mind, and better than even money on the without Bayern Munich market available with multiple bookies looks like decent value.


Sticking on said niche market, it's Bayer Leverkusen that are perhaps the best price, even if they do need to bridge a four-point gap to Dortmund - needing five in reality given a significantly inferior goal difference. Peter Bosz's men were in very good form pre-lockdown, inspired by a resurgent Kai Havertz following what was a disappointing first half to the campaign from the youngster.

B04 have won nine of their last ten fixtures in all competitions, losing just once since the turn of the year, and are gunning for a top four finish having all but guaranteed a Europa League qualification spot. They mean business and at 25/1 without Bayern Munich are certainly a tempting outside bet should they return from this break as they did the last over winter. Above even money or a top four finish, with a shootout for said place with Borussia Monchengladbach amidst their run in, is also worth considering.

Relegation

The picture at the bottom of the table arguably looks even clearer. Paderborn are at the foot for the time being and headed for an immediate return to the second tier, while Werder Bremen are facing the prospect of only a second top-flight relegation in their history. Both sides picked up a solitary point from their last six matches before the lockdown and need far more than that very quickly. 

Paderborn have a huge match at Fortuna Duesseldorf this Saturday which could spark hopes of a great escape, while Werder Bremen host the aforementioned in-form Bayer Leverkusen. Both teams are rightly odds-on to go down, though Werder are a significantly more appealing price at 4/9.

In terms of which team could join them, either falling into the two outright relegation spots or the relegation play-off in 16th - contested against the third placed side from the second division - there's greater value to be had. Both Fortuna Duesseldorf, who currently sit in said place, and Mainz showed fighting spirit before the break and will hope to return in the same vein.


By contrast Augsburg looked to be on a slippery slope, with seven defeats from nine, failing to keep a clean sheet in that time. At a best price of 10/1 they sit just five points clear of a 16th placed finish and relegation play-off. Meanwhile, just one point ahead Eintracht Frankfurt have also been in relatively rotten form for some time.

Incredibly unpredictable, last season's Europa League qualifiers were certainly wounded by the sales of star men Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller but still haven't found goals hard to come by. Indeed, they are more than capable of thumping victories but equally if not more susceptible to crushing defeats. A 5-0 win over the aforementioned Augsburg was subsequently followed by two 4-0 defeats from the following three matches prior to lockdown.

In truth Adi Hutter's side will likely have too many goals in their ranks to slip into further trouble but their propensity to capitulate in matches certainly makes them an interesting outside bet for the drop. At 66/1, their six-point advantage over Duesseldorf in that regard is perhaps over-valued.

Golden Boot

He might have started life in the Bundesliga bang, netting nine league goals and every 57 minutes on average, but it would take an explosion of epic proportions - and implosion from those at the top of the chart - for Erling Haaland to come into the reckoning. Nevertheless, for those that like a laugh, at his current rate of scoring the teenager would bag another 14 goals between now and the end of the season should he play every minute.


However, given the ridiculous form of Robert Lewandowski - 12 years the Norwegian's senior - that still wouldn't be enough to bridge the gap. The Pole has a remarkable 25 goals in 23 league appearances this season and not only has his sights on a fourth golden boot award in Germany, but the all-time top-flight record in a single season. In the competition's current format that is held by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with 31 three years ago, but Lewandowski may be setting his heights even higher, attempting to emulate Bayern legend Gerd Muller's 40-goal haul from 1971/72.

Timo Werner is his only challenger this season in reality, and while four goals may not seem insurmountable, there's just no sense in backing anyone but the front-runner. A best price of 1/4 on Lewandowski to be top scorer for the third season running isn't bad at all in the circumstances.