One is sitting on a nice German Bundesliga futures ticket in the shape of Dortmund at odds of +300 to win without Bayern Munchen and one thinks there are grounds for backing Hertha at an even bigger price to finish in the top four.
The German Bundesliga will resume on Friday 22 January and, when it does, the 18th round of matches will kick off with Hertha in third spot. Bayern Munchen and Dortmund are almost guaranteed to finish in the German Bundesliga top four – bookmakers are not quoting odds – leaving Hertha to fight the likes of Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, Schalke and Wolfsburg for one of the other two positions. Hertha will start the second half of the German Bundesliga three points ahead of Monchengladbach, five points in front of both Leverkusen and Schalke and six points clear of Wolfsburg.
After 17 German Bundesliga rounds is the ladder trustworthy, particularly with regards to the positions of Hertha and its main rivals for a top-four berth? One thinks that it is.
Collateral form analysis is one’s preferred way of testing the veracity of the German Bundesliga ladder at the halfway point of the competition. Has Hertha benefited from a soft schedule in comparison to that of its foes? Has Hertha been accruing points in a less convincing manner than its rivals? Is Hertha’s time near the top of the ladder likely to end? One believes that the answer to all three questions is no.
Hertha enjoys a German Bundesliga collateral form advantage over each of the four sides that bookmakers are offering at short odds for a top-four spot. Hertha and Monchengladbach have had 16 common German Bundesliga opponents and the Old Lady lead the Foals 8-3-5 without including their clash and 8-3-6 with it included. Hertha and Leverkusen have had 16 common German Bundesliga opponents and the Old Lady lead the Factory Team 8-4-4 without including their clash and 9-4-4 with it included. Hertha and Schalke have had 16 common German Bundesliga opponents and the Old Lady lead the Royal Blues 9-2-5 without including their clash and 9-2-6 with it included. Hertha and Wolfsburg have had 16 common German Bundesliga opponents and the Old Lady lead the Wolves 9-3-4 without including their clash and 9-3-5 with it included.
Observant readers may have noted that Hertha has lost three of its four German Bundesliga games versus Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, Schalke and Wolfsburg – indeed, it has won one and lost five of its league matches against fellow top-seven sides. Hertha’s head-to-head results versus the heavyweights of the German Bundesliga are a concern but four of its five defeats have occurred on the road and its only really tough remaining away trips are to Monchengladbach and Leverkusen.
Then there is Hertha’s lack of involvement in one of the two UEFA tournaments. Wolfsburg should take part in at least two UEFA Champions League knockout rounds having drawn Gent in the last 16, while Leverkusen and Schalke are up against Sporting and Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Europa League. Deep UEFA Europa League runs for Leverkusen and/or Schalke would mean lots of Thursday games, something that numerous teams have found difficult to manage. Not being in either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League puts Hertha at an advantage over all bar Monchengladbach.
Many bookmakers, including BetVictor and Totesport, are offering odds of +450 about Hertha making the German Bundesliga top four for the first time since 2009. Hertha enjoys a five-point lead over fifth-placed Leverkusen and, unless one of its chasers posts a much stronger second half than first half, it may just require a middle-of-the-ladder effort over the last 17 rounds to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. One would much rather backing Hertha at odds of +450 than Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, Schalke and Wolfsburg, two of which are trading at odds-on quotes.
Hertha to finish top 4 in Bundesliga
Resumes 22nd January
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