IT’S been a fruitful start to the Euro 2016 qualifiers for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire). Here he runs the rule over Saturday’s crucial continental fixtures…
Albania v Denmark | 19.45 | Sky Sports Interactive
Bekim Balaj volleyed a sensational winner to give Albania the perfect start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in Portugal last month. And now the Eagles will have a great chance to stamp their authority on Group I when Denmark visit Tirana.
The Danes were sluggish as they struggled to see off an under-strength Armenian side 2-1 in Copenhagen last month and look overrated at a best of 5/4 with BetVictor, despite boasting a solid record of eight wins from their past 14 away qualifying games. Instead, taking a punt on Both Teams To Score at the Elbasan Arena holds most appeal at 11/10 with Bet365.
Morten Olsen’s men have scored in 20 of their last 22 away qualifiers dating back to 2005 and can call upon the likes of Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schöne, Pierre Højbjerg and even Nicklas Bendtner who’s netted 24 times for the Red & White. The Both Teams To Score bet has been a regular winner in Denmark’s away qualifying fixtures with 7/10 now featuring goals at both ends and that figure tallies up nicely alongside Albania’s trends.
On first glance punters will see none of the hosts’ last seven outings have produced a BTTS winner but look closer and you’ll see the Eagles have scored in all bar one competitive game since 2009 in Tirana. That’s led to 9/12 meaningful matches in front of their home fans seeing Both Teams To Score bank – only Luxembourg, Belarus and Slovenia failing to net in that time.
Gianni De Biasi’s charges are a progressive side and, like most nations, raise their level at home. Albania haven’t lost by two clear goals at the Elbasan Arena since 2007 and in the past five years only Switzerland, France and Iceland have won a competitive game in the capital.
Poland v Germany | 19.45 | ITV 4
Saturday night’s highlight is without doubt Poland’s tussle with world champions Germany in Group D from Warsaw. The arch-rivals have been pitted together in arguably the toughest qualifying pool but it’s Joachim Low’s side who should prove too good for their hosts.
Die Nationalmannschaft were not at their fluent best to beat Scotland on home soil but are likely to raise their game for the trip to the Polish capital. Qualifying victories are routine for the Germans and doing it in style is also high on the agenda – 16 of their last 21 qualifying matches have seen Low’s charges win by a margin of two goals or more.
With that in mind, BetVictor’s incredibly generous offering of 13/14 on Germany -1 in the Asian Handicap market has huge appeal. Backing this bet will put you in profit should Germany win by two goals or more and see your stake returned should the visitors only win by a solitary goal in Warsaw.
Bundesliga star Robert Lewandowski will lead the home attack but Poland must do without midfield mystro Jakub Błaszczykowski as they go in search of a first ever win over their neighbours – a run that stretches back 18 games.
Adam Nawałka’s side have only managed one goal in their last six showdowns with Germany and the World Cup winners are unbeaten in away qualifiers since 2000. It looks a tall order for the White Eagles.
Albania v Denmark – Both Teams To Score (11/10 Bet365)
Poland v Germany – Germany -1 Asian Handicap (13/14 BetVictor)