Crisis time for Klopp!

Crisis in Dortmund!

Klopp’s Dortmund are rock-bottom of the Bundesliga!

He may be one of the most sought-after managers in Europe after his recent success, but for the time being Jurgen Klopp is living a Bundesliga nightmare at Borussia Dortmund. Whilst big rivals Bayern Munich are seemingly strolling to yet another title, Dortmund amazingly find themselves rock-bottom of the division after 13 games.

Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt was just the latest in a run of inept performances in the league this season, made all the more mystifying by Dortmund’s excellent form in the Champions League. The Black and Yellows have now lost eight of their 13 league games and won just three. To make matters worse the atmosphere within the club seems to have turned nasty following the latest flop.

Dortmund’s huge army of supporters have always enjoyed a reputation for patience, but travelling fans vented their frustration and anger in no uncertain terms after the Frankfurt game to further increase the pressure on both Klopp and his team to turn things around.

General manager Michael Zorc stressed that the club’s bosses are still behind charismatic Klopp, but his magic does indeed seem to be on the wane. The coach himself stressed that he has no intention of throwing in the towel after six years at the helm at Signal Iduna Park, but Friday’s Bundesliga encounter at home to a confident Hoffenheim side could yet prove to be a crossroads in his career. If the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga champions should slip up again at home (fourth loss in seven home games), then a fairytale relationship between coach, team and fans could well come to an abrupt end.

German Bundesliga, Matchday 14: Borussia Dortmund vs. TSG Hoffenheim Betting Odds:

Borussia Dortmund 1,53
Draw 4.25
TSG Hoffenheim 5.25

Next Bundesliga coach to leave his club Odds:

Jurgen Klopp 7.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Will Atletico Madrid be the new Bayer Leverkusen?

Will Atletico Madrid get the draw they need at Camp Nou?

Can Atletico Madrid get the draw they need at Camp Nou?

Liverpool v Arsenal. Lewis Hamilton v Felipe Massa. Scott Pilgrim v Gideon. There’s nothing like a great winner-takes-all battle.

 

This weekend Atlético Madrid travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona, knowing that their destiny is in their hands over the coming weeks. Less than 10-days from now they could be La Liga and European champions against all the odds. Alternatively they could be trophiless and poised to lose their most prized asset Diego Costa.

As Diego Simeone’s Rojiblancos prepare for the double-header against Barça and Real Madrid, parallels can be drawn with Klaus Toppmöller’s famous Bayer Leverkusen side of the 2001-02 season. At this stage in the campaign they were still on course for a potential treble – top of the Bundesliga and with domestic and European finals around the corner – but they lost it all.

 

Barcelona v Atlético Madrid Betting Odds:

Barcelona win – 1.79

Atlético win – 4.10

Draw – 3.50

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

The last decade and a half in German football has not quite been dominated by Bayern Munich, but when the Bavarian club have been at there best it has been tough for anyone to stop them. The likes of Stuttgart and Werder Bremen saw off an under-par Bayern during the 2000s, but only two sides have come close to stopping the 24-time champions: Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and Toppmöller’s Leverkusen.

Captained by Germany international Carsten Ramelow, Leverkusen would have five players in the Nationalmannschaft the World Cup and a further six (Yıldıray Baştürk, Frankie Hejduk, Lúcio, Diego Placente, Jurica Vranješ and Boris Živković) also involved in Japan and South Korea over the summer. Atlético are likely to have just one fewer going to Brazil this year, if you include on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

 

With four games remaining the title looked sewn up – a penalty from goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt set up a 2-0 win over local rivals 1. FC Köln, leaving them four points clear of second-placed Dortmund, and the following week the gap would extend to five. Two years prior an own goal from midfielder Michael Ballack in the final game had cost Leverkusen the title, but surely it couldn’t slip again, especially with Bayern out of the picture.

