Koln is not a German Bundesliga bet for the faint hearted – hence why one omitted it from the main preview of the 16th round – but the Billy Goats are hugely overpriced to beat Leverkusen in one of Wednesday’s five divisional games.
One accepts that it is difficult to go to war with a Koln team that is 0-3-3 against the six sides above it on the German Bundesliga ladder. Furthermore, Koln has not won any of its last four matches, last celebrating victory when it came from behind to defeat Monchengladbach 2-1 in November. And one would have to rank two of its last four German Bundesliga results – 0-0 at home to Augsburg and 0-4 away to Hoffenheim – as well below one would have expected from the Billy Goats given their high position on the ladder.
But one is tipping Koln at relatively long odds to get the better of Leverkusen because, frankly, the Factory Team are the German Bundesliga’s biggest imposters. Leverkusen has qualified for the UEFA Champions League knockout stage but it is ninth in the German Bundesliga and last time out it lost 1-2 at home to relegation candidate Ingolstadt. Yes, one knows that Leverkusen had Charles Aranguiz sent off shortly after the second half kicked off but the Factory Team trailed Ingolstadt 1-0 when the Chile midfielder exited. And Aranguiz will be suspended for Leverkusen’s German Bundesliga trip to Koln, which is a negative.
Two rungs and four points separate Koln and Leverkusen on the German Bundesliga ladder after 15 rounds but one thinks that the true gap between the sides is even greater. Koln and Leverkusen have had 14 common German Bundesliga foes and, according to one’s collateral form analysis, the Billy Goats hold a large 9-3-2 advantage over the Factory Team.
Why is this? Well, one believes that Koln has outperformed Leverkusen in their respective German Bundesliga games versus Bayern Munchen (first), Leipzig (second), Freiburg (10th), Schalke (11th), Monchengladbach (13th), Bremen (14th), Ingolstadt (16th), Hamburg (17th) and Darmstadt (18th). One believes that Koln and Leverkusen have matched motors in their respective German Bundesliga matches against Hoffenheim (third), Frankfurt (sixth) and Augsburg (12th). And one believes that Koln has performed worse than Leverkusen in their respective German Bundesliga games versus Dortmund (fifth) and Wolfsburg (15th).
That bookmakers are favouring Leverkusen over Koln for this week’s German Bundesliga match in Cologne makes no sense at all if one simply looks at this term’s divisional results. Koln is above Leverkusen on the German Bundesliga ladder and, based on one’s collateral form analysis, the Billy Goats should be rated superior to the Factory Team.
The rough starting point for a German Bundesliga home side that is equal to its guest is odds of +120 . Koln is trading at odds of +200 with several bookmakers, including 888Sport and Unibet, when it should be the clear favourite and listed at odds somewhere around the +110 mark. And that is taking into account the fact that Koln has not tasted German Bundesliga success for one month and that Leverkusen did make it through to the UEFA Champions League last 16.
German football magazine kicker takes a cerebral view of the world’s most popular sport and it rates Koln as the equal third best German Bundesliga team following 15 rounds of action, with Leverkusen in ninth place. Whichever way you support Koln – for example, the Billy Goats are available at odds of -175 with 188Bet and Bet365 not to lose Tuesday’s German Bundesliga game – there is value in doing so.
FC Koln to beat Bayer Leverkusen
Wednesday 21st December, 19:00 GMT