Thought I would do a little weekend preview, will try to make this a regular feature, but going forward will be far more of a summary post. However, for this week at least, I'll be focusing largely on those players who are of interest from a PEG perspective. It's also worth looking at fixture difficulty (using the Team Fixture Analysis report @IndexGain), to see if there are players who may be of interest over the next 30 days or so, with a view to earning additional in-play Dividends, to maximise your potential returns. I've already noticed in the past, the market can be pretty quiet, during Match Days, same thing has happened last few days but I'd expect an upturn as we approach the weekend, and also with football look to return, at least in Serie A and La Liga in June, with perhaps the EPL following shortly, this should increase volume on the platform. By the time those leagues return, the Matching Engine will be live and traders will have more opportunities to get in, and out, of players at prices they would like, instead of waiting in long queues.
There are doom-mongers who are predicting a drop, some are predicting rockets – but both are just guesses. I'd personally be happy either way as this is a long-term investment for me, and I just want stability and a successful implementation of the Matching Engine – worst thing you can do is be swayed by either camp and make trading decisions based on faceless Twitter accounts, many of whom have ulterior motives. Stick to your strategy, know your own trading approach and stay disciplined and patient, that would be my advice. Don't do what I did the last few days, which was getting involved in petty spats with people on Twitter who can't see beyond their own self-interests and prejudices, it's simply not a valuable use of time, just mute and move on.
That said, lets take a look at the weekend action.
HERTHA BSC v FC UNION BERLIN
Little to separate these two in the Bundesliga, perhaps Hertha having the slight edge, although over the 30 days, Berlin probably have the slightly easier fixture run, but neither team have a positive overall fixture run over the next 30 days as they are towards the mid-lower half of the table. From a PEG perspective, there are only 2 players with a positve PEG, and they are both Hertha players. 29yo central midfielder VLADIMIR DARIDA (£0.55) has a PEG of 0.10 with an EGR of 180%, returning 3p in Divs.
The other player is 22yo Full Back JORDAN TORUNARIGHA (£0.69) who has a PEG of 0.18 thanks to 4p of Divs and 97% EGR. As I wrote in my PEG Valuation Categories post, ‘value' 22yo's have an average PEG of 0.31 compared to 29yo's who have an average PEG of 0.18 which swings things more towards Darida. However, Full Back's have a 0.28 average PEG compared to Central Midfielders 0.36 PEG, not much in it. There is also little to separate them in terms of price-bands, those in the £0.51 – £0.60 range have an average PEG of 0.373, compared to £0.61 – £0.70 having an average PEG of 0.319.
If I had to choose between the two I would go with Darida, especially as it seems from the heatmap below that he is on corners, over Torunarigha, but there are arguments for including both but only IF you are chasing a short-term gains. Personally, neither make long-term appeal, Darida does probably have the Euro's with the Czech republic next year, he played in 6 of the qualifiers, grabbing a goal but he is 29. I'd be surprised if one of these didn't compete for a PB win on Friday but that kind of short-term trading is not for me right now, with the sell queues as they are, perhaps a better option when the Matching Engine goes live, but until then I'll happily just avoid any short-term Divs and focus on the other games over the weekend.
BORUSSIA M'GLADBACH v LEVERKUSEN
Borussia Munch have the easier run of fixtures according to IndexGain (1.66) compared to Leverkusen (0.29) and likely have the best of things here, although only 2pts separate them in the Bundesliga. However, as we saw with RB last week, anything can happen on one given game. There are only 4 players here with a positive PEG.
The only Leverkusen player on the shortlist is 26yo Full Back MITCHEL WEISER (£0.44) with a PEG of 0.778, an earnings growth of 28% since August 1st and 2p in Divs. For me, that is not quite a good enough PEG figure. Leverkusen are still in the Europa League but for me it's best to focus on the Borussia players. Bender is doubtful with a foot injury.
26yo Centre Back MATTHIAS GINTER (£0.72) has a PEG of 0.453, thanks to 4p in Divs and an EGR of 39%. He is a German international, in fact his 4p in Divs came against Belarus where he scored 300 PB points. He managed a 130 PB last week in the 3-1 win over Frankfurt and is worth looking at from a defensive angle. He has easily the most amount of passes/g at 67.33.
Next up, we have 27yo Second Striker/Winger 27yo ALASSANE PLEA (£1.58) who has 8p in Divs, all of those came against lowly Mainz where he grabbed Star Player. With an EGR of 51% it gives him a PEG of 0.38. He has 9 goals in 23 games with 7 assists and a fair 79 shots, 35 of them on target. He scored 106 last week against Frankfurt but his PB Avg of 87.11 is not the best.