However a dramatic collapse, highlighted by defeats at home to Werder Bremen and away in Nürnberg, meant Dortmund could even afford to lose a game en route to stealing the title from Toppmöller’s men via a nervy final-day win. However all was not lost for the runners-up – they still had finals coming up in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

First came the domestic cup and a 4-2 defeat to Schalke, with a first-half goal from young striker Dimitar Berbatov being cancelled out by Jorg Böhme on the stroke of half-time before three second-half strikes ended the contest. However if Leverkusen were partly responsible for their own domestic failings, defeat on the European stage was hardly their fault. A majestic volley from Zinedine Zidane clinched a 2-1 victory for Real, handing the Spanish side their ninth European Cup, and they will continue to chase that elusive Decima this month against Atlético.

 

 

Like Leverkusen in 2002, if Simeone’s side are unable to clinch the title they will only have themselves to blame. They have been top since late March but have recently begun to slip with defeat to Levante and a draw at home to Málaga. A point will be enough to help them stumble over the line, but failure to do so may well impact upon the following weekend’s encounter with Real Madrid in Lisbon.

As with Leverkusen, there is danger of this Atlético side being dismantled after the season ends. They had already lost Falcao last summer but Diego Costa and David Villa have proved more than capable of filling the Colombian’s shoes. Whether they will be able to start again if Costa completes a mooted move to Chelsea this summer is the question on everyone’s lips.

Both Ballack and Zé Roberto moved to Bayern after the 2002 World Cup, while the next couple of years also saw talismanic striker Ulf Kirsten hang up his boots and Lúcio and Živković also depart. Similarly, Atléti may well lose out-of-contract midfielders Diego and Tiago this summer in addition to Costa.

 

While this is unlikely to be the end of the road for the individual members of the squad, 2014 could be Atlético Madrid’s last chance to break up the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have the ability, but can they pull out the performances when it really matters?

 

Betting Instinct tip – Diego Costa to sign off with the first goal in what could be his last La Liga appearance is 5.00 with GR88.com

 

GR88.com will refund selected losing pre-match bets in La Liga if the game in question ends goalless. Full terms and conditions can be found at http://www.gr88.com/promotions.

 

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Bundesliga dinosaur facing extinction!

Relegation dogfight for Hamburg

Hamburg are still battling to avoid a first-ever relegation!

The German Bundesliga season reaches its final matchday on Saturday with plenty of questions still to be answered. Bayern Munich may have claimed the title in record time at the end of March, but the question of both Champions League and Europa League places remains open and a thrilling fight to avoid the drop is also on the cards.

The final three in the table have already been decided, but the system of a playoff between the team finishing 16th in the Bundesliga and the team finishing 3rd in the second division means that there is still everything to play for. Braunschweig go into the weekend propping up the table on 25 points, with Nuremberg just one point ahead and Hamburg just two. It is the latter that has been making all the headlines this season as HSV is the only team in the country to have played every season in the top flight since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963. Nicknamed the “Bundesliga Dinosaur” by the German press, the club will become “extinct” if they fail to win away at Mainz and either of their rivals picks up three points. Mirko Slomka, who took over on the Hamburg bench at the start of February, has failed to work any miracles and the pressure is well and truly on both players and coaching staff alike as they attempt to avoid their place in the history books. An improved showing during last week’s defeat to Bayern Munich could provide a straw to cling to, but with Mainz looking for a win to secure a Europa League berth, Hamburg cannot expect any presents on Saturday.

Mainz vs. Hamburg Odds

Mainz                    1.8
Draw                     3.85
Hamburg             3.75

Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct of today but subject to change.

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Dogfight to beat the Bundesliga drop!

Six teams still battling to beat the drop in the Bundesliga.

Hamburg coach Slomka faces his old team Hanover for a crucial game on Saturday.

The race to the German Bundesliga title is long over with nobody able to keep pace with an extraordinary Bayern Munich team this season, but at the other end of the table things are really hotting up as the season heads down the home straight.

