Bayern Munich vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Bundesliga Odds, Picks, Predictions (1/28/23)
For the first time in a long time, Bayern Munich do not have an unbreakable stranglehold on the Bundesliga. Yes they are in first place, and yes the odds are that they’ll figure it all out in time and be crowned champions for what feels like the fiftieth consecutive season (it would actually be the eleventh, an incredible achievement) but it is not yet a foregone conclusion. After consecutive draws, the Bavarians find their lead reduced to just about a game over their closest competition, with half of the season still yet to go. Eintracht Frankfurt have followed up their Europa League triumph at the end of last year with a strong start in the domestic campaign; they may be the ones to benefit from Bayern’s potential fall. I’ll tell you one thing for sure; a win this Saturday would help their case a whole lot. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for what could prove to be a season-defining Bundesliga clash.
RB Lepizig vs. Bayern Munich Odds
Despite their small recent slip in form, Bayern are massive favorites against quality competition, with their moneyline set at -320. The draw is set at +475, while Frankfurt are a staggering +550 to win the match. For the scoring total, once again we have Bayern-skewed odds; we’re talking about over or under 3.5 goals, with a line of -120 for the over and -105 for the under.
RB Lepizig vs. Bayern Munich Prediction & Pick
If you’ve been watching Bayern during their recent dip in form, you may be wondering the same thing I have; what in the World happened to Thomas Müller? The legendary, positionless star has been an absentee for most of the year, although his club campaign started out fine. He tallied a goal contribution per game for the first 5 matches, but he hasn’t picked up a Bundesliga goal or assist since September 30, nor has he started any of the team’s past 7 Bundesliga matches or their past 3 in the Champions League. Meanwhile, he was also disappointing in the World Cup, one of many reasons Die Mannschaft came up short; if you read any of my own pre-Cup analysis, I was in on Germany, and the expected excellence of Müller was a big reason why. Unfortunately, that quality never showed itself in the tournament and still hasn’t in the league, so lately, Bayern has been forced to create without the services of their Raumdeuter. In that pursuit, results have been mixed to say the least.
Frankfurt, by comparison, have had a pretty good go of it so far, by their own standards. They’ve been scoring goals and winning games of late, and were even able to navigate a deceptively challenging Champions League group and secure round of 16 qualification, where they’ll face red-hot Napoli in an intriguing matchup. Offensively, they’ve been solid, scoring more goals per match than any other Bundesliga side, other than Bayern themselves, and it’s been a relatively egalitarian effort. They even have a tie for the team’s top scorer in league play, with Japan’s Daichi Kamada and Jesper Lindstrøm of Denmark, each of whom have scored just 7 of Frankfurt’s 35 league goals so far. The real attacking star has been Randal Kolo Muani, who burst onto the scene with France in this World Cup. He has put in 6 goals in the Bundesliga to go along with an even 10 assists, as he’s really been a do-it-all engine for the Frankfurt attack. The draw at Freiburg was a but of a disappointing outcome for Frankfurt, as it was for anyone hoping for a tight Bundesliga race- either team taking all 3 points would have put them within a game of Bayern. Still, with such a tight top 7, there’s everything to play for, all the way from the title itself down to the last European qualifying places.
This is a hard one to bet. It’s hard not to lean towards Bayern at home, despite their recent struggles, but -320 is essentially untouchable value against a team as solid as Frankfurt. While it makes me a bit uneasy, my official bet for this game is Frankfurt double chance (win or draw) at +220, it’s really the only value I’m comfortable with. This isn’t to say that Bayern won’t find a way to win, but the chance to double your money on a very realistic outcome- Bayern just drew at home to 10th-placed Köln- is pretty hard to pass up. I’m also going to take a bit of a controversial stand on the goalscoring total; I’m going with u3.5 at -105. Bayern have struggled to put the ball in the net as of late, and while Frankfurt have not, Bayern’s defense (easily the best in the league by goals allowed) is the best they’ve seen in some time.
Bayern Attack vs. Frankfurt Defense
The Bayern attack is in its worst form in quite some time; there’s only been two competitive games for them since the World Cup break, but those are the only times we’ve seen the team play since November, so we have to take it as their current form, even if with just a small grain of salt. That being said, they went just about 150 minutes without scoring a goal, between their opener against Leipzig and Joshua Kimmich’s draw-saving 90th minute strike against Köln. When you need a defensive midfielder to score an absolute wonder-goal to snap a scoring drought and salvage a 1-1 draw, you know your attack needs some help. Sadio Mané would qualify as that help; the good news is that he’s on the roster, while the bad news is that he’s expected to be sidelined just a bit longer with that pesky injury.