Finally, we have Defensive Midfielder/Wing Back 23yo DENIS ZAKARIA (£1.42) who has earned 5p in Divs with a huge EGR of 217%, giving a very decent 0.13 PEG. He is young, played in 8 Euro qualifiers for Switzerland, grabbing 2 goals and so there is some appeal there. He only played 36 minutes last week, and I believe is out with a knee injury. His last PB win came for Switzerland against Gibralter. I'll look at the other games before making a decision on any of these guys.
FREIBURG v WERDER BREMEN
Freiburg play lowly Bremen (-2.59) here. Freiburg (0.75) have the easier run of fixtures by far of the two but this is not a game I'm interested in.
Only one player appears from both teams, 27yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger 27yo VINCENZO GRIFO (£0.76) has 5p in Divs, an EGR of 17%, giving a relatively poor PEG of 0.90, which is close to being about the right price. Grifo is in corners and did grab an assist against RB last week but he has an average Mins/G of 52. His 5p in Divs game in a 5-0 defeat of Liechtenstein, his only outing for his country, so there is a ‘chance' of Euro's, although unlikely I feel. His average PB of 81.5 and with limited gametime makes him, and this game a swerve.
PADERBORN v HOFFENHEIM
Bottom team Paderborn take on Hoffenheim. No surprise to see Paderhorn (-2.77) have no PEG players, and a tricky fixture run. Hoffenheim (1.23) have a fair run of fixtures and should win this game BUT they have around 5 players doubtful right now. There are 3 Hoff players who have positive PEG's that are likely to be in the lineup.
24yo Central Midfielder FLORIAN GRILLITSCH (£0.80) has 2p in Divs, with a 75% EGR giving a PEG of 0.53, not great but not bad either. CM's don't have the best Average PEG's but Grillitsch is consistent. He got a 121 PB which was enough to finish 9th across all midfielders in their 3-0 win over Hertha last weekend and his last PB win did come in a 3-0 defeat of Paderborn back in November, where he scored 212 PB, so that has to be taken into consideration, but that was on a bronze day. He also is an outside bet for the Austrian squad at the Euros.
30yo Centre Back BENJAMIN HUBNER (£0.38) has 5p in Divs with an EGR of 121% giving a PEG o.06. He does get in the box for corners and has 1 goal in 19 games, where he won PB and he does make a lot of passes and has good long-ball and tackle stats. I'm not a fan of Centre Backs though, especially 30yo's, although the average PEG's for this age are pretty good. It would not be surprising to see him win but only IF he can get on the scoresheet.
Finally, we have Attacking Midfielder/Winger 23yo ROBERT SKOV (£2.03) who has 8p in Divs with an EGR of 114% giving a PEG of 0.22. Skov is listed as a Defender in FI, so he gets the Clean Sheets +25pts and up against a weak Paderhorn team, he could be really interesting here, especially as he takes corners and free kicks (see heatmap below). He has 6 goals, 4 of them GWG with 6 assists, 52 shots and 18 on target. If he can get a few crosses in here and even get a clean sheet, I can see him challenging for Defender PB quite easily here. He did win PB when the teams last met, scoring a decent 262 so goes on the shortlist, especially with their relatively decent fixture run. He is young and also has 3 goals in 3 qualifiers for Denmark so will likely feature in the Euro's. Looks a decent buy at the price, not just for the next 30 days, but possibly up to and beyond Euro's.
WOLFSBURG v DORTMUND
6th place Wolfsburg (0.6) take on 2nd-place Dortmund (3.03) at home. Dortmund clearly have the easier fixture run. One key thing, if you are playing short-term or looking at 30-day IPD's, is to make sure you buy your player as close to the start time of the game as possible, preferably making sure they are in the starting lineup. The difference of one day can mean you could miss out on a game played on Day-30, and, as we saw with JADON SANCHO on the bench last week, make sure they are in the starting lineup, to give you the best chance of maximising your returns. Of course, there are some that will have fast fingers. I noticed a rise on Poulsen, Goretzka and Hazard when some lineups were announced, so you need to be sure you have access to a site that announces starting lineups fast.
There is only one Wolfsburg player with a positive PEG ratio in 26yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger MAXIMILIAN ARNOLD (£1.11) who has 12p in Divs with an EGR of 15% giving a PEG of 0.61. That's not great and he will be up against it with a confident Dortmund team. He scored a 132 in their 2-1 defeat of Augsburg last week, enough to finish 7th for PB Midfielders. An average PB of 112 is good, with some decent key pass/crossing/long ball stats. He is also on corners and free kicks, which gives him a bit of a boost.
