COURTESYFOOTBALL FORM LABS
Dortmund v RB Leipzig - Saturday 17:30, BT Sport 2
Leipzig continue to keep the pressure up on leaders Bayern and such is their gap to the rest of the league that avoiding defeat here will surely guarantee them Champions League football next season. They’ve been getting their fair share of luck, however, as they’ve benefitted from their last two opponents being reduced to 10 men while the scores were still level and there was a long time still to go. They’ve also suffered very few injuries while several other teams have had huge injury problems during the first half of the campaign.
One of those teams was Dortmund and they’d undoubtedly be far better off if they’d been able to select from a full panel each week. Instead they’ve won only four of their last 13 games while being held to seven draws. For a team that doesn’t obviously play for draws that’s a remarkable number but there shouldn’t be any excuses here as they’re close to full strength while Leipzig are the side who are missing a couple of key players with leading assist provider Emil Forsberg serving the final match of his ban and top scorer Timo Wermer also ruled out after struggling with flu this week.
While Dortmund might have had mitigating reasons for their below par results it has led to speculation about key players leaving in the summer and also that the relationship with manager Thomas Tuchel and the club is becoming strained. A win here, therefore, is paramount and they are unbeaten at home since the start of last season – winning 19 of 25 matches.
This is Leipzig’s first away match of 2017 and they were thrashed 3-0 at Bayern before the winter break. They were also beaten at Ingolstadt before that and despite the league positions they are big underdogs for this one, with the absences of Forsberg and Wermer a significant blow to their attack.
We expect Dortmund to be fully motivated for this clash, as they were when beating Bayern here back in November, and to start fast. Their last 11 wins have all been Win/Win doubles and given Leipzig have proven themselves excellent in the second halves of matches – going W12-D4-L2 in the second 45 this season – Dortmund’s best chance looks to be to get on top early. Dortmund/Dortmund can be backed at 2.88. It’s also worth backing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score anytime at 1.95, having found the net in 16 of his 20 home starts since the beginning of last season, including in seven of 10 against top-half sides. We also wouldn’t put anyone off a Dortmund Win to Nil at 3.5 with Leipzig failing to score in both their defeats this season and likely to take a more cautious approach than normal, especially with two key attacking players absent. Dortmund aren’t renowned for keeping clean sheets but no one’s scored more than once here against them this season despite several injury problems, which are no longer an issue.
Juventus v Inter - Sunday 19:45, BT Sport 2
Any chance of Juventus being denied a sixth consecutive Scudetto probably evaporated last weekend as neither Roma nor Napoli could win against struggling opposition. Juventus, meanwhile, were racking up another win and they now lead the league by four points with a game in hand. Given that match is against a Crotone side that are already all but relegated, we can pretty confidently say that Juve are seven points clear of the rest, and there’s surely no catching them from that position.
Another win here and the 1.17 on them winning the title should probably be changed to 1.01 but the rest of the league will at least be cheering on the league’s most in-form side in Inter. Unfortunately, when it comes to Juve in J-Stadium there’s only ever one winner. Udinese won here on the opening weekend last season and they then drew their next two home games but they’ve been perfect since, winning 27 in a row in front of their own fans. Further back, that defeat was their only one in their last 77 league games here.
If that record wasn’t impressive enough then their results against their nearest rivals here is even more remarkable. They won all 25 hosting fellow top-six finishers in the previous five seasons and they’ve obviously won all their matches here this term so that record is currently set to continue, with Inter being the last of the current top seven to visit this season.
Inter, however, are a team transformed since Stefano Pioli replaced Frank de Boer. They’ve won seven in a row in the league while conceding just twice and scoring 15 times. However, Lazio are the only elite team they’ve played in that run and this will be another step up entirely. Nevertheless, they’ve already beaten Juve this season in the San Siro and have lost just two of their last four trips to J-Stadium in the league.
A draw would be a decent result for Juventus but they don’t play for draws – last sharing the spoils 33 games ago. Recently Allegri has looked to be even more attacking as they’ve lined up with all of Pjanic, Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic and Higuain in their last two matches. That included a 2-0 win over Lazio in their last home match so there’s no reason to think he’ll abandon that now. However, with Inter in such good form we think they can score themselves and Over 2.5 Goals at 1.83 and Both Teams to Score at the same price both appeal. All five of Inter’s trips this season to the current top-half have had at least three goals. We also don’t expect this to be an easy win for the home side and much prefer the Winning Margin – Juventus to win by 1 Goal – at 3.5 to them covering the handicap. Since 2014/15, four of their six home wins against teams that finished second or third, or are in those positions this term, were by just a single goal margin, and Inter’s form certainly warrants that level of respect. That brings the 2-1 correct score into play at 9.0.
Weekend Team News Analysis
Atletico Madrid v Leganes
Gabriel Appelt Pires (AM) and David Timor (CM), Leganes
Gabriel has missed only two games this season and both have ended in defeat as Leganes could score just once in clashes against Betis and Valencia. Timor has missed five matches and Leganes have earned only one point without him as they’ve scored only once.
Atletico have won six of their nine home games this term and 21 of 28 at the Vicente Calderon since the start of last season. They’ve won all nine of their home games against bottom-six opposition in that period, conceding only one goal in these, whilst they haven’t conceded in their last three at the Calderon against all opposition.
Leganes won three of their opening four road games, but have picked up only two points from their subsequent six away matches, failing to score in four of these. They’ve only travelled to Real Madrid of the current top-six, losing 3-0, and we expect something similar here.We're backing Atleti to cover the -1 handicap at 1.95.
Valencia v Eibar
Munir el Haddadi (RW), Nani (LW), Dani Parejo (CM) and Rodrigo (FW), Valencia
Valencia have problems in attack due to suspensions and injuries. They’ve won only one of five matches that Nani has missed this season while they’ve gone from averaging two goals per game in Munir’s seven appearances to just 1.30 gpg in the 10 matches he’s missed since joining the club. However, Parejo is probably their most important player and in the nine games he’s missed since the start of last season the only time the won was at home against Levante last season – who went on to finish last. They’ve lost five of the other eight he’s missed while scoring only four times.
Los Che have won only two of their eight home games to date with the defence a continual problem for them as they’ve shut out their opponents in only one of their last 22 at the Mestalla. Eibar, meanwhile, have lost just two of their last six on the road, managing a draw at the Bernabeu in that time. They’ve also drawn at Espanyol in that stretch and while they don’t win a lot on their travels, we think they can pick up a point here at 3.75.
Milan v Sampdoria
Giacomo Bonaventura (CM), Milan
Bonaventura has missed only 10 games since the start of last season but this campaign may be over for him. While most of those matches were against modest opposition they’ve won only three times without him and have conceded 25% more goals per game than with him.
However, while Sampdoria have managed impressive home wins over the likes of Roma, Inter and Atalanta, they’ve struggled on their travels as they haven’t won away since the opening day of the season. They’ve lost all four of their trips to top-six sides to date, but three of those defeats were by just a single goal while the other was at Juve, the only one of these four that they trailed at the break in. With that in mind, we’re backing Draw/Milan HT/FT at 4.75, as has been the case in their last five home wins.
Fancy the three bets above? It's a 32/1 treble that they all come in!
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