Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend’s European action with Germany and France taking centre-stage!
Red Bulls Backed To Flatten O5ers
RB Leipzig kept their Bundesliga title aspirations alive in midweek as Die Rotten Bullen became the first team this season to stop surprise package Union Berlin from scoring.
Julien Nagelsmann’s men had been held by Wolfsburg and beaten by Dortmund in their preceding two tussles but showed persistence and composure in their narrow 1-0 win on Wednesday.
Emil Forsberg’s introduction proved decisive for Leipzig, adding the required craft to unlock a stubborn defensive effort from Union. RB had previously found creativity and clear-cut chances hard to come by despite monopolising possession with recalled forward Alexander Sorloth rarely involved and Christopher Nkunku wasting the side’s best opportunity.
Nagelsmann praised his players’ maturity and patience post-match but neutral observers won’t have been bowled over by Leipzig’s offensive efforts.
Die Rotten Bullen supporters will expect an improvement in the final third on Saturday afternoon against struggling Mainz, with RB’s exemplary record taking on the division’s lesser lights well documented.
This term, Leipzig have posted W9-D1-L0 against opposition outside of the top-eight, conceding just three goals.
Five of those victories arrived by a margin of two goals or more and the visitors have yet to visit any of the current bottom-six in the standings.
Under Nagelsmann, Die Rotten Bullen boast a stunning W22-D4-L1 return against the bottom-half.
Mainz have managed a solitary success all season, losing 12 of 17 Bundesliga outings and picked up 2 points from a possible 27 as hosts.
Bo Svensson’s side didn’t manage a single shot on target during their 2-0 home defeat to Wolfsburg in midweek and have been beaten in each of their past 12 tussles when welcoming a top-half team to their Opel Arena base.
The O5ers’ prospects also look a little gloomier following the departure of forward Jean-Philippe Mateta, a forward who has played a key role (scoring or assisting) eight of Mainz’s 15 goals this season, as well as being responsible for 33.5% of the hosts’ non-penalty Expected Goals (xG) output in 2020/21.
With that in mind, taking Leipzig at 1.73 with a -1 Asian Handicap appeals.
Oppose Goals In Le Derby
The 122nd edition of Le Derby takes centre-stage in Ligue 1 on Sunday night as Sainte-Etienne play host to fierce rivals Olympique Lyonnais.
The pre-match prices suggest a mismatch could play out at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with the markets giving the visitors an implied 69% chance of succeeding in the Rhône-Alpes match-up.
Lyon’s title challenge stuttered last week when Les Gones fell to a shock 1-0 reverse at home to Metz.
It was only Rudi Garcia’s group’s second league loss since September and the former dominant force of French football will expect to bounce back to form sooner than later with the visitors putting up a collection of seriously strong performance data figures.
Nevertheless, OL are unlikely to find St Etienne in a charitable mood.
Under-fire Claude Puel has overseen a solitary Ligue 1 victory since September (W1-D7-L9) with Les Verts putting in below-par efforts in both boxes.
However, the hosts have displayed an ability to frustrate against the league’s elite in 2020/21, holding both PSG and Lille here to stalemates.
Contests between these famous faces of French football often tend to be tight and tetchy affairs – Lyon have only tabled two triumphs here by a margin of two goals or more in 14 trips to the Rhône region and we should expect St Etienne to adopt a contain and counter approach in order to protect against Les Gones’ array of attacking weapons.
None of St Etienne’s 10 meetings with top-half teams have featured four or more goals with Puel’s pragmatic outlook in place, whilst just two of the past 20 match-ups between these two have seen Under 3 Goals backers lose out.
With Lyon notching twice or more in only three of 10 away days, I’m happy to oppose the prospect of a high-scoring derby on Sunday.
- RB Leipzig -1.0 – 2 units @ 1.73
- Under 3.00 in St Etienne vs Lyon 2 units @ 1.80