FC Koln beat Darmstadt 4-1 in last season's corresponding fixture.

Billy Goats Are the GOAT in Bundesliga First Round

FC Koln beat Darmstadt 4-1 in last season's corresponding fixture.

Darmstadt, Ingolstadt and Bremen are three German Bundesliga teams which one expects will struggle this term so they are worth opposing in their respective first round matches.

Both Koln and Darmstadt are coming off 7-0 German DFB-Pokal away victories over lower-league sides last weekend but the pre-season results of the Billy Goats, which included wins to nil over Bologna, Eibar and Mainz, were superior to those of a Darmstadt team that defied the odds to remain in the German Bundesliga last term. Darmstadt has undergone major changes during the summer – changes that one believes will make the Lilies weaker – and it scored an unusual proportion of its German Bundesliga goals last season from set pieces.

Last season’s German Bundesliga season could not end quick enough for Darmstadt because the Lilies won just three of their last 14 league games, including copping a 1-4 flogging when they visited Koln in Round 31. Darmstadt kicks off its second German Bundesliga campaign at Koln on Saturday and one likes the Billy Goats at odds of -125  with several bookmakers, among them Bet365, Betfred and William Hill.

Like Darmstadt, Ingolstadt is likely to experience more lows than highs in its second German Bundesliga campaign. Ralph Hasenhuttl was the architect of Ingolstadt’s rise to the German Bundesliga but he has taken his motivational and organisational talents to Leipzig, the promoted side that everyone outside the eastern city loves to hate. Moreover, Ingolstadt has shed three regular starters from last term – Danny de Costa, Benjamin Hubner and Ramazan Ozcan – and it has failed to score in any of its most recent four matches, including a 0-0 German DFB-Pokal draw at Erzgebirge Aue.

Hamburg is Ingolstadt’s host in the opening round of the German Bundesliga competition and the Red Shorts have made quite a few exciting changes to their roster during the break, including splashing out a club record fee for Stuttgart forward Filip Kostic. Hamburg has not posted a German Bundesliga top-10 finish since 2013 but the Red Shorts have set up themselves to climb the ladder after being engulfed in relegation fights in recent years.

Odds of +125  about Hamburg beating Ingolstadt are available from many bookmakers, including 888Sport, Unibet and Marathonbet, and that option rates as one’s second best pick for the German Bundesliga first round. Hamburg earned four points from its two German Bundesliga clashes against Ingolstadt last term and, as a betting man, one is willing to say that the Red Shorts are likely to improve and the Schanzer are likely to deteriorate over the coming months.

Finally, Bayern Munchen kicks off its German Bundesliga title defence with a home game against Bremen. Bayern was impressive in getting the better of Dortmund 2-0 in the German Super Cup and its recent head-to-head numbers versus Bremen are impeccable. Bayern has won each of its last 13 matches against Bremen, including each of the most recent five meetings without conceding a goal and six of the latest eight clashes by three or more goals. Bayern is trading at odds of -120  with Paddy Power to mark Carlo Ancelotti’s German Bundesliga debut with a win to nil over Bremen.

Tips Summary

FC Koln to beat Darmstadt
Saturday 27th August, 14:30 GMT
Odds:  -125

Hamburg to beat Ingoldstadt
Saturday 27th August, 14:30 GMT
Odds:  +125

Bayern Munich to beat Bremen to Nil
Friday 26th August, 19:30 GMT
Odds:  -120

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