Dortmund host Augsburg on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season, kicking off on Saturday at 3:30pm local time. After running Bayern Munich close to the title last year, there is a sense of belief in the club that Dortmund will put up a fierce challenge once again. Can they get off to the ideal start against relegation candidates Augsburg?
Home Team: Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund turned back the clock last year, as they played a breed of free-flowing attacking football, and showed spirit to come from behind in many matches. Although they can look back at their season with a lot of pride, they were still embarrassed by Bayern Munich away from home, losing 6-0 in the crucial title decider. Dortmund did have a 9-point lead at the top of the table at one stage, but their 2nd half of the season started to crumble as they were eventually overtook. Dortmund didn’t stand still in the transfer window this summer though, as they quickly purchased Thorgan Hazard from Borussia Monchengladbach and Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen.
In addition to them, in one of the signings of the summer, they also resigned Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich whose experience could lead them to the title. Dortmund have already won silverware this season by beating Bayern Munich 2-0 in the German Super Cup with English youngster Jadon Sancho impressing. Following that, they secured their place in the next round of the German Cup with a win against Uerdingen, but now the real business starts.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Away Team: FC Augsburg
Augsburg finished in 15th place last season, just one position and four points out of the dreaded relegation play-off spot. They had only won 8 matches all season, but their back to back wins in April effectively secured their Bundesliga status. The first of those two wins was an impressive 3-1 victory at Frankfurt, before winning 6-0 at home to Stuttgart. Following that, their players were essentially on the beach, which could explain why they lost 8-1 on the final day of the season to Wolfsburg.
Manager Martin Schmidt’s biggest signing in the transfer window was the acquisition of Rennes keeper Tomas Koubak for £7million, and perhaps surprisingly signing young English star Reece Oxford from West Ham. The big loss for Augsburg was that they sold their key centre back Martin Hinteregger to Eintracht Frankfurt for £10million. Will they cope without him? Judging that they lost to lower league side Verl in the German Cup this past weekend, the answer is ‘probably not’.
Head to Head
Augsburg produced one of the most stunning results of the season, as they won the last encounter between the two sides in March, which derailed Dortmund’s title hopes. Prior to that, they also played out a classic 4-3 match at the beginning of the season which Dortmund were the victorious team. Augsburg may have only beaten Dortmund once in the last five years, but they have also held them to many draws, with Dortmund only registering two victories in the last six meetings. It must also be noted that both teams have scored in every league meeting since Dortmund lost 1-0 to Augsburg back in early 2015.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Dortmund are strong favourites to win at 2/9, with Augsburg at 11/1 to win, or 5-1 to earn a credible draw. Head to head record shows that this game could be incredibly tight, but the pre-season of both of these teams, and looking at their quality, Dortmund should start with a comfortable win. I will back them to win via a 4-1 score line at 14/1.
For goal scorers, I’d suggest putting money on Jadon Sancho to score at any time at 11/8, or to boost earnings, backing striker Paco Alcacer to score a brace at 8/1. Augsburg have scored in this fixture every time since 2013, so backing Dortmund to keep a clean sheet 10/11 doesn’t offer too much value. To back Augsburg in some capacity, you should consider betting on them to score first in the game at 16/5.
Finally, the tipsters would have been laughing had they bet on this result to be 4-3 last season (priced at 80/1), so for my last tip, I’d put a cheeky punt on a 5-2 victory for the hosts, at a handsome 50/1.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]