Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Friday


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news guys but the Bundesliga title race is over. Bayern Munich’s 5-1 mauling of Dortmund before the international break, coupled with Schalke’s surprise dropping of points, means the German giants hold a seven-point lead at the top of the table, a feat never achieved so early in the season.

Mainz v Dortmund, Friday 16th October 2015, 19.30, BT Sport Europe

Thomas Tuchel will know he has to lift his troops ahead of a return to the Coface Arena. The new Dortmund boss oversaw 170 Bundesliga matches as Mainz head coach making him the Zerofivers’ longest-serving manager. During his time with Mainz, only Bayern, Dortmund, Leverkusen and Schalke picked up more points in the league than the Carnival club.

The fortnight off will have given Tuchel time to examine BVB’s devastating defeat to Bayern but with the bulk of his squad away on international duty, it might be a bit much to ask Dortmund to turn it on against a highly-motivated Mainz team. The new Black & Yellows boss kick-started his reign with 11 successive wins but a W0-D3-L1 return since will have raised doubts in the players’ minds.

Dortmund have picked up 25 of a possible 30 points against Mainz in the last five years but at 1/2 are no price at all, considering the circumstances. But saying that, can we trust the hosts who’ve W5-D2-L4 of their 11 matches at the Coface Arena under Martin Schmidt’s stewardship? Perhaps.

Only the visitors, the league leaders and Stuttgart have created more clear-cut chances than Mainz this season whilst Yunus Malli’s six-goal tally is already a season-high for the attacking midfielder. There’s plenty to like about the home side but Fabian Frei’s injury coupled with their one clean sheet return from eight matches is naturally a concern.

Dortmund have their own sharp-shooter and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal last time out in that 5-1 hammering meant the Gabon hitman equalled Klaus Allofs’ Bundesliga record for scoring in consecutive league matches without missing a game. Tuchel’s team are clicking in attack but at the back, they’ve been a little less impressive.

I’d be surprised if BVB shut out Mainz and with that in mind, a goals-based bet is probably the best solution. Dortmund have seen 7/8 Bundesliga matches break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier this term whilst 11/14 trips to top-half teams have followed suit. Six of Mainz’s previous seven matches have also featured at least three goals.

Over 2.5 Goals is prohibitively short at 40/85 but we can take Over 3.5 Goals at odds-against quotes of 11/10. It’s a bet that’s proven profitable in three of Dortmund’s four away days in the league already this season and with three of Mainz’s four Coface Arena dates producing at least three goals, it feels well within reach on Friday.

Recommended Bet:
Over 3.5 Goals @ 11/10

Monaco v Lyon, Friday 16th October 2015, 19.30 BT Sport Extra
Neither Monaco nor Lyon are in a great place right now. Although Lyon have registered 15 points after their first nine games, one more than last season at the same stage, the thrills and spills of their bright young side taking Ligue 1 by storm last season have long gone.

A turbulent summer followed and the bad blood and ill feeling between players and the hierarchy at the club has spilled over this term.

Star striker Alexandre Lacazette has publically criticised the club’s chairman and manager

…over the way they handled his contract talks and his poor form in front of goal, coupled with Nabil Fekir’s long-term injury, has had a damaging effect.

Lyon fans are unhappy, players are whinging, management are moaning. Even so, Les Gones are just doing enough to keep their top-three challenge on track. Head coach Hubert Fournier is persistent with his tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 diamond formation and at least the side are keeping things reasonably tight at the back – only Angers can match their haul of six clean sheets.

As for Monaco, a campaign that began with hope and expectation has since fallen along the wayside. The deadline day departures of Anthony Martial and Layvin Kurzawa as well as mainstays Geoffrey Kondogbia, Aymen Abdennour and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco have hit the side hard.

The principality club are languishing in mid-table (W3-D4-L2) and only taken two points from a possible 12 at their Stade Louis II home. In an odd quirk, since Leonardo Jardim took charge, Monaco have actually won more games away from home and their outstanding defensive record from 2014/15 has long gone too.

Monaco have conceded 12 goals in their last six games in Ligue 1, as many as in their previous 27, and are unlikely to be strong enough to stop a Lyon side from notching. Les Gones have scored in each of their last five away and should fancy their chances on capitalising on the out-of-sort hosts.

Lyon haven’t convinced on their travels, mind. And with these two clubs racking up 19 draws between them in 2015 alone, it’s not easy to split them. Instead, a play on Both Teams To Score should offer punters a bit of value at 5/6 quotes. It’s been a winning selection in six of Monaco’s nine matches as well as Lyon’s toughest away trips to Marseille and Bordeaux.

Recommended Bet:
Both Teams To Score @ 5/6