2.Bundesliga – Matchday One

Union Berlin - Prowess In AttackIt’s back! The 2.Bundesliga begins this weekend for season 2013/14 and marking a vital campaign for clubs keen to join the top 18 next year.

There are three opening encounters on Friday, with none of the big-guns, such as, Kaiserslautern or Cologne involved for a further 24 hours. On Sunday, there is a really interesting encounter between Union Berlin and VfL Bochum in the German capital with these two sides, arguably, the two ‘dark-horses’ for the Championship.

Last week, I tipped Bochum – backed at around 40/1 – to produce a surprise challenge for the league title – and Union will be alongside that. The Berlin side have had a very sharp pre-season with a 4-1 win over Dundee United and a 3-0 win over Scottish Premier League winners Celtic. The goals were one thing; but the overall performance and domination in these two games showed Union Berlin’s potential strengths this season.

Union Berlin’s attacking style could lead to some more goals at the renovated stadium, with Bet365 offering a good 5/1 on Union -2 in Asian Handicap betting. For the first goal in the game, Union are 4/5 with 188Bet and for over 2.5 goals, BetVictor – only recently announced as an official partner of the club – are offering 9/10.

Travelling to Berlin are VfL Bochum, with their new recruits settling well into the first-team squad after pre-season. Playmaker Christian Tiffert will provide some nous in midfield, excellent ball-skills and proven experience. Last week, Bochum managed a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, coming after an outstanding 3-0 win over Eredivisie cracks FC Twente on their pre-season training camp.

Head coach Peter Neururer had a good effect on his squad towards the end of last season and many expect this to continue into this season. An away win can be found at 10/3 on Bet365 with Bochum to come from behind in the second-half at 40/1 for Union HT/Bochum FT.

On Friday, FC Ingolstadt kick-off the round of fixtures against Aue with the home side odds-on favourites and can be found at 1/1 on Bet365. Still, there is little between the sides and BetVictor will offer 6/1 for a 1-1 FT score. Likewise, between Sandhausen and Aalen, the two sides will be looking to make a strong start ahead of potential relegation contenders. The 31/20 price from BetVictor for a Sandhausen wins looks the most fancied option.

Also, to round-off the first day’s action across the weekend, St Pauli host 1860 Munich at the Milentor. The Hamburg club have done well in the transfer window to recover from the loss of Daniel Ginczek and should have enough to come through this home match. To win HT/FT, BetVictor’s 31/10 looks an attractive bet over the 90 minutes. A draw HT/FT can be found on the same outlet at 19/4.

In addition, wins for Fortuna Dusseldorf (10/11 @ Bet365, BetVictor, WilliamHill, Betfair), Greuther Furth (4/5 @ Coral) and Kaiserslautern (13/10 @ Bet365 & WilliamHill) and FSV Frankfurt (42/41 @ 188Bet) are expected. All four are looking strong, squad-wise, and will certainly be around the top-six at the end of the season.

Furth, relegated from the Bundesliga, will be expected to bounce back from their drop to the 2.Bundesliga, facing Arminia Bielefeld. Given their stronger squad and relative investment this summer, goals shouldn’t be a problem at this level for the Bavarians and Bet365 are offering 13/5 to win by 1 goal. For a two-goal victory, BetVictor and PaddyPower will offer 4/1 and three goals is 9/1 with PP.

Looking at the top-four sides, all should come through comfortably on Matchday One without relative problems. If you’re looking for an alternative bet, the Asian Handicap market could be worthwhile: Furth -1 (5/4 @ Bet365), Cologne -1 (51/20 @ Bet365), Kaiserslautern -1 (11/5 @ Bet365), Fortuna Dusseldorf -1 (67/40 @ Bet365), which would total as 68.25/1 for a four-fold accumulator.