Focusing on Dortmund, we have to start with 20yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger JADON SANCHO (£13.41) – from a PB perspective, I'm not that interested. He has earned 11pt in Divs with an EGR of 126% giving a PEG of 0.97, bang on the money in terms of value. One of the reasons, is that he has only played a full 90-minutes in 3 of his last 7 games, last week playing 11 minutes from the bench. That limits his PB potential but, of course that could change as he matures and gets more gametime. When he does start, he contends for PB, so best to perhaps wait to see he starts. However, it's important to consider media, he has a MB PEG of 0.07 – that's my main reason for holding him right now, as well as future PB, Euro's, transfers etc – but for the sake of pure PB, I'm happy to skip.
Similar comments apply to 19yo Centre Forward ERLING BRAUT HAALAND (£8.33). He has 4p in PB Divs, a PB PEG of 0.51 with an EGR of 410% He gets a lot of stick for not being great at PB but the kid is 19, does get goals, thanks in large parts to delivery from the winters and so will also grab media. We already know from my previous PEG category work that 19yo's have a relatively high Avg PEG of 0.54 while centre forwards have the highest PEG average, apart from Goalkeepers, of 0.39. Those are not bad figures, but there are better elsewhere. However, for media, he has a MB PEG of 0.07 which is excellent and alongside that of Sancho. Young Dortmund players attract media, because they attract transfer news but also because they are journalist-friendly fodder. You either buy for media now, with the hope that PB comes or you wait until PB starts to improve then get on board. I'm happy to hold both for media, with a view to the future.
Getting back to this game, for PB there are two players again, both of the full backs for Dortmund – 21yo ACHRAF HAKIMI (2.88) has 11p in Divs, with a EGR of 190%, giving a PEG of 0.14 and last week's Star Player 26yo RAPHAEL GUERREIRO with 12p in Divs and an EGR of 124% EGR giving a PEG of 0.11.
My preference is for Guerriero at this stage, simply because I think he is a class act and also has Euro's with Portugal but I also hold Hakimi. They are both classed as midfielders, lots has been made of Guerreiro missing out on Clean Sheets after the switch from defender, which is a fair point, but it's also a simplistic argument and doesn't take into account a whole host of other factors, it's not as big a disadvantage as some experts make out. For example, it doesn't take into account the rate of improvement Guerreiro is making in this new role, so he doesn't need to score higher to compete with other midfielders. He also has more freedom in this role, enabling him to compete regularly against the better midfielders and post big PB scores.
Have a read of this excellent article to understand why the switch to a back-3 at Dortmund has benefitted both Guerrerio and Hakimi and ALWAYS question people who quote opinions as facts and say it's a negative move, look at each case individually. He may be losing -25pts but that is more than made up for by the greater attacking options he now has on the actual pitch, both need to be considered.
Guerrerio takes corners and free kicks, which for me gives him a slight boost over Hakimi and he is closing in on his prime age, whereas Hakimi is still fairly young, albeit an exciting talent and has really benefited from switching mainly to the right wing. My advice would be to hold both, it's likely both of them could compete for PB in midfield on Saturday and in most games in the future – all depends on the starting lineups, but both are excellent mid-longer term holds.
BAYERN MUNICH v FRANKFURT
Bayern Munich (2.8) are clearly top of the table and should have too much firepower for Frankfurt (-1.07) here. Their 3 players all won PB Divs last Sunday, albeit there was a lack of competition on a Bronze Day.
Starting with Frankfurt we have 24yo Full Back ALMAMY TOURE (£0.75) who has 2p in Divs with an EGR of 167% and a PEG of 0.22. That's pretty good going but he has only played 19 games and his PB average of 85.26 leaves a bit to be desired.
27yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger FILIP KOSTIC (£2.38) has 16p in Divs with an EGR of 11% giving an excellent 0.13 PEG. He is an awesome player, takes free-kicks and corners but there will be easier opportunities for him to win PB than against a solid Bayern side, full of confidence. His PB Scores against the top sides is actually well below his averages, possibly because the top teams have the players to stifle his impact on a game. So, once again we look to Bayern for the opportunities.
23yo Forward KINGSLEY COMAN (£2.42) doesn't start a lot of games, which is a shame because when he does play 70+ minutes, he scores very decent PB scores. However, with Lewandowski and Gnabry in the squad, it's always going to be a bit of a struggle for him. IF he starts a game, or if one of the others gets injured, take the hint. One thing he does have is Euro potential with France, having scored 3 goals in 6 games during qualifying. Coutinho is still out, so that leaves us with the Fab-4.
