SERIE A and the DFB Pokal have caught Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) attention on Wednesday night with two away sides featuring prominently.
Parma v Udinese | Wednesday 17.30
I’m sure you’ve all read and heard about Parma’s plight so there’s no need to go over old ground. The 1997 Italian champions have endured a remarkably rough season and players haven’t been paid since last July. The Crociati may not even be able to complete their Serie A season.
My heart goes out to the loyal Gialloblu supporters but ultimately you can have little sympathy for a club that’s been so poorly run. For the time being though, Roberto Donadoni’s team will be looking to build on their weekend draw at the San Siro when holding Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw. Despite the problems surrounding the club, it was Parma’s third draw in five league outings.
This Parma side might be going down fighting but even still, you can’t really ignore the chance to back their opponents at 5/4 (BetVictor). Inter were abominable in that stalemate but I don’t expect Udinese to treat this fixture with such disdain. Andrea Stramaccioni’s men aren’t yet clear of relegation concerns and should be highlighting this match as a potential three-pointer in their quest to secure safety.
The Zebrette have won just three games on the road this term but arrive at Stadio Tardini on the back of three consecutive draws against Genoa, Fiorentina and Atalanta. The club from Udine boast a W2-D4-L1 in away games against clubs in ninth and below and should also be able to call upon veteran marksman Antonio Di Natale from the off.
Parma will be buoyed by their result at the weekend but the hard facts still override that result. The Gialloblu are 13 points adrift of safety, have won once since 1st November, have failed to score in five of their last seven as hosts, have lost 20/27 (74%) of Serie A matches in 2014/15 and been beaten in 10/14 (71%) of their home league games. I won’t miss out on BetVictor’s 5/4.
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich | Wednesday 19.30 | ESPN
In a similar sense to the Udinese bet above (not wanting to miss out on an attractive price), it’s rare we get the chance to back Bayern Munich at close to even-money in a domestic fixture.
I wrongly opposed the German giants in Der Klassiker against Dortmund on Saturday but they rode a fairly weak storm to deservedly bag another three points. With a second successive domestic double up for grabs, I’d expect another resilient and professional performance from Pep Guardiola’s charges at the BayArena.
Leverkusen rested a number of key players in their 4-0 mauling of lowly Hamburg at the weekend. Heung-Min Son, Hakan Calhanoglu and Emir Spahic should all be recalled as Bayer look to enhance their excellent recent run of six domestic wins on the spin. But Roger Schmidt’s men benefitted from playing four of the bottom five in the Bundesliga during that spell and have lost all three clashes with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg in league action this season.
Sure, Die Werkself have lost just twice on home soil all season and although the continued absence of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and David Alaba will hurt the visitors, you just can’t ignore the scary trends that follow FC Hollywood as they search for an 18th DFB Pokal title.
The Bavarian giants have won 17 of their last 20 domestic matches and have come out on top in 10 of their previous 11 away games. Bayern have been victories in 14 of their past 15 DFB Pokal ties as well as beating Bayer in three of the last four head-to-heads. So I’ll happily snap up 888 Sport’s 19/20 on the away win.
Parma v Udinese – Udinese to win (5/4 BetVictor)
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich – Bayern Munich to win (19/20 888 Sport)
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