With Müller’s dip in form, Bayern would hope that the old could be replaced with the new, vis a vis the star leap of teenager Jamal Musiala, but the versatile youngster has been dreadfully mediocre in those two league matches since returning from his first World Cup. The wing duo of Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané has also been a slight disappointment, as their only goal contribution through those first two games was Gnabry’s assist for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s opener against Leipzig. Speaking of whom, the Cameroonian striker has been decent in the first two games, but continues to be just that; a good enough player to do his job when the team is at or near its best, but not someone who’s going to elevate the team. This Frankfurt match will be a big opportunity for the attack to get back on track, they could need a couple of goals or more to secure all three points; we’ll see if their funk continues, or if they’ll be flying high once again.
Let’s start at the back, with goalkeeper Kevin Trapp; the German international missed the Freiburg match with what was listed as a cold, and expected to keep him out just a few days. I’d expect him to be ready for the Bayern match but it’s not like his backup, Diant Ramaj, was an issue. The young Kosovan did well in the net, saving 5 of 6 shots on frame, and almost exactly performing to the projection of expected goals on target (1.01). Evan N’Dicka has been at the heart of the back five this season, the young Frenchman has put in some uneven performances, but has been a consistent presence in the back as he has led the whole team in Bundesliga minutes played. He’s joined by Brazil’s Tuta, who like N’Dicka has put in some good performances and some disappointing ones, and Hrvoje Smolcic, a young Croatian defender who is just beginning to establish himself at the club but has impressed across a small sample size. The fullbacks, who have a good amount of freedom, are a pair of Germans, Ansgar Knauff and Christopher Lenz. Both are comfortable playing up and down their respective wing, and Lenz has contributed a pair of assists in just 6.6 90-minute periods worth of game time. The challenge for them is pressing forward while maintaining their defensive responsibilities; against Bayern, there’s no room for error in this pursuit.
The Midfield Battle
In each of the past two games, Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann has opted for the same starting midfield. Musiala, sometimes viewed as a forward, has been in the CAM role, while he’s been flanked by a pair of his German countrymen, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka. For most of the season, all three have excelled; Musiala has established himself as a top young player in the World, while Kimmich and Goretzka have continued to exemplify the high standards they’ve set for themselves with years of strong play. Kimmich especially has been outstanding, no surprise there- he’s sporting an average match rating of over 8, and has chipped in 3 goals and assists each in the Bundesliga, despite putting in some time as a defender. If you haven’t watched his goal against Köln, please go do so now-it’s a real spectacle. Anyhow, Nagelsmann has often substituted his midfielders, which is sometimes to change shape such as dropping Musiala in favor of Kingsley Coman, an attacker. Other times, it’s simply to rest, rotate, and get a new perspective on the pitch, like pulling Goretzka for a Ryan Gravenberch, who plays essentially the same role. Müller is of course available, although clearly diminished, and the (somewhat confusingly) sparingly-used Marcel Sabitzer is fresh and ready to go, so Nagelsmann has options; he’ll just have to pull the right strings to open up the game and get that first signature Bayern performance of the post-cup period.
In Frankfurt’s 3-4-2-1 formation, as they trotted out against Bayern, it’s a bit ambiguous who’s “in midfield”. For instance Mario Götze of World Cup 2014 fame is listed as a midfielder, and actually leads all of Frankfurt’s non-defending outfield players in minutes played, but his role in this formation is really that of an attacker. The outside players in the 4 row of the formation, which is technically part of the midfield, are really fullbacks, and the players are listed as such on the team’s roster. So realistically, Frankfurt are left with two players in what we would consider a traditional midfield row. Against Freiburg, those were two foreign internationals, Switzerland’s Djibril Sow, and Daichi Kamada, who you might remember from Japan’s stunning wins over Spain and of course, none other than Germany. Kamada in particular is having an excellent season for his club, he’s drilled in 7 goals and contributed 3 assists, to go along with an average match rating of 7.45. Sow doesn’t light up the stat sheet in the same way, but he’s a steady, key contributor for Frankfurt who contributes up and down the pitch. Off the bench, the German veteran Sebastian Rode has made some appearances and done well for himself, grabbing 3 goals and an assist as well. It’s a tight group for Frankfurt, but it’s at the center of everything this team does; this unit will have to put in one of its best performances if the team is going to compete with the biggest team in Germany.