Friday, November 19, 2010




I am keen on the straight draw in this game, it is not a bet I do too often, but do have a high strike rate with it and, of course, the odds are normally very attractive.These two clubs are polar opposites, Hertha are "big time charlies" at this level, they should never have been relegated last season, which was a major fall from grace after 13 seasons in the top flight, with the previous decade spent almost entirely in the top ten, with five top five placings. They play in the massive Olympiastadion, which holds almost 75,000 and the city desperately needs a team in the top division and the Bundesliga needs a side from the capital, so everything is geared up towards them making a speedy return. Much of the blame for relegation, rightly or wrongly, fell on the shoulders of coach Friedhelm Funkel, he was replaced in the summer with Markus Babbel, a big name looking to get his own career back on track, after things didn't work out for him at Stuttgart. He was given a massive playing budget, said to be circa 34m euros, with a remit to get promotion at any cost, this is/was the envy of all other clubs at this level and Babbel has used it well, Hertha are top of the table having lost just once in twelve starts, winning nine. That sole defeat came on the road at Paderborn last time out and whilst they got straight back on track with a 2-0 home defeat of Bochum on Monday, they will be wary away from home this evening, where, despite a fine 3-1-1 road record, they have only scored 5 goals, one per game on average. With a potential home six pointer with Duisburg a promotion rival next week, their priority tonight will be to avoid defeat and a point would see them extend their advantage over Duisburg to six points.

Osnabruck are also newcomers to the division, but did it the other way round, following promotion from 3.Liga last season, they did that on the back of a fantastic home record and it is again their record at their homely 16,000 capacity Osnatel stadium, which will decide their fate. They are 3-1-2 there this season and with a tough trip to strong home team Frankfurt next week, will be despearte not to lose this evening and for them even a single point will give them a cushion over the drop zone at least for 24 hours. However, one key point is that this match will be played under floodlights, which is when the home team and their noisy, passionate supporters really come alive. They have not lost a home fixture under lights for almost six years and are 3-1-0 here in night games this year, with a 9-3 goal difference, their two defeats coming in afternoon starts. They will also come into this game having had 56 hours more recovery time than Hertha and at this stage of the campaign, as we head towards the mid way point, that can be very valuable.

These friday fixtures have also tended to be close this season, last ten weeks ( 30 matches) have seen just 7 away wins, with 19 games ending "under" and only three producing more than three goals. Hertha have the quality, but given Osnabruck's record under floodlights and with both teams probably "happy" with a point and massive odds available for a stalemate, I have to make that my fairly confident selection.

Draw 3.60 + .... 3.75 + on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

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