Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts and favourite fancies from across the continent with the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 taking centre-stage this weekend.
Bulls Backed To Batter Schalke
Schalke dismissed David Wagner last Sunday after suffering another chastening defeat. Die Konigsblauen were destroyed 8-0 by Bayern Munich on the opening night of the new Bundesliga campaign, before Werder Bremen walked away with a comfortable 3-1 success at the Veltins Arena, a result too far for the struggling former Huddersfield head coach.
A solitary league success in 2020 – the last of which came 18 games ago in January – tells its own story and the Schalke players appeared to have downed tools quite some time ago, producing uninspired displays that verged on insubordination.
Mark Uth appealing for offside despite being the man keeping Bremen goalscorer Niclas Fullkrug onside was perhaps the epitome of where Die Konigsblauen are right now.
Key defender Ozan Kabak was also in the headlines, receiving a hefty ban for attempting to spit on one of the opposing players as the Gelsenkirchen group disintegrated yet again.
Former Augsburg chief Manuel Baum has taken on the poisoned chalice and looks set for a baptism of fire when taking Schalke to Leipzig on Sunday. Baum spoke of the potential he saw in the squad on his appointment yet amusingly predicted a 15th-place finish when asked for his pre-season 1-18 rankings on Sky Germany’s season preview show a fortnight ago.
Schalke lost six of nine trips to the top-half last term, were mauled 5-0 by Leipzig at the Veltins Arena in the duos most recent meeting and have managed a pathetic tally of 10 goals in 19 Bundesliga outings this calendar year.
It’s difficult to see how Die Konigsblauen come away from the Red Bull Arena with anything other than a heavy defeat.
Leipzig have earned four points against Mainz (3-1) and Leverkusen (1-1) and the Saxony upstarts have options aplenty with highly-rated head coach Julian Nagelsmann saying this week that there were “more than just 11 players who deserved to start”. Emil Forsberg’s return to form has been welcome, whilst new signing Alexander Sorloth could feature.
Die Roten Bullen posted W12-D3-L1 against bottom-half clubs in Nagelsmann’s first campaign at the club – 10 of those triumphs were achieved by a margin of two goals or more and a resounding success is the likeliest scenario again on Sunday.
With that in mind, the 1.74 offering on Die Roten Bullen -1.5 on the Asian Handicap has to appeal again.
Crocodiles To Come Unstuck In Montpellier
Montpellier are amongst Ligue 1’s front-runners after five rounds of fixtures and there’s no reason why La Paillade can’t consolidate their position at the top end of the table with victory over Nimes at the Stade de la Mosson this weekend.
Head coach Michel Der Zakarian might not win prizes for aesthetics, but the Armenian-born boss certainly knows how to set-up an effective side in France. Taking on the role at Montpellier after the club had narrowly escaped relegation from Ligue 1 in the 2016-17 season, the former centre-half has revived and regenerated the Occitanie outfit.
Playing on the counter-attack with three centre-backs, La Paillade have finished in the top half of the table in all three of their seasons under Der Zakarian. But this campaign promises to be his best with the club’s Stade de la Mosson efforts particularly noteworthy; Nice (3-1), Lyon (2-1) and Angers (4-1) have already been dispatched here in 2020/21 with Nimes next.
Der Zakarian’s style, whilst still lacking panache, has evolved.
Built upon firm foundations, Montpellier now offer more in attack; wing-backs Arnaud Souquet and Mihailo Ristic keep physical forwards Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde fed, whilst the continued development of Teji Savanier in the playmaking role could see a first call-up to the French senior squad.
Montpellier have posted W13-D2-L2 as Ligue 1 hosts since the start of last season and there’s no reason why La Paillade can’t enhance that record here.
Taking the hosts at 1.93 with a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle holds particular appeal.
Nimes have been defeated in 10 of their 16 away days going back to the beginning of 2019/20 with Les Crocodiles losing their bite since Bernard Blaquart’s departure this summer.
- RB Leipzig -1.5 – 2 units @ 1.74
- Montpellier -0.75 -2 units @ 1.93