Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts and favourite fancies from across the continent with Rome and the Revierderby taking centre-stage this weekend.
Dortmund To Dismantle Ailing Schalke
There was a familiar feeling about Borussia Dortmund’s sloppy Champions League loss at Lazio in midweek. The Germans had been well-backed pre-match but failed to hit their usual high standards, incurring a barrage of criticism back home.
Head coach Lucien Favre is again under the spotlight and BVB are in need of a response.
Fortunately for Dortmund, they’ve been given the opportunity to silence the doubters in the best possible way this weekend – a Revierderby contest against bitter rivals Schalke at their Westfalenstadion base, with their neighbours arriving in the worst possible condition.
We saw Die Schwarzgelben destroy Schalke 4-0 here immediately after lockdown and a similar scenario is entirely possible again on Saturday. BVB’s makeshift midweek backline will be strengthened here with Manuel Akanji and Emre Can available again, whilst in attack Favre can call upon the formidable Erling Haaland, Jaydon Sancho and Marco Reus.
Gio Reyna, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard are options for the hosts, who should be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a Schalke side that’s winless in a club-record 20-game spell, shipping 53 goals in that sequence since mid-January. Die Konigsblauen have failed to keep their sheets clean in 16 matches and are missing key personal on Saturday.
Midfield enforcer Weston McKennie departed in the summer and Manuel Baum is also unable to call upon the club’s best defender Ozan Kabab, creative hubs Suat Serdar and Mark Uth, plus first-choice goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann.
S04 are in a worrying state on and off the field and look incapable of keeping with Dortmund in this derby date.
BVB made money from a -1.75 Asian Handicap in 10 of their past 13 home Bundesliga victories, whilst Schalke have been routinely thrashed by Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Dortmund, losing their last five such fixtures by an aggregate 26-0 since January, suggesting the hosts will prove too strong and the proposed handicap entirely beatable.
Lazio Too Good To Ignore At Home
Serie A results haven’t been great for Lazio in the embryonic Serie A season but the Romans haven’t been quite as bad as the league table suggests (W1-D1-L2). The Biancocelesti are actually sat inside the top-seven in the early xG ratings, conceding goals at an abnormal rate compared against actual chances given away.
That suggests Simone Inzaghi’s outfit have been a touch unfortunate but we saw Lazio at their best in midweek when dispatching Dortmund 3-1 at fortress Stadio Olimpico.
Crucially, the Biancocelesti have been at almost full-strength since Saturday with Ciro Immobile back from suspension to lead the line and his availability in attack is a game-changer.
Lazio have long been strong operators at the Olimpico – losing just twice at home in Serie A last season (under acceptable circumstances) and taking top honours in 14 of 21 tussles since the start of last season. So it’s surprising to see the Romans available at kind 1.75 quotes to pick up maximum points when welcoming Bologna to the capital this weekend.
Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic was desperately disappointed to see his team chuck away a 3-1 lead against Sassuolo last weekend, to lose 4-3. And the Rossoblu’s ongoing defensive issues appear no closer to being curbed – the visitors have now failed to shutout any of their past 37 opponents in Serie A, and that has to be a worry when heading into this showdown.
Away form hasn’t been Bologna’s best for quite some time – Mihajlovic’s men have already been beaten by Benevento and Milan on their travels this term, and going back to the beginning of 2019/20, the Rossoblu have suffered 11 (52%) defeats in 21 games as guests. That includes a 2-0 reverse at Lazio in February where the hosts were closer to 1.50 shots.
Of course, that aforementioned contest came before lockdown but curiously Serie A has seen a reasonable upswing in home-field advantage since restrictions on supporters were put in place – last term home wins increased from 40% to 44% before and after lockdown, and after four matchdays in 2020/21, home wins are sitting at a handsome 47%.
- Borussia Dortmund -1.75 – 3 units @ 1.80
- Lazio to win – 2 units @ 1.75