Bundesliga Soccer Picks: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund

Kevin Stott

Monday, January 26, 2015 9:42 PM GMT

The Winter Break is over in Fußball-Bundesliga, and, wallowing in the Relegation Zone, expect Borussia Dortmund to start playing better starting with this match at Bayer Leverkusen where the Draw looks like a good pick.

Odds Overview
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund, Saturday 17:30 (Fubo TV (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK); 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT): Talk about needing to bounce back after a break. Fußball-Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund (4-3-10, 18 GF-26 GA) is on the verge of potentially going from European football’s doghouse to the outhouse virtually overnight, sitting in 17th place in the league and still firmly in the Relegation Zone as play resumes in Germany’s top tier of soccer after a wise, month-long break. Here in Week 18, Dortmund heads to BayArena in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia to face impressive third-place Bayer Leverkusen (7-7-3, 28 GF-20 GA) in a game which is obviously much more important to Dortmund both on paper for the hopeful 3 points and in their heads, as this club has seemed to suffer a crisis of confidence this season since losing and being shut out by this Bayer team at home in Dortmund in Week 1.


Soccer odds have made host Bayer Leverkusen small +130 favorites over visiting Borussia Dortmund (+300) with the Draw set at an enticing +240 (bet365) in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace. The Total Goals is in this match is lined at 2½ Over -125 (Over +110, bet365) with the popular Both Teams To Score odds here priced at -166 for the Yes and at +125 for the No (Ladbrokes). This is and the Dortmund To Score (-350, William Hill; No +250) odds reveal very much if you read into them and provide a hint at a potential bet as well as a possible direction this potentially very good game will ending up going.


Some random props: Match Result And Both Teams To Score sees the Draw priced at a healthy +375 (bet365); the Draw No Bet odds have Tottenham at -162 and host West Brom at  +120 (Ladbrokes); and, the Highest Scoring Half sees the First Half priced at +212, the second Half at +212 and a Draw (same number of goals both halves) set at +225 (BetVictor). The oft-overlooked Match Result And Both Teams To Score odds have a Bayer win (and BTTS) priced at +300, a Dortmund win (and BTTS) at a mouth-watering +450 and the Draw (and BTTS) set at +360 (BetVictor). 


Borussia Dortmund FC
Where has it all gone wrong for Borussia Dortmund (1-1-7 Road, 9 GF- 17 GA) and highly-regarded manager Jürgen Klopp? The only thing keeping the 17th-place Die Borussen from appearing to be in 18th and last place in the Fußball-Bundesliga is alphabetization. That’s right, alphabetization. Formally-named Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund has the same number of points (15) and same Goal Differential (-8) as does 18th-place SC Freiburg (2-9-6) and its 10 losses are the most in Germany’s top flight of football. Dortmund’s 1 road win (Freiburg), 9 road goals, 3 home wins and a 0 GD at home at Westfalenstadion (Signal Iduna Park) just don’t fit the character of a club which is still fighting for the UEFA Champions League trophy and one which battled Bayern Munich in the tournament’s final just two years ago.


Over the Winter Break, the Black and Yellows won three friendlies by 1-0 scorelines (vs. Swiss Super League’s FC Sion, Hungarian Liga I’s Steaua Bucureti and Netherlands’ Eredivisie’s FC Utrecht) and the three clean sheets were a welcome sight for a BVB team which has allowed an uncharacteristic 26 goals so far this season. New-signee Kevin Kampl should help in the midfield and the club’s engine—Marco Reus (3 goals)—returning from an ankle injury will give Dortmund a solid nucleus to rally around as well as some much-needed scoring and passing. Klopp will employ Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gündogan in a double pivot in the central midfield and the club will hope other players besides Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (5 goals) and Ciro Immobile (3 goals) can contribute offensively. With Klopp managing and Mitchell Langerak now in goal and Reus finally back and loads of talent like Adrián Ramos (3 goals), Shinji Kagawa (1 goal), the lovable Kevin Großkreutz, Mats Hummels and the injured Sven Bender and Sebastian Kehl, among others, odds are this team has a really strong second half and rallies out of the dreaded Relegation Zone and far up the Bundesliga table between now and May. Besides injuries, much of BVB’s problem have basically been a crisis of confidence but now with the mega-talented Reus back in the fold, Dortmund may be a very good team to try to make some money betting on both in Bundesliga and Champions League play over the next five months. Teams in all professional sports always play significantly better when their best player is present and healthy.


Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen (4-5-0 Home, 18 GF-10 GA) has yet to lose here at home at BayArena and in its last Bundesliga game over a month ago (Dec. 20) here at home, Bayer drew with 9th-place Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1. But any dreams of a title in this league for this club are long gone, despite the impressive record and 3rd-place in the table, as defending and seemingly perennial champions Bayern Munich (14-3-0, 41 GF-4 GA, 45 points) have a 17-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen (28 points) and manager Roger Schmidt and a big 11-point lead over 2nd-place VfL Wolfsburg (10-4-3, 34 points). Fußball-Bundesliga may very well have been decided this season early on with Dortmund’s injury to Reus and its 2-0 loss to this Bayer club in the opener. There is no room for error when mighty, mighty Bayern is involved, brother. And a grand total of 4 goals allowed heading into February is just downright scary. Almost bordering on illegal.


When these two met in that aforementioned Week 1 match, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Karim Bellarabi (team-leading 8 goals) registered the fastest goal in Bundesliga history (9 seconds in) and talented striker Stefan Kießling (3 goals) added an injury-time score at Dortmund in the 2-0 Bayer upset. South Korean stud Son “Sonaldo” Heung-min (5 goals) and Turkish attacking midfielder Hakan Çalhanoglu (4 goals)—along with Bellarbi and 30-year-old Kießling—give this club a nice and underrated mix on the attack and with goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Bayer has proven to be a tough team on which to score as the 20 goals in the first half of the season indicates.


Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Despite Bayer’s 3rd spot in the standings and Dortmund’s 17th spot, this should evolve into a highly-contested and close game and could very well end up in a 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2 draw. One thing is for certain: Klopp will have Dortmund coming out playing with the pressing intent it displayed in the three Winter Break friendlies, and, with Marco the Magnificent back, all of the Black and Yellows should play better. Historically, Bayer Leverkusen is 26-20-25 versus Borussia Dortmund (108 GF-103 GA) and 17-10-9 here at home at BayArena (68 GF-48 GA) and with no losses at home so far this season, it’s probably just too much to expect Dortmund (+300) to just snap out of it and beat the hosts here in Week 18 although a victory here would definitely surprise a few unaware of Dortmund’s current progressive frame of mind. Relegation is a word this club wants out of its vocabulary by March and with one of the best managers in Europe, expect this team to definitely remain in the Bundesliga, no matter what happens here in this particular match in Week 18 at Leverkusen.


With that aforementioned Will Dortmund To Score? (-350) line revealing so much about the potential makeup of this game on Saturday, the thought is that the Both Teams To Score prop wager (-162) is a very logical starting point and taking a small shot on the Draw (+240) makes sense as Bayer Leverkusen won’t want to lose and Borussia Dortmund almost has to win and remembering that 2-0 loss in Week 1 and a goal before their bootlaces were even tied will fuel them mentally, as will the incredibly valuable presence of the dynamic midfielder Reus who will certainly be worth a looking at a bet on when the Anytime Goalscorer marketplaces open up closer to matchday.

Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 1 Borussia Dortmund 1
Bundesliga Picks: Draw +240 (bet365), Both Teams To Score -166 (Ladbrokes), Draw And Both Teams To Score +360 (BetVictor)

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