With just five games to go, a total of six teams, separated by just four points, are still involved in a desperate dogfight to avoid the drop to the second division. Whilst most experts were sure that promoted Eintracht Braunschweig would struggle to survive, the names of several of the other strugglers are big surprises. Hanover and Freiburg had been hoping to build on recent success-stories in the league, but now find themselves back at the wrong end of the table and struggling for form. 2007 Bundesliga champions Stuttgart have a quality squad, but have simply been unable to get into gear since the winter break and the arrival of new coach Huub Stevens has proven to be of little benefit so far. Perhaps the biggest story of all is, however, Hamburg – the only club that has been in the Bundesliga since its inception in 1963.

As we head into matchday 30, HSV are 16th in the 18-team table -the position that would see them face a two-leg playoff against the team finishing 3rd in the German second division. Saturday sees them travel to northern rivals Hanover in a clash that is absolutely crucial to the future of both clubs. To add to the spice, current Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka was in charge of Hanover until he was sacked at the end of December. It will be a game full of emotion both on the pitch, on the sidelines and on the terraces and one thing is certain – the loser will have it all to do to stay alive in the race to stay up!

Hanover vs. Hamburg, Odds

Hanover            2.35
Draw                     3.4
Hamburg             2.75

Bundesliga: To be relegated

Eintracht Braunschweig                 1.28
Nuremberg                                        1.6
Stuttgart                                             2.75
Hamburg                                            2.85
Freiburg                                              5.5
Hanover                                           6.0

All odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct as of today, but subject to change.

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

 

Stuttgart look to saviour Stevens!

Huub Stevens is the new man on the bench at Stuttgart!

VfB Stuttgart turn to Huub Stevens to save them from the drop.

It will go down as one of the most predictable managerial sackings of recent years in the Bundesliga: VfB Stuttgart finally got rid of coach Thomas Schneider last Sunday after picking up just one point in their last nine league matches and dropping right down into the relegation mix. A 2:2 draw at home to rock-bottom Eintracht Braunschweig was the final nail in Schneider’s coffin, who was swiftly replaced by Dutchman Huub Stevens.

Stevens, who won the Uefa Cup with Schalke in 1997 and led them to within a whisker of the Bundesliga title in 2001, could prove to be quite a shock for a Stuttgart squad that has quality but no confidence after a series of last-minute setbacks. Nicknamed “Growler” by the German press, Stevens is, in stark contrast to Schneider, an old-school coach who preaches defensive discipline above all else. His authoritarian style of man-management has earned him a feared reputation within German football, but club bosses will no doubt believe that he is the man to turn things around in the coming weeks.

Stevens makes his debut on the bench on Saturday as Stuttgart travel to Bremen. Werder, who have been struggling themselves all season, have at least moved clear of immediate danger after two wins and two draws in their last four games. Coach Robin Dutt has at last managed to shore up one of the league’s dodgiest defences and knows that another victory on Saturday could well be the final step to safety this year.

Fans can look forward to an interesting encounter with all the pressure on the visitors to get a win that could yet prove to be the turning point of their season.

Werder Bremen vs. VfB Stuttgart, Odds

Werder Bremen                                  2.35
Draw                                                     3.3
VfB Stuttgart                                      2.85

Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are correct of today, but subject to change.

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Last chance for Stuttgart’s Schneider?

Thomas Schneider Stuttgart

When VfB suffered yet another heart-breaking last-minute defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt many experts expected coach Thomas Schneider to fall foul

Just seven years after last picking up the German Bundesliga title, VfB Stuttgart is going through its deepest crisis in recent memory with relegation a distinct possibility. The Swabians have just spent one season outside of the top flight since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963, but an unprecedented run of eight straight defeats have left the club 15th in the 18-team table, staying just above the drop zone on goal difference.

Last Sunday saw VfB suffer yet another heart-breaking last-minute defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt and many experts were expecting coach Thomas Schneider to fall foul of soccer’s general law that it’s always the man on the bench who has to go. A board meeting on Tuesday, however, failed to wield the knife for the time being at least and Schneider has been left in charge for what promises to be a real test of character for his team on Saturday, when bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig visit the Mercedes Benz Arena.

