|Match Result and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
|Bayern Munich and Yes||+125
|Draw and Yes||+475
|Union Berlin and Yes||+850
Asian handicap, which would require the champions to win by three clear goals in order for the bet to be successful. This is an attractive alternative to betting the moneyline, which is not a good option given Bayern’s status as overwhelming favorites.
Back Bayern Munich -2.5 in the Asian handicap (+125)
Pick made on 08/30/2022 at 08:45 AM EST
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Bayern Munich are accustomed to making Bundesliga history, but they were the witnesses to it rather than the protagonists at the weekend. In a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena, Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer made an all-time league high of 19 saves as he continually repelled the German champions. It was not quite enough for Gladbach to hold on for all three points – Leroy Sane finally broke their resistance in the 83rd minute, canceling out Marcus Thuram’s first-half opener – but the visitors had their goalkeeper to thank for their avoidance of defeat.
To those optimists hoping to see a Bundesliga title race this term, that result last weekend has raised hopes: perhaps Bayern are not infallible after all. Yet the fact that it took some history-making exploits from Sommer to keep Julian Nagelsmann’s side at bay actually points in the other direction. Only a world-class display from an opposition goalkeeper, the type of which is almost certainly unrepeatable, denied Bayern their fourth win from four.
The expected goals (xG) reading from the match is instructive: Bayern ‘won’ by 3.17 to 0.55, which suggests the home team would have scored at least three goals had that game been replayed 1000 times. They had 20 shots on target and two goals disallowed. Nagelsmann tried everything to make the breakthrough, including the highly unusual step of fielding central defender Matthijs de Ligt up front late on, but Bayern were unable to find the net more than once.
Still, they are unlikely to dwell on a rare slip-up. Coaches the world over insist that they are more worried when their team is not creating chances than when they are creating them but not converting. Nagelsmann will therefore have been pretty pleased with how Bayern performed against Gladbach, with Sommer’s heroics the only thing that denied them victory.
The most eye-catching result of matchday four in the Bundesliga came courtesy of Union Berlin, who thrashed Schalke 6-1 at the Veltins-Arena. That win moved the club from the capital onto 10 points from a possible 12 for the season – level with Bayern, making Saturday’s meeting an unlikely top-of-the-table clash. A fifth-place finish last term was rightly seen as a fantastic achievement, but Union do not intend for that to be their zenith.
Urs Fischer’s side have now gone 11 Bundesliga games unbeaten, stretching back to last season. Prior to demolishing Schalke, Union won the derby against Hertha Berlin, drew 0-0 with Mainz away from home, and beat RB Leipzig 2-1 in front of their own fans at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei. It remains to be seen how well Union can balance the Bundesliga with the Europa League this term, but no one should write them off.
It was impossible not to be impressed by the way Union dismantled Schalke last time out. They had just 41 per cent possession and landed seven shots on target, six of which found the net. Perhaps, then, the margin of their victory was exaggerated.
But Union were sharp and incisive on the counter-attack, and they showed no mercy in front of the opposition’s goal. It was a ruthless display from a team that looked like seasoned European qualifiers rather than a team embarking on just its fourth ever season in the Bundesliga.
Bayern will not underestimate Union on Saturday. Only the champions and Borussia Dortmund amassed more points in home matches last term than Fischer’s side, who have won two out of two in Berlin at the start of 2022/23. Roared on by a vociferous home crowd, Union will not sit back and simply accept their fate against Bayern.
Still, Nagelsmann’s team will probably have too much quality for Union, even if they have to dig deep to emerge with all three points. A similar scoreline to last season’s meeting at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei is a distinct possibility: Union did manage to score twice against Bayern, but the match ended in a 5-2 win for the visitors.
Saturday’s showdown will probably be closer, with Union in a buoyant mood after their stunning victory over Schalke. Fischer’s team is well coached and they have a good chance of getting the balance right between not over-committing in attack and being too cautious. Overall, though, Bayern may have too much for them – go for an away win and goals at both ends
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|Teams||Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 3 September 2022, 9.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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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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