The Expert: Five players facing favoured opposition on Matchday 20

My Official Fantasy Bundesliga XI hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to the 2016/17 Rückrunde but – as I keep reminding my colleagues James and Flo – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

I need to get back on track on Matchday 20, however, and I’m hoping these five players will help me do just that…

Yoshinori Muto (9.8M, vs. FC Augsburg)
A serious knee injury has limited Muto to just two goals this season, but his luck could be about to change: The Japanese international was not only on target in 1. FSV Mainz 05’s 3-1 win at the WWK Arena earlier this season, he also netted a memorable hat-trick in the two teams’ 3-3 draw in the 2015/16 campaign. Muto has started each of 1. FSV Mainz 05’s last three matches in the Bundesliga, and at 9.6M he could be a sound investment this weekend.

Karim Bellarabi (12.8M, vs. Eintracht Frankfurt)
Like Muto, the Bayer 04 Leverkusen winger has started the last three league matches after recovering from a long-standing groin injury. Bellarabi, who is currently priced at 12.8M, has been involved in five goals in as many league appearances against Eintracht Frankfurt (three goals, two assists). The Eagles may be flying high in third, but they will have to be on their guard to prevent the 26-year-old from adding to that impressive tally on Saturday.

Naldo (14.1M, vs. Hertha Berlin)
FC Schalke 04 stalwart Naldo is more expensive than either Muto or Bellarabi, but the Brazilian might be worth the outlay – and not just because of his goal in the Royal Blues’ 1-1 draw at FC Bayern München last time out! The veteran centre-back has won more games against Hertha (11 victories in 16 appearances) than against any other Bundesliga club. Still need convincing? Naldo has also averaged 5 points a game for successful challenges since the turn of the year…

Raffael (13.9M, vs. SV Werder Bremen)
With two goals in his last two appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach, my money’s on Raffael to find the net against struggling Werder on Saturday. The Brazilian has scored eight times in 13 appearances against the Green-Whites – more than against any other side in Germany’s top flight. Gladbach appear to have turned a corner under new head coach Dieter Hecking, and Raffael seems to be reaping the rewards.

Leonardo Bittencourt (10.3M, vs. SC Freiburg)
Bittencourt has been in impressive form since the turn of the calendar year, registering two assists in 1. FC Köln’s 6-1 victory at SV Darmstadt 98 on Matchday 18. The former Borussia Dortmund and Hannover 96 star will not need reminding of his goalscoring record against Freiburg: Four goals in five league appearances, including the second in Köln’s 3-0 win over Christian Streich’s side back on Matchday 3. Yup, you might want to add the 23-year-old to your shortlist…

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