Braunschweig, who are back in the Bundesliga after an absence of 28 years, have picked up four points in their last three games and have not yet given up hope of staying up. In stark contrast to Schneider at Stuttgart, coach Torsten Lieberknecht put pen to paper on a new contract this week and confidence is growing throughout the Lions’ squad that a miracle might still be possible at the of the season.

It is a game that Stuttgart just cannot afford to lose and they have the squad to win, but with many players looking like they are not ready for a relegation scrap, anything is possible on the day!

VfB Stuttgart vs. Eintracht Braunschweig, Odds

VfB Stuttgart                                     1.62
Draw                                                   3.75
Eintracht Braunschweig                 5.0

Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct of today, but subject to change.

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Slomka may be Hamburg’s saviour

When a free kick from near the halfway line flies into the top corner of your opponent’s net, you just know that your luck may well have turned. It was a rare experience of joy for Bundesliga outfit Hamburg and their fans last weekend when they sent mighty Borussia Dortmund home with a 3-0 defeat in their suitcase.

The final scoreline may indeed have flattered the hosts on new coach Mirko Slomka’s debut on the Hamburg bank, but nobody at the club was worrying about that as a dreadful run of seven successive league defeats came to an end. Suddenly the club, that has achieved the unique feat of playing every single season in the Bundesliga since its conception in 1963, is buzzing again and fans around the globe are hoping that Slomka will be the man to lead them away from the dreaded drop zone. Saturday sees the Rothosen travel to local rivals Werder Bremen in what is a crucial clash for both teams.

Bremen too have been struggling mightily this term and are currently just four points clear of an automatic relegation spot. Coach Robin Dutt, who joined the club last summer, hails from the far south-west of Germany and somehow has never seemed to fit in at this northern former powerhouse. Bremen’s fans to their great credit have stuck by their team and the coaching staff through abysmal performances this season, but a home defeat against their hated rivals this weekend could well change all that. Hamburg travel to the Weser Stadium buoyed by their win over Dortmund and with “saviour Slomka” at the helm, who knows where their journey might yet take them…?

Werder Bremen vs. Hamburg, Odds

Werder Bremen                               2.6
Draw                                                     3.4
Hamburg                                             2.5

Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are correct as of today, but subject to change.

 

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Fulham hoping for Magath magic

Fulham hoping for Magath magic

Felix Magath

Calm and sophisticated away from the pitch, Felix Magath is well-known for his temper on the sidelines

After picking up just 20 points from 26 games so far, club bosses at Fulham have turned to German manager Felix Magath to steer the west London club out of its crisis and out of the Premiership relegation zone. The 60-year-old former Germany international star has a CV full of success both as a player and a manager and has hardly ever been out of the Bundesliga headlines in recent seasons. Magath built a reputation early in his career of being the man to save struggling clubs from the drop, although his success often proved of a short-term nature. Championship title challenges with a very young team in Stuttgart from 2001 – 2004 earned him the chance to take over the reins at Bayern Munich where he led the club to two consecutive league and cup doubles. Perhaps Magath’s greatest achievement, however, was leading underdog VfL Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title in 2009 after which he promptly left the club to take over at Schalke.

Always calm and sophisticated away from the pitch, Magath is well-known for his temper on the sidelines that has seen him clash with both officials and his own players over the years. He has nurtured a fearful reputation as a tough disciplinarian who is not afraid to drop star players from crucial games if he feels they are not prepared to give 100 percent to the job in hand. Fulham fans can look forward to their first taste of their new boss on the road at fellow strugglers West Bromwich on Saturday.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Fulham, Odds:

West Bromwich Albion                  1.7
Draw                                                     3.6
Fulham                                                 4.75

Fulham to be relegated:               1.36

(All odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today, but subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Gunner be tough for Bayern?

The Gunners are enjoying their best season in years and any team sitting at the top of the Premier League should have nothing to fear.

