Matchday 2 in Official Fantasy Bundesliga brought me crashing back down to earth, but I’m confident these four head-to-heads will help me redeem myself on Matchday 3.
About James: When it comes to tactics and formations, you’ll struggle to find anyone as keen or as knowledgeable as James 'The Coach' Thorogood. James is Bundesliga obsessed, with Sascha Mölders, Juan Arango and Jay-Jay Okocha making up his top 3 all-time favourite players. He is regularly spotted discussing tactics with Carlo Ancelotti over a plate of pasta, and has also been seen animatedly moving salt and pepper shakers across the table while out dining with Thomas Tuchel.
I’ll be the first to admit that mistakes were made last weekend. Keeping Mahmoud Dahoud (11.8M) in my team? Mistake. Switching my captain from Robert Lewandowski (15.5M) to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15.1M)? Mistake. Signing Karim Bellarabi (14.1M) and Mijat Gacinovic (5.1M)? Mistakes! At least I didn’t make Fabian Schär (8M) my captain though, right Matt!?
Flo ‘The Scout’ has taken great pleasure in sticking a daily karma meme on my computer screen, but for me these “friendly” reminders are a source of motivation. Only in defeat can you really learn and, while just one of my four fixtures last weekend went the way I thought they would, surely that only means I can improve with the lessons learned. The prank battles have started, but it’s the fantasy war I want to win!
Picking FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund’s Matchday 3 fixtures would be too easy right? While I can’t predict who’ll win outright between Augsburg and Mainz, I’m confident that there’ll be plenty of fantasy value to gain from this encounter.
A total of 12 goals were scored in the games between these two sides last season, putting the frontlines firmly in the spotlight. You won’t have to break your bank to draft in Alfred Finnbogason (7.9M) or Jhon Cordoba (12M), but it’s Caiuby (12.2M) and Pablo De Blasis (10.2M) that I’d recommend.
Caiuby won 24 challenges in the 2-1 win over Bremen and has won 15 of his 28 aerial duels this season. Up against Giulio Donati (10.9M) and taking Augsburg’s long-ball preferences into account, the Brazilian guarantees extra points. De Blasis, meanwhile, scored twice last weekend and has plenty of pace which will likely cause 33-year-old Paul Verhaegh (10.9M) problems out wide.
Bremen have shown how fragile they are in losing their opening two games of the season and, barring an upset, Gladbach are a side more than capable of capitalising.
The Foals are formidable on home soil and Andre Schubert will no doubt be demanding a vast improvement after his charges were out-ran in the 3-1 loss to SC Freiburg - I would be!
Werder managed a goal in this fixture last season but lost the game 5-1, and I can’t see a side that are yet to score from open play denying Gladbach’s Yann Sommer (10.8M) his first clean sheet of the season. Furthermore, the likes of Raffael (14M) and Lars Stindl (13.9M) will undoubtedly thrive against one of the Bundesliga’s most porous backlines.
One win and one loss is a decent return for Eintracht Frankfurt, but were it not for a fluke effort in the defeat to Darmstadt, they’d be unbeaten right now. However, my gut tells me that they won’t be able to do to Leverkusen what they did to FC Schalke 04 on home soil on Matchday 1. The main reason being that Chicharito (15M) is the polar opposite of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (13M).
With the exception of Michael Hector’s (7.8M) sending off for a last-man challenge, the Jamaican and David Abraham (7.1M) had the ageing Dutchman in their back pocket on the opening weekend. However, the pace, movement and quality of Bayer’s ‘Little Pea’ pose a very different threat – one I don’t believe they will be capable of handling.
Joel Pohjanpalo (6M) is stealing all the headlines but will still have to settle for a place on the bench, while Julian Brandt (14.1M) is well worth a look as the main benefactor of Karim Bellarabi’s (14.1M) lengthy lay-off. I’m also tempted to back Die Werkself for a clean sheet given how timid Frankfurt’s frontline has looked.
This fixture is really ‘Mario Gomez vs Hoffenheim’s defence’. 1. FC Köln kept the prolific striker in check last weekend, but I can’t see the Sinsheim side matching that feat. Hoffenheim’s defending left much to be desired in the 4-4 draw with Mainz and, with creative playmakers such as Julian Draxler (13M) and Daniel Didavi (14.1M) providing the service, I’m backing ‘Super Mario’ to open his account for the Wolves this weekend.
However, it should also be noted that Wolfsburg are one of only three teams yet to concede this season, with Koen Casteels (7.4M) even trumping Manuel Neuer (15.4M) with his 22-point haul in two games. Jeffrey Bruma (12.3M) has also impressed me greatly with the way he has marshalled the Wolves backline and his one-on-one with Sandro Wagner (13.1M) should be fascinating to watch.
Fingers crossed I come out of Matchday 3 being able to pat myself on the back instead of lamenting the tactical errors I’ve made, but only time will tell. Don’t get too comfortable at the top Flo. Happy tinkering!
Never tactics bored,