Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Friday’s Matches


Mainz meet Hoffenheim in Friday night’s Bundesliga battle with the Zerofivers’ keen to bounce back to winning ways.

Mainz v Hoffenheim, Friday 18 September 2015, 19.30, BT Sport Europe
A surprise reverse at home to newly-promoted Ingolstadt opened their account for 2015/16 but Martin Schmidt’s men produced two sterling efforts to see off Gladbach (2-1 away) and Hannover (3-0 home) before a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Schalke last weekend.

The hosts have been chalked up as 23/20 favourites to clinch a third league victory of the new campaign and I’d like to think there are decent claims to get involved with that price in the Match Odds market. Mainz’s mix-and-match W4-D2-L3 record at the Coface Arena under Schmidt’s watch is promising enough and the Carnival Club also hold a solid W6-D4-L2 head-to-head advantage over Hoffenheim.

In fact, Hoffe are the Zerofivers’ favourite Bundesliga club to face – their points-per-game tally against Friday’s guests is better than against any other top-tier opposition – and Markus Gisdol’s men show no sign of reversing their worrying 2015 form.

Hoffenheim have already suffered 12 league defeats this calendar year and suffered a morale-sapping 3-1 loss at home to Werder Bremen last weekend.

It’s true the visitors endured two tough openers against Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen but a limp and lifeless showing at Darmstadt (0-0) remains their only point after four matchdays. Unsurprisingly, it’s their worst start in their Bundesliga history and Hoffe were even dumped out of the DFB Pokal in the first round by lower league opposition.

As well as a straight play on Mainz, it may pay to back the hosts and Both Teams To Score at a handy 29/10. Mainz have seen the BTTS bet bank in 5/9 under Schmidt whilst 10 of their past 16 at the Coface Arena have featured three or more goals. Hoffenheim have been beaten in 19/40 (48%) of road trips with Gisdol in charge but they have managed to score in 28/40 (70%) – a whopping 26/40 (65%) were winning Both Teams To Score selections.

Recommended Bets:
Mainz to win @ 23/20
Mainz to win and Both Teams To Score @ 29/10

Getafe v Malaga, Friday 18 September 2015, 19.30, Sky Sports 2
Getafe prop up the embryonic La Liga table after three games with Fran Escriba’s side falling to defeats at the hands of Espanyol, Granada and Athletic Club. The capital club were easily seen off by the Basques last time out with a 3-1 defeat perhaps a little kind on the Deep Blues.

Escriba’s a talented coach who enjoyed great success with Elche last season but the new man in the dugout is struggling to put the brakes on Getafe’s rotten recent return. Including last season, Friday night’s hosts have lost nine of their last 10 in La Liga and are now the only side in Spain’s top tier still searching for their first point.

The Deep Blues have never lost their first four games of a La Liga campaign and they do have a decent chance of keeping that unwanted record intact. The Madrid-based club have beaten Malaga 1-0 in each of their last three showdowns at the Coliseum and the side from the Costa del Sol arrive with their own early season problems.

Javi Garcia’s men have failed to even score so far this season but on paper the 0-0s accrued against Sevilla and Eibar, along with a 1-0 loss at Barcelona, are much more creditable than Getafe’s 2015/16 form. But the Anchovies have W1-D5-L8 in 14 La Liga games now and are once again without Ignacio Camacho, Weligton and Roque Santa Cruz this weekend.

The visitors have returned home pointless in seven of their previous eight away days and also conceded the first goal in 10 of their last 13 on the road.

With that in mind, it might pay to back Getafe to extend that scoring streak by netting the opening goal at 21/20. It’s a fair odds-against play in a trappy affair with value hard to come by.

Recommended Bet:
Getafe To Score First @ 21/20

Rennes v Lille, Friday 18 September 2015, 19.30, BT Sport 2
They’ll have been dancing in the streets of Rennes last week as Philippe Montanier’s men equalled their best ever start to a Ligue 1 season alongside their 1950/51 vintage. Four successive victories, with last weekend’s win at local rivals Nantes the highlight, mean Les Rouge et Noir can temporarily move to the summit of the league with another maximum-point return off Lille.

Since 2000, 71% of the teams with at least four wins after five matchdays have ended the season in the top-three. The good news continued this week with star Yoann Gourcuff confirming he’ll join the club in the coming weeks. Clearly Rennes are buzzing and the return of Gelson Fernandes and Pedro Henrique from suspension can only help their cause for this fixture.

Lille head to Roazhon Park without midfielder Florent Balmont but key man Sofiane Boufal is back from a ban to boost Herve Renard’s options. Les Dogues are already defending the league’s best defensive record (four successive clean sheets) and picked up a more than fair W1-D3-L0 from fixtures against Monaco, Bordeaux, Lyon and Gazalec.

Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has been the star of the show for Lille as their offence clearly requires a bit of work. Les Dogues have failed to net in four of their five outings now with those matches returning a total goals haul of just two. Naturally, all five games featured Under 2.5 Goals winners. A repeat is backable at 1/2 on Friday night and that looks the most obvious banker of the night.

It’s hard not to look towards a low-scoring encounter when viewing the pre-match trends.

Rennes have seen the Under 2.5 Goals bet bank in eight of their last 10 as hosts, 24/40 (60%) overall under Montanier and in their last seven clashes against Lille at their Brittany base.

Since the start of last season, 14/21 (67%) of Les Dogues road trips have followed suit with a huge 15/20 visits to top-six teams also failing to break the two-goal barrier. It’s difficult to ignore the claims for another low-scoring encounter.

Recommended Bets:
Under 2.5 Goals @ 1/2

*Prices correct at time of publication