The Gunners are enjoying their best season in years and any team sitting at the top of the Premier League should have nothing to fear. Photo: Kieran Lynam, Dublin (CC BY)

The draw for the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League has produced several mouthwatering ties with arguably Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal the best of the bunch. These two teams went head to head at exactly the same stage last season with the Germans prevailing on their way to the title, but things could be more tricky for Franck Ribery and Co. this time around. Whilst there is no doubt that Bayern are once again a force to be reckoned with in the race to the Champions League crown, the Gunners are enjoying their best season in years and any team sitting at the top of the Premier League should have nothing to fear. This tie will be given added spice by the fact that three prominent German international stars are in coach Arsene Wenger’s squad, and Per Mertesacker, Mesut Özil and ex-Bayern man Lukas Podolski would like nothing better than to put one over on their international team-mates.

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: Odds to Qualify

Bayern Munich                 1.22

Arsenal                                 3.75

(Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are current as of today, but subject to change)

Another Bundesliga team that will certainly be happier with the draw is last season’s beaten finalist Borussia Dortmund who face a duel with Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg. Coach Jurgen Klopp’s men, who won many new friends throughout Europe on their way to the final last year, came out on top of this year’s Group of Death (leaving Arsenal and Napoli in their wake) and are now favourite to move past a St. Petersburg team that struggled to impress on its way to the knockout stage. Dortmund have been plagued by injury worries so far this season and have slipped far behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race and so will be targeting another strong run in Europe to keep their fans happy. Indeed it would be a major surprise if the men in Black and Yellow don’t move on to the quarterfinals this time around.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St. Petersburg: Odds to Qualify

Borussia Dortmund         1.2

St. Petersburg                   4.0

(Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are current as of today, but subject to change)

Hertha Berlin favoured to beat Werder Bremen and move into the Europa League spots!

Hertha celebrate the winner against Bremen last season.

Hertha celebrate the winner against Bremen last season.

Last season’s Hertha Berlin v Werder Bremen match saw Hertha end a three match losing streak against these familiar foes and if they can claim victory against Bremen this evening it will be the first time since the 2001/02 Bundesliga season that they will have won back to back matches in this fixture. They are doing better than Bremen at this stage of the season with six more points collected in 15 matches and they are favoured to increase that gap to nine points and move themselves into the top six in the league with victory tonight according to GR88.com. Their Hertha v Werder betting odds are as below.

Hertha Berlin v Werder Bremen Betting Odds:

Hertha Berlin to win – 1.62

Draw – 3.75

Werder Bremen to win – 5.00

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

Although Hertha Berlin are favoured to take all three points in the opening match of the 16th round of Bundesliga action this evening, they are less favoured this evening than last night as they have slipped from odds 1.57 to 1.60. I feel that they should not be slipping as they face a Werder Bremen side this evening that is in serious trouble defensively. Bremen come into this match without a win in four and their 7-0 thumping at home by FIFA Club World Cup bound Bayern Munich saw their goals against record in this run reach 17 goals. All confidence that they had up to that point would have been sucked out of them too as they shipped a goal every ten minutes after going behind in the 21st minute of the match.

Despite this appalling recent defensive record of late, Bremen have been scoring goals in this winless streak as they have found the net on seven occasions, with the majority of them coming in the 4-4 draw away at Hoffenheim, and this has seen them outscore their hosts over the last four games by two goals. Hertha have taken seven points in their last four matches, compared to just a single point for the visitors to the Olympiastadion, but their defensive record of conceding just three goals in the last four games will give them the edge this evening.

As well as this Hertha have conceded as many goals in their 15 Bundesliga matches this season as Bremen have done in their last four games. In fact, this concession of so many goals in the last few games has seen Werder Bremen double their goals conceded tally from 17 after 11 matches to 34 after 15 and I can see them shipping goals again tonight. However, they are likely to find the net as well, but their leaky defence will cost them ultimately and my money is on a home win tonight with plenty goals in the game.

Back Hertha Berlin to win this Hertha v Werder match and there to be +2.5 goals scored @ 2.34 in the GR88 Sportsbook!

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.