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Bayern now occupy top spot in the Bundesliga table ahead of the weekend action
Schalke are rooted to the foot of the table after a difficult start to the campaign
Bayern should encounter few problems in this bottom-versus-top encounter
The odds for Schalke vs Bayern Munich are from the DraftKings sportsbook, where a deposit bonus worth up to $1000 is on offer to new customers.
The champions will be looking to sign off on a high and they should emerge victorious by a handsome margin this weekend.
Back Bayern Munich -2.5 in the Asian handicap. (-105)
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All of a sudden, Bayern Munich have a four-point lead at the top of the table. The defending champions, who are seeking a record-extending 11th consecutive Bundesliga title this season, have not had everything their own way in the first few months of 2022/23. Julian Nagelsmann came under pressure after a four-match winless streak saw Bayern drop down to the fifth place.
Since that run ended with a defeat by Augsburg, Nagelsmann’s charges have been near-perfect. Bayern have collected 19 points from the 21 available. Their only slip-up was a 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund, which was still a decent result at Signal Iduna Park. Since the September international break, Bayern are averaging a remarkable four goals per league game.
One of their best performances of the season to date came in the midweek round of fixtures just past. Werder Bremen simply could not live with their hosts at the Allianz Arena, with Bayern running out 6-1 winners thanks to a Serge Gnabry hat-trick and further goals from Jamal Musiala, Leon Goretzka, and Jonathan Tel. Bayern were 4-1 up at half-time.
Ole Werner, the Werder head coach, admitted after the match that his team’s opponents are simply “on a different level”. Indeed, Bayern will primarily be judged on their Champions League exploits, since the Bundesliga title is something they now take for granted - a situation that is not particularly healthy for German soccer. Incidentally, a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 is a tougher draw than Bayern (and the Ligue 1 side) would have wanted.
But after a few hiccups in August and September, the Bavarians are back to their best domestically. Union Berlin, Freiburg, and Borussia Dortmund all dropped points in midweek, allowing Nagelsmann’s charges to open up a four-point lead at the summit of the standings.
Schalke were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga after a truly disastrous campaign in 2020/21, but they bounced straight back to the top flight the first time of asking. The Royal Blues were second-tier champions last term and given their pedigree in the Bundesliga, many of their fans hoped for more than just mere survival this season.
Expectations have since been adjusted downwards. Ahead of their clash with Bayern, Schalke are rooted to the foot of the table. They beat Mainz 1-0 in midweek but that was only their second triumph of the campaign, and it came on the back of a dire run of seven straight defeats under three different managers (including a caretaker).
Frank Kramer was dismissed in the middle of last month and Thomas Reis took charge on a permanent basis before the 2-0 loss to Freiburg. The aforementioned triumph over Mainz will give Schalke hope, but this is the worst possible fixture to follow that rare success. It is likely that they will remain bottom of the table during the World Cup 2022 and winter breaks.
Worryingly for their hopes of avoiding relegation, Schalke have problems at both ends of the field. No team has found the net fewer times than the Royal Blues, who have just 13 goals to their name. Meanwhile, only Bochum have a leakier backline so far in this campaign.
Schalke are not yet cut adrift. They are just two points behind Hertha Berlin in the relegation play-off spot, although there is a five-point gap to Stuttgart in 15th. However, no one should expect Reis’ side to narrow that margin this weekend.
When the bottom team in a league takes on the top team, it can be tough to find value in the market. The best online sportsbooks are fully aware of the sides’ respective places in the table, and backing the favorites does not bring particularly enticing odds. Betting the moneyline, for instance, is not worth it in cases like this.
The Asian handicap is the market that bettors should be looking at. Backing Bayern with a -2.5 handicap would require them to triumph by three clear goals in order for the wager to be successful.
Schalke may have kept a clean sheet in their last outing, but they will struggle to keep Bayern’s frontline quiet in this one. The Royal Blues have already suffered three defeats by three goals or more this season, while four of Bayern’s last six victories would have successfully cleared the -2.5 handicap hurdle.
It is true that some of Nagelsmann’s players will have an eye on the World Cup, particularly after seeing Sadio Mane suffer an injury in midweek that could rule him out of the tournament. Even so, we expect Bayern to prove too strong for Schalke. Back a handsome away win on Saturday.
Teams: Schalke vs Bayern Munich
Location: VELTINS-Arena, Schalke, Germany
Time: Saturday, 12 November 2022, 12.30 PM EDT
How to Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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