oddschecker football writer Ryan Elliott has two tips for Sunday's crunch game in the Bundesliga.
In what’s looking like a proper relegation six-pointer, Mainz vs Augsburg has huge implications towards the bottom end of the table. It’s a six-pointer in the sense that a winner can likely count themselves safe from relegation, while the loser is suddenly in even deeper peril – although Fortuna Dusseldorf facing Dortmund is certainly a boost for the other relegation-battlers.
Mainz, after a very ordinary set of results to re-start their season, secured a huge win over Eintracht Frankfurt to push themselves three points clear of Fortuna in the relegation play-off, while Augsburg scored a late equaliser to draw with Koln, although they’ll rue a missed penalty in the first-half.
I don’t often tip draws, but a stalemate in this one at 5/2 looks mightily tempting.
It’s very much a must-not-lose type of game, and that’ll show with the inevitable tentativeness of both sides. Mainz have only lost twice in their last five (against Leipzig and Hoffenheim), as have Augsburg, to strong Hertha and Wolfsburg outfits.
Both sides have a problem going forward. Mainz have scored just three in their last four games (with two coming against a Frankfurt side who are terrible defensively), while Augsburg have only mustered one goal in their last three, with top-scorer Florian Niederlechner painfully out-of-form.
Augsburg have a good recent record against Mainz—winning three of their last four league games against them—but with the stakes so high, and neither side particularly competent in front of goal, it’s worth plumping for a draw at 5/2.
Continuing this train of thought, I believe there is huge value in backing under 2.5 goals at 15/14.
Heiko Herrlich’s side have looked pretty well organised since the league’s restart, but there’s definitely a lack of cutting edge going forward – evidenced by their failure to make their first-half dominance count against Koln, before conceding late in the second-half.
Mainz are also a side who look incapable of winning many against outfits who prioritise solidity—something Frankfurt are incapable of doing—which plays further into the theory that this is likely to be more of a chess match than a slugfest.