The Bundesliga is back – but can anyone stop Bayern?
There are many things to admire about the German football system, and the winter break is arguably one of them.
The 18 Bundesliga sides have enjoyed four weeks off during the festive period.
Premier League outfits have played four league matches – plus a cup game – since a ball was last kicked in Germany’s top flight.
But it all roars back into life this weekend.
Bayern Munich lead the way and hold an 11 point advantage at the halfway stage.
They have been beaten twice this season, but with just six points separating second to tenth, the competition is too busy taking points off each other for anyone to muster a serious title challenge.
Bayern wobbled early in the campaign under Carlo Ancelotti, but it’s been business as usual since the Italian was replaced by club hero Jupp Heynckes.
A Friday night trip to Bayer Leverkusen ensures a tricky start to 2018, however.
But it’s worth noting than Bayern haven’t won any of their last four visits to the BayArena. Leverkusen are also unbeaten at home this term so the draw looks good at 14/5.
The big games come thick and fast with Schalke heading to RB Leipzig on Saturday evening.
Both sides dream of ousting Bayern at the top. Schalke have finished second in the Bundesliga three times in the last 17 years, while Leipzig gave them a real scare last season.
Domenico Tedesco’s visitors sit second after 17 games, but a run of four draws from their final five pre-Christmas matches saw them lose touch with Bayern.
As for Leipzig, they tailed off before the break, failing to win their last four matches.
Goals are expected in this one. Over 3.5 is 21/10.
As for Borussia Dortmund, they’ll be looking to find some consistency after a shaky 18 months or so.
BvB sit third, but sit level on points with Leverkusen, Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach.
The second half of the campaign will see a fierce fight for the Champions League spots.
Dortmund will hope to collect three vital points when they host Wolfsburg on Sunday as 2/5 favourites.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication