Jones Knows: Timo Werner’s tumbling xG opens up market for 12/1 first goalscorer

Have the links with Liverpool turned Timo Werner’s head somewhat? Our tipster Jones Knows analyses his tumbling xG numbers and recommends a 12/1 first goalscorer alternative for RB Leipzig.

The Bundesliga might well be back, but it didn’t bring any ‘betting booms’ as my headline promised last weekend.

RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund’s inability to implement my theory of second-half goals being banged past weary returning defenders didn’t cop any gold. A losing recommendation, yes, but there was promise there as we got to learn about how teams are shaping up after the mid-season suspension.

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We must get back on the horse as another weekend of Bundesliga is along to satisfy our punting needs and wants.

My eyes are focused in on two of Sunday’s fixtures.

Remember, whatever I tip, I back. We’re in this together.

  • Do check out the Profit & Loss record for full clarity on the results. Current returns are: +6.5

Schalke vs Augsburg, 12.30 kick-off: 1pt on 0-0 correct score at half-time (2/1 with Sky Bet)

Usually when two out-of-form teams meet, the enthusiasm levels are low. Not mine.

Unlike many punters, I can happily feast upon a snooze-fest of a football match if there’s a price to be seized upon.

And that’s my feeling surrounding the chances of no goals being scored in the first-half between these two with 2/1 just about in my price range in terms of how short I’m likely to play. To my eye, this price should be nearer even money.

  • You can follow all the Bundesliga action live on skysports.com. Get your fix with minute-by-minute coverage and reports from the weekend’s biggest games, including live blogs on Wolfsburg v Dortmund & Mainz vs RB Leipzig​​​​​.

Schalke may just be two points off a European spot in the Bundesliga but having watched them in the 4-0 defeat against Dortmund last weekend, that gap is likely to widen over the coming weeks.

Since losing 5-0 to Bayern Munich in January, Schalke have failed to win a single game since, drawing four, losing three and scoring just twice in those seven matches. The suspension of the season hasn’t helped their confidence levels either with their patterns of play in the final third really unimaginative in the Dortmund defeat, registering an xG of just 0.41.

I’d be expecting David Wagner to set his team up in a very risk-free style, making sure things are kept tight at the back as on current form the chances of his team scoring twice in a match is very unlikely. A scrappy 1-0 win will do him just fine.

This tactic is also likely to be employed by their low-scoring opponents, who have yet to score an away goal since returning from the winter break.

It’s easy to see why they’ve put together a four-game run of blanks on the road judging by their attacking numbers in their 2-1 home defeat to Wolfsburg last weekend. Apart from their goal, via a set-piece, they created just 0.3 xG from open play – a worrying number, especially for a team playing at ‘home’.

I’m expecting a very cagey, low-quality affair, especially in the first half.

One developing trend to keep an eye on in this new look behind-closed-doors football world we live in now is the lack of early action or goals in matches.

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Eight of the 10 matches since the restart didn’t see a goal scored before the 25th minute and two of the three goals that did occur were from the penalty spot. Yes, the sample size is small, but a lack of pre-kick-off buzz generated usually by the atmosphere could produce some tedious and chess-like first 20 minute of matches.

I’m expecting this clash to go down that very route.

Mainz vs RB Leipzig, 2.30 kick-off: 1pt EW on Kevin Kampl to score first (12/1 with Sky Bet)

My eyes have been alerted to the first goalscorer market where the Bundesliga’s second top scorer Werner is taking a fair chunk out of the market at a very skinny 9/4. One of the keys to finding a path to profit in any kind of betting is to play in markets where the favourite is too short.

Werner may have found the net 21 times this season in the German league but his numbers since the winter break suggest he’s struggling to maintain his hot-streaks of earlier this season.

A return of just three goals in his last nine games wouldn’t exactly fuel even his biggest followers to take 9/4 on him opening the scoring. In fact, he hasn’t scored first in a game since the 3-1 win over Hoffenheim in December – a run of 12 games where if you’ve been taking the 9/4 each week you’d have gone skint.

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His underlying data – looking through his expected goal numbers – also brings forward the argument that his goal threat isn’t worthy of such a short price. As seen from the graph below, there’s a big downgrade on his numbers since a mid-season purple patch of nearly averaging 1.0 goal a game – last weekend against Freiburg he produced an xG of just 0.25.

Werner is without question the chief creative force in this Leipzig side and one of the most talented players in the league but since the turn of the year he has played slightly deeper and wider, which could be an explanation of the decline in numbers. Or perhaps the media speculation, linking him with Liverpool, has turned his head somewhat? Either way, his tumbling metrics open up the first goalscorer market.

The obvious play would be take the prices on offer about the central striker for Leipzig which is likely to be Yussuf Poulsen after he found the target last weekend in the 1-1 with Freiburg. However, he’s never struck me as the most convincing in front of goal, plus, Patrik Schick could replace him as the focal point. If that was the case then the former Roma man would be a serious player at 11/2 after scoring seven goals in his 16 games since arriving over the winter.

But at the current prices, the bet has to be midfielder Kevin Kampl at 12/1.

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