We have football again!
It’s been nearly two months since a ball was last kicked in Europe, but with the proposed return of the Bundesliga this month, we should soon have some much-needed action to follow.
And with that, there will once again be Match Day Dividends on Football Index.
As such, Traders will be trying to predict the strongest performers during the condensed resumption.
We’ve done the same too, focussing here on the best sub-£1 bargains to be had.
Florian Niederlechner (£0.72)
With 11 goals and six assists in the German top flight this season, Florian Niederlechner has been involved in an extraordinary 47% of his Augsburg side’s goals.
As such, he is almost single-handedly keeping them (just) out of trouble at the foot of the division.
The Bundesliga website recently labeled Niederlechner “a late-blooming goal guarantee”, and likened his style to Jamie Vardy (£1.18), in the sense he never gives defenders a moment’s peace, but also in that he can finish lethally.
To further the comparison, Niederlechner was still playing amateur football in his twenties and again, like Vardy, his talent has been brought out by the faith of a manager.
In Niederlechner’s case, this is Martin Schmidt, who was also with him at Mainz.
With Augsburg only facing one top-five team in their remaining nine matches – RB Leipzig on the final gameday – Niederlechner should have opportunities to create and score.
If he does, his price of just £0.72 could look even more of a snip than it does now.
Arne Maier (£0.89)
Hertha Berlin sporting director Michael Preetz has been on record naming Arne Maier “the flagship of our academy”.
The 21-year-old starlet also received the Fritz Walter silver medal in 2018 – an award for the best youngsters in German football – behind only Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, who is now trading at a lofty £5.29.
In addition, Maier has represented Germany at every level from the under-15s to the under-21s.
It’s fair to say then that the midfielder – compared to countryman Toni Kroos (£3.26) for his ability to play penetrating forward passes – has high potential, and his price of £0.89 looks set to rise if he can continue his expected evolution.
Whether that is at Hertha remains to be seen.
Maier publicly declared he wanted to leave the club in January – before ultimately staying – but with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal reported to have scouted him, he could be on the move when the campaign finally ends.
Florian Kainz (£0.72)
1. FC Koln
It’s no surprise that Florian Kainz’s Share Price has risen by 8.7% in the last seven days.
The Cologne winger was in terrific form before the break, with two goals and four assists in his last five league outings.
The standout display was in his side’s 5-0 away rout of Hertha, when – alongside the equally impressive Colombian Jhon Cordoba (£0.99) – Kainz notched a brace and an assist.
That win was one of eight in Koln’s last 11 Bundesliga fixtures – a remarkable turnaround given they had only won twice in the fourteen league games preceding that – and one that reflected much on the work of new coach Markus Gisdol, who replaced Achim Beierlorzer in November.
With relegation off the cards, the Billy Goats can now look forward to the remaining matches, particularly as – thanks to a congested mid-table – they find themselves just five points off a European spot.
Dodi Lukebakio (£0.97)
Not many Premier League – or indeed Watford – fans will remember Dodi Lukebakio, but on 10 February 2018, the naturalised Belgian played 15 minutes of the Hornets’ 2-0 away defeat at West Ham.
No further Premier League appearances followed that season, and instead the forward sought out a new life in Germany on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf.
And it went rather well, with the now 22-year-old scoring a stunning hat-trick away at Bayern Munich in November 2018, and ending that year with 14 goals and five assists from 34 appearances.
Now with Hertha, Lukebakio has been involved in nearly a third of all his team’s Bundesliga goals this term.
And with a fight against the drop to get stuck back into, Die Alte Dame will hope their key man comes backfiring.
Amadou Haidara (£0.82)
Amadou Haidara is part of a well-established transfer route from RB Salzburg to its Bundesliga sister club RB Leipzig (including a period at feeder club FC Liefering of course too).
But the chain doesn’t stop there, with Leipzig raking in some big transfer fees in recent times, shipping out the stars they have formed to make way for the next batch of prospects.
And Haidara could be one of those in time.
Slight but rapid over short distances, he resembles N’Golo Kante (£0.73) when he moves.
And this dynamism – allied to exceptional ball control – means he can do things like this.
Haidara has had a difficult start to life in the Bundesliga, joining halfway through the 2018/19 campaign, and then seeing his first full season interrupted.
But with his acclimatisation period coming to an end, he should make more starting XIs, which in turn should see his price rise on the Index.