Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Sunday
Thomas Tuchel fielded a strong side for Dortmund’s Europa League thrashing of Qabala on Thursday night but the 4-0 pounding came at a cost.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke, Sunday 8 November 2015 14.30, BT Sport/ESPN
Marco Reus picked up an injury and will now miss the all-important Revierderby on Sunday.
Nevertheless, it’s hard not to fancy the Black & Yellows delivering yet another knockout blow to their bitter rivals from Gelsenkirchen. Thursday’s continental triumph made it 67 goals from just 20 games this season and following Bayern Munich’s goalless draw at Frankfurt last Friday, BVB are just five points off the summit.
The last time Schalke visited the Westfalenstadion they were blown away 3-0 with BVB out-shooting their neighbours 31-3. Such a one-sided contest might be a little too far fetched to repeat but I still expect Dortmund to show the Royal Blues who’s boss in the Ruhr and so backing the hosts -1 makes the most sense at 4/5.
The two teams are only separated by two places in the table but Tuchel’s troops have smashed 18 more goals than Schalke and their 26-point tally from 11 matches has only been bettered twice in the club’s illustrious history. Eight of their 11 league outings have been won by a margin of two goals.
Looking at the form of the Black & Yellows in front of their home fans is also rather enlightening. Dortmund have won eight of their last nine at the Westfalenstadion, scoring at least twice in each encounter – seven being won by that magic two-goal margin.
Schalke have drifted into mediocrity in recent weeks. The Royal Blues laboured to a 1-1 draw at Sparta Prague on Thursday night and required a late Leroy Sane equaliser to salvage a point at home to promoted Ingolstadt last weekend. Andre Breitenreiter’s visitors have W1-D2-L1 across their past four Bundesliga games.
To make matters worse, midfield general Johannes Geis is still suspended and skipper Benedikt Howedes is injured. Schalke have been beaten in five of their last eight on the road and in their last 20 trips to fellow top-six finishers over the past four seasons, the Royal Blues have W4-D4-L12 with nine of those defeats arriving by that magic two-goal margin or larger.
Borussia Dortmund -1 @ 4/5
Roma v Lazio, Sunday 8 November 2015 14.00, BT Sport Europe
Roma hold a 49-36 advantage over Lazio in the fiercely-contested Derby della Capitale and the Giallorossi have finished above their hated rivals in all bar two of the last 12 Serie A seasons. The last five head-to-heads have a W2-D3-L0 advantage in the Wolves’ favour but the Eagles did win the most important of recent battles – the Coppa Italia final in 2013.
As we all know, form often goes out that open window when it comes to derby matches and that should again be the case in the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon.
With both clubs harbouring realistic title ambitions this season and coming into this clash off the back of league losses last weekend, the stakes are incredibly high.
In midweek, Roma sneaked a late 3-2 win thanks to Miralem Pjanic’s penalty but the Bosnian is banned on Sunday. With Maicon and Alessandro Florenzi both struggling, Rudi Garcia may need to bring in a few reinforcements.
Lazio have had a day less rest but did leave out most of their big-hitters in Thursday night’s 2-0 Europa League victory in Rosenborg. Filip Djordjevic’s early brace gave the Biancocelesti a comfortable three points and now Stefano Pioli’s men have set their sights on upsetting the odds this weekend.
Injuries are preventing me from punting Roma despite their excellent recent run, especially at home in Serie A (W4-D1-L0) so instead attention should be turned towards goals. Lazio have scored in their last seven Serie A fixtures and seen Over 2.5 Goals in 32/49 (65%) of their league matches under Piolo.
Roma’s last seven at the Olimpico have featured at least three goals with Both Teams To Score also banking in each of those games. We can back Over 2.5 Goals at 8/11.
Over 2.5 Goals @ 8/11
Sevilla v Real Madrid, Sunday 8 November 2015 19.30, Sky Sports 3
Real Madrid haven’t lost a La Liga game since March and are unbeaten in nine on the road. But the table-toppers’ most impressive stats have come under Rafa Benitez – the Champions League winner has led Los Blancos to W7-D3-L0 from their opening 10, smashing a league-high 24 goals and conceding only four.
The capital club escaped with a fortunate 1-0 victory over PSG in midweek and are likely to be without Karim Benzema as well as a few others on Sunday but should be supported to make it 13 wins from their last 15 meetings with Sevilla.
Sevilla, winners over Barcelona on home soil just a month ago, are being dogged by infuriating inconsistency and were ruthlessly exposed by Manchester City in midweek. Should Real follow a similar blueprint, the visitors shouldn’t have a problem picking up maximum points.
As well as City, Atletico Madrid and Celta Vigo have left the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with well-earned victories this term and overall Unai Emery’s men have lost exactly half of their 14 fixtures. They won’t be helped by an injury to star striker Kevin Gameiro, either.
But rather than just back the plain away win, I’m going to throw in Over 2.5 Goals to the equation to boost the odds to a handsome 31/20.
Sevilla’s last seven on home soil have featured at least three goals with Los Rojiblancos posting a solitary clean sheet in nine.
The hosts have actually lost six of their last 10 when welcoming Spain’s big-two and their previous 12 against the same opposition have each broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier – eight featuring four or more goals and seven even producing five or more goals.
Real Madrid’s proud defensive record – 10 clean sheets in 14 games – is likely to come under threat from an attack-minded Sevilla side and with Keylar Navas and Marcelo likely absentees, I’d be surprised if they added another shutout to their tally. After all, PSG scuffed a host of opportunities in midweek.
Looking at Los Blancos’ away days since the start of last season, a whopping 13 of 15 have seen Over 2.5 Goals when Madrid have conceded a goal with eight of those fixtures even collecting for Over 3.5 Goals players.
Real Madrid to win and Over 2.5 Goals @ 31/20
*Prices correct at time of publication.