The scrap for Bundesliga survival is way more clear cut than the duel for title supremacy and for relegation candidates Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn this is a game neither can afford to lose.
Fortuna, who have won only one of their eight league encounters in 2020, occupy the relegation playoff place and are six points superior to rock-bottom club Paderborn, losers in 17 of their 25 Bundesliga fixtures.
With two of the division’s worst defences on show and just nine league wins between them, it is difficult to place faith in either coming out on top and a far more solid case can be made for an entertaining encounter.
Uwe Rosler’s January appointment has definitely improved Fortuna Dusseldorf’s survival chances. The hosts have lost only one of their six league matches under his care, however four of those outings have finished as draws.
Fortuna have found the net in all six games with Rosler in charge, but conceding four at home to Borussia Monchengladbach and three against visitors Hertha Berlin show they are far from assured defensively.
In fact, both teams have scored in 15 of Fortuna’s 25 league tussles and that record should be enhanced against a Paderborn side in desperate need of points.
Paderborn’s 25 league games this term have featured 84 goals (3.36 per game), with the net bulging at both ends in 17 of their encounters. An early breakthrough could soon see the floodgates open.
One of Paderborn’s four league successes this season came in October’s reverse fixture and although they head to Dusseldorf without a win in six, their performances away from home have been far from disgraced.
Steffen Baumgart’s visitors kicked off 2020 with victory at Freiburg before holding Europa League hopefuls Schalke to a 1-1 draw. It also took an 88th-minute winner from Robert Lewandowski to provide Bayern with a 3-2 win in February’s clash at the Allianz Arena.
That five-goal thriller against the title favourites highlighted both Paderborn’s strength in attack and their vulnerabilities at the back and their open style of play should provide plenty more entertainment.
The signing of striker Dennis Srbeny, scorer of four goals in seven league games, has proved particularly profitable but it is in defence where they lack quality having conceded two in three of their last five road trips.
Given both teams’ penchant for goals and shockingly below-par defending, backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals looks a great option. A draw looks to be on the cards given Fortuna Dusseldorf’s propensity for stalemates since Rosler’s arrival, so a 2-2 correct score prediction looks excellent value.