Hamburg v RB Leipzig – Volksparkstadion at 19:30 Live at BT Sport
Hamburg’s survival was one of the great stories of German football last season. The Dinosaur collected just two points from their opening 10 fixtures, resulting in Bruno Labbadia’s sacking.
Former Hoffenheim head coach Markus Gisdol arrived at the Volksparkstadion and steadily improved the side, so much so that HSV finished above the relegation play-off places thanks to victory on the final day of the season,
Gisdol built from the back and ensured Hamburg was a tough unit to beat on home soil. Friday night’s hosts have suffered just five losses in their last 18 outings at the Volksparkstadion and completed 2016/17 with eight triumphs in their last 11 fixtures.
All eight victories arrived by one-goal margins with only one match featuring more than three goals as games tended to be tight. Indeed, just 10 of Gisdol’s 29 encounters in charge produced Over 2.5 Goals with the January loan addition of Kyriakos Papadopoulos reinforcing the defense.
Papadopoulos has since signed permanently and HSV has also added Andre Hahn and 18-year-old centre-back Rick van Drongelen to their squad in the summer with genuine hopes of pushing up the Bundesliga table this term.
However, hopes have been tempered by the season-ending injury to Nicolai Muller on the opening weekend of the season. Nevertheless, the Dinosaur have been pleased with their start – beating both Augsburg and Koln – and despite three of their past five home losses coming against last season’s top-three, they’ll be confident of bloodying RB Leipzig’s nose here.
The visitors stunned European football observers with a superb second-placed finish in their debut Bundesliga season last time out. Only Bayern Munich bettered Leipzig’s away win record (8) and have kept hold of Naby Keita for another campaign, as well as Emil Forsberg, the Red Bull outfit should be strong once more.
The club has been keen to strengthen ahead of Champions League participation and the signing of Bruma is arguably the visitors’ most exciting piece of business. The Portuguese youngster top-scored for Galatasaray last season despite playing on the wing, where he also contributed their second most assists.
RBL managed W8-D3-L2 when traveling to sides outside the top-five last term but they completed their season with a sole shutout in 12 road trips and a sloppy 2-0 reverse at Schalke on the opening weekend wasn’t what we’ve been accustomed to from the Red Bulls.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s group bounced back with a thrilling 4-1 thrashing of Freiberg but with a first Champions League appearance on the horizon as a potential distraction, I’m happy to oppose the odds-on visitors here and instead support Hamburg with a +0.50 Asian Handicap start at 2.07.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Hamburg +0.50 at 2.080
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