Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – SaturdayStats
Der Klassiker was the game that promised so much and delivered nearly everything. But goals.
Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen, Saturday 12th March 2016 (17.30), BT Sport Europe
Bayern Munich have now failed to win in back-to-back Bundesliga games for the first time this season with last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Dortmund arguably the first time this season that Pep Guardiola’s men came to being outplayed.
Sure, FC Hollywood have lost to Arsenal, Gladbach and Mainz – the latter in their last Allianz Arena outing – but none of those three teams put the Bavarians under such intense pressure as the Black & Yellows. For a good hour or so, Dortmund were the better team.
The league leaders have now managed just a solitary success in four across all competitions and might have one eye on their midweek Champions League tie with Juventus. Pep’s still without the injured Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Javi Martinez so perhaps there’s hope for Saturday’s visitors Werder Bremen?
The River Islands swept injury-hit Bayer Leverkusen and rock-bottom Hannover aside 4-1 in consecutive games to ease their relegation fears, climbing to 13th in the standings – their best standing since Week 7.
Viktor Skrypnyk’s side are now three points clear of the relegation play-off pace and attacking teams with verve and confidence. Well, Bremen have failed to shutout any Bundesliga side in 28 now – an on-going club record – so attack really is their best form of defence.
This weekend Werder are without suspended duo Clemens Fritz and Zlatko Junuzovic, while Philipp Bargfrede remains unavailable.The guests have notched in 20 of their last 23 away trips in league football but veteran striker Claudio Pizarro will also miss this match.
Ultimately, however, the River Islanders will suffer a first loss in four. The northerners have been beaten in each of their last 10 games against the table-toppers, shipping 40 goals in the process.
Werder’s eight league outings since the winter break have featured 34 goals and 11 of their last 12 trips to top-six sides have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, seven of the most recent nine producing four or more goals.
Bremen won’t be afraid to get forward and have the tools to pinch a goal.
But with Bayern winning 40 of their previous 46 home Bundesliga matches under Pep’s guard, a 12th loss in 25 away days under Skrypnyk’s leadership appears destined for the guests here.
Bayern Munich to win and Over 3.5 Goals @ 3/4
Inter Milan v Bologna, Saturday 12th March 2016 (19.45), BT Sport Europe
Bologna turnaround in fortunes under the guidance of former Italian national team boss Roberto Donadoni has been remarkable.
The Rossoblu picked up just six points from a possible 30 following promotion back into the top-flight and that was enough to see Delio Rossi removed as head coach and Donadoni installed. His target from the club’s directors was simply survival.
Donadoni’s first initiative was to channel Al Pacino’s “Inches” speech from the movie Any Given Sunday, to keep Bologna’s season alive and the players inspired. And hasn’t it worked a treat?
The Rossoblu routed Atalanta 3-0 and Verona 2-0 in Donadoni’s first two fixtures and the man who kept coaxing out gritty performances from a Parma side that hadn’t been paid in months last season, has lead Bologna into the top-half of the Serie A table.
Confidence should be sky-high in the camp thanks to a superb return of W8-D6-L4 under Donadoni’s tutelage and that includes W3-D4-L1 across their most recent eight outings, including holding table-topping Juventus.
The Greyhounds have kept their sheets clean in five of those eight encounters and with only four losses in 10 clashes against sides in seventh and above, they’ll hold no fear over a visit to overrated Inter.
The Nerazzurri followed up their valiant Coppa Italia fight-back against Juventus by beating relegation-haunted Palermo at San Siro last Sunday but only three triumphs in 10 have seen their title challenge slump.
Roberto Mancini’s men have failed to score more than a single goal in all bar three of their 15 league games in front of their home supporters and 11 of their 15 victories have arrived by a one-goal margin, indicating their lack of dominance.
The famed and firm foundations that were the bedrock for Inter’s good early season form have faltered in recent weeks – having kept seven shutouts in eight at San Siro, the hosts have now leaked in five of their last six here and look vulnerable favourites against a Bologna side that’s W4-D1-L1 on the road recently.
Juventus, Roma and Fiorentina have all been held by the visitors, whilst Napoli and Milan were felled – Bologna look primed to upset the odds again and come away with at least a point on Saturday night. They’re 29/20 in the Double Chance market.
Meanwhile, Under 2.5 Goals is worth a play at 3/4 considering the strong stats in our favour.
Each of Bologna’s last eight games as guests have failed to breach the 2.5 goals line as well as 10/13 (77%) of their away trips since the start of the season; Inter have followed suit in 9/14 (64%) as hosts.
Bologna Double Chance (29/20)
Under 2.5 Goals (3/4)
Atletico Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna, Saturday 12th March 2016 (19.30), Sky Sports 2
Atletico Madrid aren’t yet ready to give up the La Liga title race, it’s just not in their nature. In the Mattress Makers’ last three La Liga games they’ve won away at Real Madrid, at Valencia and hammered Real Sociedad.
Against Valencia last Sunday they were fantastic. Diego Simeone’s side were incisive in possession with Antoine Griezmann dropping deeper to control proceedings and Fernando Torres headlining the attack –Torres is playing well.
Barcelona are the only La Liga team to defeat the capital club in the Vicente Calderon this season and Atletico are currently enjoying their best run of home results since their title-winning campaign in 2014 (W8-D3-L0). In that 11-game streak, they’ve conceded just four goals and kept six clean sheets in eight.
And Spain’s second best side hold a strong record against Saturday evening’s opponents Deportivo. Atletico have won nine games on the spin when welcoming the Galicians as well as W6-D2-L0 in their last eight La Liga bouts – Depor have managed just two goals in that sample.
La Coruna have endured an abysmal 2016 so far, having been dragged into the fringes of a Liga relegation battle after failing to win a match since 19th December – a 12-match streak. On the road it’s seven without success (W0-D4-L3), conceding an average of two goals-per-game.
Last weekend’s home match against Malaga looked set to provide some timely relief, but Alejandro Arribas headed into his own net at the death to gift the visitors a point in a 3-3 draw. Nothing’s going right for Victor Sanchez’s outfit.
Depor have lost by at least a two-goal margin in six of their last eight at top-six teams but under Sanchez they remain a stubborn side. However, with top scorer Lucas Perez and leading centre-half Sidnei struggling to be fit, it’s hard to imagine the away side stopping the Atletico train.
Since Simeone arrived at the Calderon, the Mattress Makers have W35-D3-L0 when hosting bottom-half teams, keeping a stunning 28 clean sheets. It’s boring, it’s obvious but it’s got serious form so Atletico to win ‘to nil’ at 4/6 will do, for me.
Atletico Madrid to win to nil (4/6)
*Prices correct at time of publication.