PUNTERS will be swapping the lockdown for a hunker down today as BT Sport put on a festival of football.
After 61 days top-class European football returns with the Bundesliga given the go-ahead to resume under strict regulations.
And BT are giving it big licks by showing every game live with a Goals Show at 2.30 pm.
So take control of the remote, unscrew a bottle of Furstenburg, fire a Bratwurst on the grill and get in the mood for four or five hours of live-action.
For those not familiar with the league or who have forgotten how things stand with nine-game remaining here’s a quick recap.
Heavyweights Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund sit first and second with the champions enjoying a four-point advantage.
Early pacesetters RB Leipzig, inspired by Timo Werner, are five points back and bookies favour Bayern to make it eight in a row.
They are a best 2-9 at William Hill after being transformed under new coach Hansi Flick who has been handed a contract extension until June 2023. Dortmund are 11-2 at bet365 and Leipzig 10-1 (Ladbrokes).
There are five games at 2.30 pm today with a later match featuring Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach.
This is of course not football as we know it with normally packed grounds closed to fans.
Form could go out the window, players won’t be match fit and results could depend greatly on which teams have prepared best during lockdown and who are the strongest mentally.
One of the 2.30 pm kick-offs is the big derby between Dortmund and Schalke and supporters of both will be gutted at being shut out.
Lucien Favre’s Dortmund are unbeaten at home and were in fine form before football was stopped and netted 27 in eight league games after the shutdown.
Schalke, on the other hand, are winless in six but the key question here is: How will Dortmund perform without the backing of their world-famous Yellow Wall.
The home win pays 4-7 at Betfred and while it’s a little short it looks the likeliest outcome.
Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho have been Borussia’s star turns and I like Sancho to score at any time at 13-10 with Ladbrokes.
Haaland has played just 512 minutes since his January switch from Red Bull Salzburg and has already netted nine goals. He is 13-5 with Ladbrokes to score first.
If there were fans I wouldn’t hesitate backing Leipzig at home to Freiburg. RB have lost once at home since September while their rivals have one away success in the same period.
But with no atmosphere could things be different? RB are extremely short at 1-3 with Ladbrokes.
Wolfsburg had lost just once in seven before lockdown but are missing top scorer Wout Weghorst at lowly Augsburg who have been hit by an even bigger blow.
Coach Heiko Herrlich will miss the game after breaking out of quarantine at the team hotel to buy toothpaste. Having only been appointed in March the boss hasn't been in charge of a game and this disaster could hand the edge to Wolfsburg who are 5-4 at McBookie.
Hoffenheim will be without star forwards Andrej Kramaric and Munas Dabbour as they entertain a Hertha Berlin side with Bruno Labbadia making his dugout debut.
This is tough to call as is the clash between third-bottom Fortuna Dusseldorf at home to basement boys Paderborn. Fortuna may edge it at 23-20 with Ladbrokes.
In the late game, there should be plenty of goals at Frankfurt. Both sides have quality with Borussia progressing under Marco Rose.
- 14:30 Borussia Dortmund v Schalke
- 14:30 RB Leipzig v SC Freiburg
- 14:30 Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin
- 14:30 Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn
- 14:30 Augsburg v Wolfsburg
- 17:30 Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach
Sunday 17th May
Monday 18th May