Hamburg haven’t exactly made a habit of blowing teams away since dropping down to the second division, but they’ve been tough to beat, while they’ve certainly made a habit of grinding out results on a regular basis, which is why they’re currently top of the table. Considering that they had a man sent off early doors, Monday’s hosts can be forgiven for their latest league defeat, especially since their recent performances at this venue have been very pleasing. In general, Hamburg have been strong on their own patch. They’ve won three of their last four at home and are now unbeaten in six at this venue. Impressively, they’ve bettered their opponents in terms of expected goals in five of those six, while they recorded an impressive expected-goals for total of 2.19 when last in league action at Volksparkstadion. In contrast, Dresden have found it tough to hit their stride on the road. Monday’s visitors come into this fixture having lost away against Heidenheim last time out, while they’ve now won just one of their last seven on the road. During that time, they’ve suffered some heavy defeats, losing 8-1 away against Koln and 3-0 away against Paderborn. Barring those two defeats, they’ve kept things respectable, but they struggle for forward potency.
St. Pauli have lost just twice at home this season, while they’re now unbeaten in four at Millerntor-Stadion. Overall, Markus Kauczinski’s men have done a pleasing job of creating more than they’ve given away at home; they’ve averaged 1.59 expected goals for and have surrendered an average of 1.24 expected goals. Moreover, they’ve scored twice on average per home match and have conceded 1.24 at the other end. Such numbers tell us that they’ve probably been lucky to score quite as many as they have, but they also tell us that St. Pauli are reasonably useful.
Prior to the winter break, St. Pauli looked in good shape. They got the better of Bochum, Furth and Magdeburg in quick succession, which allowed them to shoot up into a flattering position inside the top three. However, they lost when returning to action, which allowed Monday’s opponents, who beat Koln first game back, to overtake them in the table. That said, Union are only ahead of St. Pauli on goal difference, so Monday’s hosts won’t feel too disheartened, as a win here would see them regain third position.
Hamburg are side who are going full steam ahead. Der HSV are unbeaten in 11 after their 2-1 win away to MSV Duisburg on Friday, a result that kept them one point above Cologne in the tight Bundesliga II title race. Notably, Hamburg have been able to maintain such form even without top scorer Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who has been out since mid-November. Out of both teams, you have to like the look of Hamburg to get a result here, and backing them to win looks the smart bet. Hamburg have been hugely consistent in front of goal in recent weeks too, scoring at least two goals in four of their last five in the league, which will put plenty of pressure on a Kiel defense that has conceded exactly two goals in three of their last five at the Holstein-Stadion, as well as failing to keep a clean sheet there all season.
I am not seeing FC Koln staying in the Bundesliga 2 come next season. The two teams which left the Bundesliga last year, Hamburg and Koln do not seem to have any problems with winning as they are ranked one and two, respectively, and have apparently increased over the other teams. The numbers undoubtedly confirm Koln's ability to score, they create an enormous number of goal chances and they are the high scoring in the league with 42 goals.
The newly promoted Magdeburg from Bundesliga 3 to Bundesliga 2 just a year ago are sitting in the 17th place, coming second last above Ingolstadt, with only 1 win, 8 draws and 7 loses from 16 matches. This is a battle between a team with ambitions to play in the top flight vs a team which has just been promoted and fighting for survival.
It’s been an excellent campaign for Koln, who’re looking to make a swift return to the Bundesliga, though with Hamburg showing few signs of slowing down in front of them, it is important that Die Geißböcke keep winning. A win on Monday night would see Markus Anfang’s men move to just a point behind the league leaders. Koln have gone about their business in pleasing fashion of late, as they’ve won each of their last four. Home is where the heart is for Koln. On their own patch, Anfang’s men have been irresistible of late. They pummelled Dresden by eight goals to one at this venue not that long ago, while they brushed aside Furth in their most recent match at RheinEnergieStadion, scoring four goals in the process. No team in 2. Bundesliga have scored more goals in front of their own fans than Koln, who’ve notched an impressive 23 in eight home games. Furthermore, the hosts are posting some very encouraging underlying numbers, which simply serve to support the notion that they’re strong on their own patch. At home, Koln are averaging a massive 2.43 expected goals for. This tells us that creativity is the least of their worries, while they’re only shipping 1.2 at the other end, which suggests that their attacking efforts outweigh what they surrender at the back by a considerable margin. Magdeburg haven’t done too badly this season, but they’ve struggled to be at their best on the road, as they’re yet to collect three points on their travels. If we look at their underlying numbers, then it’s easy to feel that Magdeburg have been unlucky to concede so many goals. They’re surrendering an average of 1.21 expected goals on the road, an average that if maintained should see them ship a few less over time, though they’re not particularly menacing at the other end, as they’re averaging just 1.33. That said, the visitors will fancy themselves to make offensive headway on this occasion, as Koln have kept just a single clean sheet at home this season. As has often been the case, Koln have more than enough about them to overcome their visitors on attacking strength alone. Even against the less forceful attacking sides, Monday’s hosts, who’ve kept just one clean sheet at RheinEnergieStadion, have often been caught out, especially on the break, which is certainly a tactic that Magdeburg will use. With the visitors scoring in five out of seven on the road, and the hosts conceding in all but one of their home games this season, coupled with the fact that Koln have a much superior attack, the bet that stands out at the prices is Koln to win & total >2.5.