Form Labs Weekender

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Bayern v Dortmund - Saturday 17:30

Bayern’s victory parade has been held up a bit longer after a midweek defeat at Hoffenheim allowed Leipzig to cut the gap to 10 points. That ended a five game winning streak during which they’d scored 21 times without conceding. With Real Madrid ahead on Wednesday they’ll want to make sure they’re not on a two-game losing streak for that clash.

Bayern have lost only once at home since the start of last season as they’ve won 25 of 30 matches. With 3.2 goals per game scored and just 0.4 gpg conceded in that time it’s fair to say Dortmund face an uphill battle here. This season their home goal difference is already +39 after 13 games and they won this fixture 5-1 last term.

However, their last two meetings, which have both been in Dortmund, have seen Bayern fail to find the target so Thomas Tuchel might fancy his chances. Unfortunately for him his side have been far below their best on the road this season as they’ve won just four of 14 matches while being beaten five times. They’ve also kept just one clean sheet in their last 15 away matches so hopes of a third consecutive shutout against the champions look likely to be dashed. Furthermore, their record this season at the current top 10 is just W1-D2-L4.

Bayern had a scare in midweek as Robert Lewandowski left training holding his hamstring. However, the Polish striker later tweeted that nothing was wrong so should start unless he’s rested for the Champions League clash next week. Dortmund have several injury concerns of their own, with several first choice players extremely doubtful, and may also consider their clash with Monaco on Tuesday – a day before Bayern host Real Madrid – as more important at this stage. Injuries have been one of the reasons for their inconsistency this term but while their defence has been leaky it hasn’t stopped them scoring and both teams have netted in 10 of their last 11 away matches. Here they look set to miss Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus (all definitely out) and most likely Julian Weigl, Shinji Kagawa and Lukasz Piszczek, while Marc Bartra and Marcel Schmelzer are also questionable.

Bayern have been as formidable at home as ever this season, particularly as the campaign has progressed. Since 2011/12 they’ve faced seven home matches following a defeat and before the league was officially won and they won six of those with five wins by more than one goal. At 1.67 they definitely look value to get back to winning ways but we think Dortmund can get on the scoresheet and prefer the 3.15 for Bayern to win with both teams scoring.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Saturday 15:15

A two point lead coupled with a game in hand mean that Real Madrid already have one hand on a first La Liga title since 2012. A win here and they can effectively settle the matter in the Clasico in a fortnight. Winning the derby is hardly a foregone conclusion though these days as Diego Simeone’s side have been a thorn in Real’s side in recent years. Real won the reverse fixture 3-0 earlier this season but that snapped a six game winless streak during which they’d been beaten four times.

With this game in mind Cristiano Ronaldo – who is one booking away from a suspension – sat out the midweek trip to Leganes as Alvaro Morata banged in a hat-trick. CR7 was one of several players given the night off as Bale, Kroos, Benzema, Carvajal and Modric were all either benched or rested completely, so they should be fresh for this one with Rafael Varane the only absentee. They are unbeaten for 20 games at the Bernabeu with 17 wins and have scored at least twice in each of their last 11 matches here. However, Las Palmas did expose their defence last month as they almost ended that unbeaten streak in a 3-3 draw and in their last eight matches, home or away, they’ve kept just one clean sheet and conceded 12 times in total.

Atletico’s form is also very good as they’ve moved up the table to occupy their customary position as best of the rest behind the Big Two. They’ve won their last five matches and their only defeat in the last 15 came against Barca. They’ve not matched their impressive record away to fellow top-six finishers from the previous three seasons (W8-D3-L4) so far this campaign as they’ve drawn two and lost two away to current top-six sides but most of those matches were earlier in the season and their form has improved significantly since. It’s now more reminiscent of previous years, and in those 15 trips to top-six sides they conceded more than once on just three occasions as nine of the matches had fewer than three goals.

Just looking at Atletico’s record against the Big Two and the current prices for Over 2.5 Goals of about 1.8 look right as eight of their 15 matches since 2013/14 have seen at least three goals while the 1-1 draw and 2-1 defeat have been their most common scores (three apiece). In contrast Real Madrid have a very strong ‘overs’ record as 12 of their 15 home matches against top-six finishers have had at least three goals with nine having at least four. They’ve only hosted two of the current top six this term, recording a 2-1 win against Athletic and a 1-1 with Villarreal, but their scoring form combined with their recent defensive weaknesses would push us towards Over 2.5. Further leaning us in this direction is that Atletico are averaging more goals per game this season compared to either of the last two campaigns and with Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann they have a pair of players who can cause Real all sorts of problems on the counter.

If there are to be goals though we think they’ll come in the second half. Atleti have drawn the first half in 14 of their last 21 away matches as well as in half their last eight games against the Big Two. The half-time draw is a tempting 2.3 and given their improving form and record of causing Real problems we think Atleti look value in the final result. We’re backing them at 2.1 on the Double Chance.

Weekend Team News Analysis

Spurs v Watford
Miguel Britos (CB), Watford

Britos is suspended and has missed 21 games since the start of last season. 10 of the last 15 of those absences have ended in defeat and they’ve conceded at least twice in seven of the last eight he’s missed (only Burnley failed to score at least twice) as six of those matches had at least four goals. Harry Kane is set to return for Spurs and we expect Spurs to score at least three times - a 2.05 shot.

Stoke v Liverpool
Sadio Mane (RW) and Adam Lallana (AM), Liverpool

Shaqiri is set to be fit for Stoke for the first time since January but Liverpool are without two of their key attackers. They are winless in the five matches Mane has failed to start this season while scoring just six times. They’ve also won just three of the 12 away matches Lallana has failed to start since the beginning of last season (and those were against relegated Aston Villa and Norwich and at Bournemouth). Furthermore, their record in the last nine away matches Jordan Henderson has failed to start is a terrible W1-D3-L5. Stoke won this fixture 6-1 a couple of years ago - we only need a win to land a 4.2 shot.

Hamburg v Hoffenheim
Nicolai Muller (RW), Hamburg

Hamburg have failed to score in half their last 10 matches without Muller, including a 3-0 defeat at Dortmund in midweek. With Albin Ekdal, Johan Djourou, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Gideon Jung all picking up knocks in the last week they are looking rather stretched. Hoffenheim won to nil against Bayern in midweek and we fancy a repeat here at 4.2.

Put our three selections above into a treble and you can get a juicy 32/1!!

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