Stuttgart v Koln – Mercedes-Benz Arena at 19:30 Live at BT Sport
Stuttgart bounced back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking, taking the second-tier title in the process. It wasn’t as comfortable as the claim suggests – the Swabians needed to win six of their final seven matches to secure top spot – but under Hannes Wolf’s watch, the former champions are on the way up.
Wolf arrived at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena with a glowing reputation from Dortmund’s youth system and quickly put VfB back on track after a slow start to their 2.Bundesliga campaign. Attacking home form was the bedrock of Stuttgart’s season as Friday’s hosts overpowered the majority of their opposition.
But with important playmaker Alexandru Maxim moving on in the summer, the Swabians have taken a different approach to life back in the top-flight. Last season Wolf’s charges picked up maximum points in 13 of their 17 league outings and they’ve continued their great form with W2-D1-L0 in Bundesliga action here.
New approach reduces goals in Stuttgart’s games
However, both victories have arrived by the slightest of margins (1-0) with Stuttgart taking a more conservative outlook. That’s probably understandable coming up against better sides and with a defense that can boast swathes of experience in Ron-Robert Zieler, Holger Badstuber and Dennis Aogo.
VFB’s organized and pragmatic system can put us on the path to profit with Under 2.5 Goals a more appealing play at 1.89 than backing the home side at 2.05. Stuttgart approach this off the back of a three-game winless run after going down 2-1 to 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt in the last minute before the international break.
It’s obviously not all doom and gloom in Baden-Württemberg and Badstuber is the only injury concern. But this fixture has been a deathbed for hosts in recent years; indeed, there has not been a home win in this encounter in the last 19 meetings, a Bundesliga record for the longest time without the hosts triumphing.
Koln’s rotten run
Visitors Koln are yet to win this season and are in dire need of three points to start the long climb off the bottom of the table. including Europa League action, the Billy Goats have failed to taste victory in nine 2016/17 outings and have yet to even grab a goal on their travels in domestic action.
There are personnel issues for the visitors to; Colombian striker Jhon Cordoba suffered a thigh injury during the 2-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig and looks set to miss this one. Given that Peter Stöger’s side has only scored twice this season, Cordoba’s absence places even more pressure on the shoulders of new arrival Claudio Pizarro, who is likely to get the nod up front.
Already this season Stuttgart have recorded profit in the Under 2.5 Goals market on five occasions with their seven games averaging a league-low 1.40 expected goals from open play. No Bundesliga club boasts a better xG goals against return from open play and with Koln’s timid attack floundering, opposing goals is our best avenue of attack here
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 Goals at 1.862
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