WE asked Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) to source the best bets from Wednesday night’s Champions League action not involving English sides. Here’s what we came up with…
Gent v Lyon | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Gent claimed their first ever league title in 115 years of trying last May and now the Buffalos will be hoping to trample all over Lyon’s Champions League chances on Wednesday night.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s hosts have made an unbeaten defence to their domestic crown but five draws in seven matches have slowed progress. However, Gent’s eyes have been on this game for some time now and with only one loss in 16 games, as well as Belgian Super Cup already secured in 2015/16, the Belgian outfit look a handy bet to avoid defeat.
888 have chalked up the Buffalos as a 5/7 chance in the Double Chance market and that appeals. Erik Johansson, their only player with Champions League experience is absent, as is fellow defender Uroš Vitas but Vanhaezebrouck’s has hinted he’ll resort to their more dynamic 4-3-3 formation for this encounter.
Therefore the onus will be on flying Nigerian winger Moses Simon and head marksman Laurent Depoitre to provide the attacking goods. The latter has scored four of Gent’s seven league goals this season with the former valued at £14.7m by his club this summer.
We’ve little form and trends to go on here but I do feel Lyon are overpriced and worth opposing at the quotes. Les Gones were magical in their journey to silver in Ligue 1 last season but things have turned sour since May. Top goal-getter Alexandre Lacazette was subject to on-going transfer speculation throughout the off-season and has made a below-par start to his season.
A back injury has hampered Lacazette’s exploits but Lyon fans were quick to boo their star performer before the international break and the French international looked bereft of confidence and service in Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Lille. And Hubert Fournier’s charges were hit for six last week when news emerged that playmaking genius Nabil Fekir will be out of action for six months.
Fekir is the heartbeat to Les Gones’ attack and arguably their most important player. He hit a superb hat-trick at Caen just days before suffering the blow making his French debut and although Claudio Beauvue is an able deputee, Fekir’s absence has curbed ambitions and dampened morale.
Gueida Fofana is also sidelined on Wednesday, Clement Grenier is a doubt and new signing Sergi Darder short on match fitness. The squad is packed full of academy talent but things clearly aren’t clicking in 2015/16 and question marks remain over their ability to compete on two fronts this term. I’ll oppose them.
Olympiakos v Bayern Munich | Wednesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Don’t you just love Olympiakos? The red and white colours, the wonderful mosaics the fans parade pre-kick-off, their consistency in winning the Greek Super League and umm… the owner who’s up on match-fixing allegations? Yeah, that’s not a very convincing argument, is it?
But I do love Olympiakos – from a punting perspective. The Legend, as their known, have bagged 13 domestic titles this millennium and are always a pretty safe bet when competing in the Champions League. The Greeks are excellent at home, dreadful away, good for goals and rarely draw matches.
Seriously, since 2008/09 Olympiakos have played 30 matches in Europe and had just one draw (W14-D1-L14). But then have a peek at their home record – they’ve W12-D0-L4. It looks even better when viewing their last 15 Champions League group games in Greece – they’ve won 12 of them, defeated Arsenal three times and even gotten the better of Juventus and Atletico Madrid last term. Phwoar. Now do you love Olympiakos?
Esteban Cambiasso and Brown Ideye have joined the ranks as they look to squeeze out of Group F and under new head coach and former Sporting boss Marco Silva’s men they’ve begun the defence of their Super League triumph with three wins from three, two of which came ‘to nil’.
But this is big boy football and this is Bayern Munich. I hinted at their lack of clean sheets in the second paragraph and there’s no getting away from the fact The Legend have kept only two in 12 Champions League duels since 2011/12 at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium with Both Teams To Score banking on nine occasions. Immediately I’m interested.
Taking on Bayern Munich is one of the toughest tests in continental competition but with such an outstanding record on home soil, I’m eager to find a bet that keeps Olympiakos onside. The BTTS selection is 11/10 with Boylesports and that’s handsome enough to dine out on.
Bayern have only failed to net in one of their past 32 Champions League group games with five of their last seven away featuring Both Teams To Score winners. Arjen Robben remains injured along with Franck Ribery, Jan Kirchhoff, Mehdi Benatia, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber leaving Pep Guardiola without a huge amount of options.
The Bavarians have been far from their ruthless selves in their early Bundesliga games and were extremely fortunate to pocket maximum points at home to Augsburg on Saturday. There’s also huge pressure on Pep’s shoulders to deliver the Champions League crown following two failed campaigns that were ended at the semi-final stage.
FC Hollywood have reached the Champions League final three times in the last six seasons and the two-time winning Catalan coach knows he must silence his doubters with a strong display. The continental heavyweights should dominate possession but there’s more than enough doubt in defence to believe the Greeks can ruffle a few feathers.
Gent v Lyon – Gent double chance (5/7 888)
Olympiakos v Bayern Munich – Both Teams To Score (11/10 Boylesports)
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