It is cup final weekend in several major European countries and the match that captures one’s imagination, both from a punter’s perspective and a purist’s perspective, is the German DFB Pokal decider between Dortmund and Wolfsburg.
Saturday’s German DFB Pokal final in Berlin will mark the end of Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp era and it would have appear that bookmakers have bought into the fairytale ending for BVB and their iconic manager. Dortmund is trading as the German DFB Pokal final favourite and that makes no sense whatsoever based on short-, medium- and long-term form.
Dortmund finished the German Bundesliga competition five positions and 23 points below Wolfsburg – the ladder does not lie at the end of a 34-round tournament and, while one accepts that Dortmund got off to an awful start and it did not deserve some of the bad results that it had in the first half of the season, surely not even the most one-eyed BVB fan could argue that their team were superior to the Wolves.
After all, Dortmund’s statistics in the second half of the German Bundesliga competition were nine wins, four draws and four losses, whereas Wolfsburg’s numbers were 10 wins, five draws and two losses. Furthermore, Wolfsburg drew 2-2 at Dortmund in December – by which stage BVB had started to get its house in order – and the Wolves registered a 2-1 home win over Klopp’s side in the 33rd and penultimate round.
There is no data that supports Dortmund being the German DFB Pokal final favourite. Surely bookmakers are aware that the German DFB Pokal final will take place in Berlin – the only German Bundesliga teams that Dortmund has defeated outside Dortmund without requiring extra time and/or penalties are Augsburg (2-3), Freiburg (0-3), Stuttgart (2-3) and Hannover (2-3). So Dortmund’s four away wins over German Bundesliga sides across various competitions have been at the expense of Augsburg and three teams that were in the relegation scrap in the last round of the divisional competition. And three of Dortmund’s four road victories were by the odd goal in five. Dortmund is capable of beating Wolfsburg in the German DFB Pokal final but it is a very false favourite.
The purpose of this weekly column is to highlight value bets at big prices so, while one thinks that Wolfsburg represents a fair German DFB Pokal final play at odds of +210 with many bookmakers to win the game in normal time, there may be an opportunity or two to support the Wolves and aim for a slightly bigger payout.
For example, Bet365 is offering odds of +450 that Wolfsburg wins the German DFB Pokal final in normal time but that the Wolves do not keep a clean sheet. Reporting on just German Bundesliga data, Wolfsburg won 20 of its 34 matches – eight of them to nil and 12 of them conceding at least one goal. Perhaps more significantly, Wolfsburg kept a clean sheet in only two of its 17 German Bundesliga away games and the two sides that fired home blanks against the Wolves were Hamburg and Stuttgart, two teams that were in the bottom three ahead of the final round – HSV may yet drop into the second tier.
Also, 888Sport and Unibet have odds of +510 about Wolfsburg covering a one-goal handicap in the German DFB Pokal final. One thing that is guaranteed about the German DFB Pokal final is that Dortmund’s players will not die wondering in Klopp’s last match so, if BVB trails Wolfsburg with the final whistle approaching, one is sure that they will be bombing forward and leaving gaps for the Wolves to exploit on the break. It is not at all fanciful to suggest that, if Wolfsburg takes out the German DFB Pokal, it is likely to be by a multiple-goal margin because the Wolves are one of the best counter attackers around.
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