31yo Centre Forward ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (£2.44) – An amazing 29p in Divs with an EGR of 81% gives him a PEG of 0.10 – quite an exceptional player, a natural finisher and even at 31, still looks to show no signs of slowing down at all. It would be no surprise for me to see him win Top Forward again this Saturday – with the Bundesliga the only league on, the cream rises to the top and he faces little competition in this area, apart from perhaps Haaland if he catches a few goals, he also has Euro's with Poland next summer.
24yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger SERGE GNABRY (£4.89) came in for stick in some quarters last weekend. The German International has 8 goals in 7 qualifiers for Germany, 6 goals in 6 games in the Champions League and 11 goals and 9 assists in the Bundesliga but his main competitor will often be his team-mate Lewandowski. Every player can have an off-day and Gnabry shouldn't be judged too harshly based on 1 game, it shows tremendous short-termism to believe he has suddenly lost his touch or is poor value and I wouldn't be surprised if he bounced back this week as he was in scoring positions. Fact is that he has 9p in Divs, with an EGR of 292%for a PEG of 0.18, not quite a good as Lewandowski, but still pretty exceptional and he will continue to score and play a hand in the attacks, for both club and country, so looks an excellent medium-longer term hold at just 24.
25yo JOSHUA KIMMICH (£4.12) has really flourished since switching from right-back to a more midfield/wingback role at the end of August last season. Again, many point at his +25pts lost as a classified defender costing him PB potential but his actual position change on the pitch is likely to provide him with more points scoring opportunities in that area. He has still won Top Midfielder 5 times when Bayern have kept clean sheets, since his position change. Some say there is more competition in midfield, but there are actually a smaller portion of midfielders capable of posting big scores than there are defenders, which also includes the Goalkeeper category, albeit that has a small impact. He plays a midfield role for the German national team, so will have Euro's. He is also on free-kicks and corners.
In the previous 2 seasons Kimmich had 28 assists with 178 chances created, when a fullback, he is likely to have even more opportunities in a more forward role in midfield. Very similar to Phillip Lahm, whose passes increased significantly when moving from full back to defensive midfielder. Check this article on Kimmich on Statsbomb. He is on course to be an all-time great and a key reason why I think Bayern win the Champions League and Germany strongly contend in the next years European Championships.
24yo French International BENJAMIN PAVARD (£2.11) managed to win Star Player and Top Defender last week, which looked a given for me, and again this week he is likely to contend. He has earned 12p in Divs with an EGR of 172% giving him an excellent PEG of 0.10. His switch to Kimmich's old right-back role should see his production output increase, and this is key. I think he looks underpriced and were it not for a foul committed on him in the dying stages last weekend, Kimmich would have won Star Player, showing this is a game of fine margins. Pavard's scores have improved massively since the switch, also factoring in his rate and potential for improvement in this area, he will contend most weeks, at least until other leagues return, and even then he will still compete.
SCHALKE v AUGSBURG
Both teams have ‘fair' run-in's. Schalke were disappointing last weekend and will need to do better. They should have an edge here. Augsburg's only PEG player is Full Back PHILIP MAX (£1.24) who has returned an amazing 14p in Divs with an EGR of 242% giving an excellent PEG of 0.04. That's one of the best out there and if Schalke don't show up again, he is one that could take advantage. He takes corners, has 7 goals from 24 games and 5 assists. However, he is a bit hit and miss and out of sorts at the moment, so I won't be going near him right now. After Bayern, Schalke have the highest amount of ‘value' players in the line-up but there average PEG's are not the best so I'll focus on the better ones.
23yo Defensive midfielder/Wingback SUAT SERDAR (£1.47) has 4p in Divs with an EGR of 539% giving a PEG of 0.07, which is excellent. However, has struggled a bit for regular 90-mins gametime and he has missed games. However, he has a better chance on Bronze Days I feel, when his last win came back in January but I'll keep an eye on him for now.
20yo Centre Back OZAN KABAK (£1.16) has earned 4p in Divs with an EGR of 156% giving a 0.42 PEG. He hasn't had a lot of regular gamestime and not played since end of February when he picked up an injury and supposedly out for nearly 3 months. It's unknown whether he will be ready soon, but if he does lineup, take note. It's a key blow to Schalke, and could be a reason for their defeat last time.
22yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger AMINE HARIT (£1.59) has 5p in Divs with an EGR of 156% and a 0.20 PEG but he has ligament problems and likely won't start. He hasn't done too much since the start of the season but it's worth looking for a return to form for any of these players.
MAINZ v LEIPZIG
Full Back DANIEL BROSINSKI (£0.34) is the only Mainz player here worth looking at but I'd expect a bit of a backlash from RB after a below-average display last weekend and have now drawn their last 3 games. Brosinski has 5p in Divs with a 16% EGR and a 0.40 PEG. Not fantastic but worth noting. However, again the focus has to be on the RB players.
TIMO WERNER has been excellent for media these last few months, but didn't really get going last weekend. His last PB win was back in February and there could be a chance he is a little out of sorts but he does have a chance of winning Forward on a Bronze Day. He has 27p in Divs with an EGR of 190% giving a PEF of 0.12 which is one of the best in the squad. Definitely could contend for Top Forward on Sunday if finding his feet.
21yo Centre Back DAYOT UPAMECANO (£2.16) has rumoured to have already agreed terms to Bayern Munich, whether that is true or not I don't know but it might explain his absence from the squad last weekend so I'm not taking a chance on him.
A better defensive option could be 28yo Full Back MARCEL HALSTENBERG (£1.33) who has 11p in Divs with an EGR of 52% and a PEG of 0.23. He can be on free kicks and corners, depending on whether Sabitzer or Nkunku are playing. He actually hit a decent score of 185 last weekend, enough for a 2nd place and he could go one better this Sunday for Top-Defender.
26yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger MARCEL SABITZER (£2.52) only played 21 minutes last weekend but if getting a full game, could definitely contend for top-midfielder here. I'm pretty sure Sabitzer will start this weekend after last week's abject performance, much will depend on monitoring the starting lineup's but I think the Austrian International is a decent mid-long term hold anyway with 10p in Divs, 123% earnings growth and a PB PEG of 0.2, he ranks about the best midfielder on show this weekend.
Finally, 22yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU (£3.29) has 8p Divs with an EGR of 380% for a 0.11 PEG. He is an outside bet for France, despite not playing for them yet. He is on corners and free kicks and is an immense talent. He could potentially be up against Halstenberg here in terms of winning Defender on a Bronze Day. He didn't do so well last weekend, and often struggles to get a full 90-minutes, as a lot of youngster do, so Halstenberg is probably the safer bet but he is a good long-term hold IMO with transfer potential for media also.
KOLN v DUSSELDORF
Colonge should have the advantage over Dusseldorf here, there are actually only 3 players worth looking at here.
The only Dusseldorf player is 28yo Full Back NIKO GIESSELMANN (£0.35) who has 7p in Divs with a 16% EGR for a 0.31 PEG. He played ok last weekend with a PB of 130, finishing 11th overall, not bad on a Silver Day so he definitely has potential for the defender category on a Bronze Day. His contact expires at the end of June but his team concede a fair few goals which limits his upside somewhat, especially a Cologne side who have been firing in goals.
29yo Full Back JONAS HECTOR has 10p in Divs with an EGR of 17% with a 0.28 PEG but he didn't perform so well last weekend.
A better option for Cologne is 28yo Attacking Midfielder/Winger MARK UTH (£1) who came close to winning PB Midfielder last weekend, finishing 2nd, just outdone by Kimmich. On a bronze day, he definitely has a good chance here, after I saw him taking free kicks and being involved in the goals and chances created. He has a PB average of 81 but 6 of his last 8 have seen scores of 124+ and a PB high of 210 back in February, came close to that with a 180 last weekend. He only has 2p in Divs but with an EGR of 232% that gives him a very decent PEG of 0.21.
All of these don't take into account young, up and coming players yet to earn Divs, like KAI HAVERTZ and MATHEUS CUNHA who are both on my radar. I'm working on an xPEG for these kind of players but in the meantime it's best to go with proven performers, so these are my guesses for the weekend games -:
FRIDAY – TORUNARIGHA (DEF) & DARIDA (MID)
SATURDAY – SKOV (DEF), PAVARD (DEF), GUERREIRO (MID), KIMMICH (MID), GNABRY (FWD)
SUNDAY – HALSTENBERG (DEF), UTH (MID), WERNER (FWD)
Obviously, I've tried to scale these back as much as possible and also offer players who I think have more appeal beyond just this weekend. Short-term trading is ok, but it can eat into profits through excess commission and with spreads so wide, it's a risky proposition right now. Thoughts and feedback appreciated below. As ever, look out for injury news, starting lineups and be responsible for your own decisions.