EUROPEAN football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his verdict on the best bets from Wednesday’s televised continental action in Spain and Germany.
Barcelona v Sevilla | Wednesday 18:30 | Sky Sports 3
Barcelona remain in touch with Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table after a hard-earned 3-1 win at relegation-haunted Granada on Sunday.
The Catalans haven’t completely clicked in their new 3-4-3 system and have now failed to keep their sheets clean in each of their last four fixtures. However, the return from suspension of Lionel Messi should bolster the Blaugrana who saw Neymar notch his 100th goal for the club at the weekend.
The hosts have racked up seven successive La Liga wins at the Camp Nou and have notched at least four goals on five occasions. Indeed, Barca have scored 25 goals in just six home La Liga games this calendar year.
For Sevilla, an unlikely title challenge has petered out following an alarming drop-off in form and results since their shock Champions League exit to Leicester.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side are without a win in four league outings (W0-D3-L1) and were held to a deeply frustrating draw at home to Sporting Gijon last time out. The Andalusians have dropped to fourth and appeared all out of gas as we head into the final furlong.
Sevilla have lost each of their last nine visits to either Real Madrid or Barcelona with seven of those defeats seeing Los Rojiblancos trailing at half-time. Nevertheless, the visitors have managed to score in seven of those nine reverses and despite their recent downturn, Sampaoli’s side can grab a goal here.
The Andalusians have netted in all four league games against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid this season and should be capable of playing their part in a traditionally high-scoring encounter.
Eleven of the past 13 meetings have produced three goals or more and with 14/29 (48%) of the two clubs’ respective home/away league fixtures this season featuring Over 3.5 Goals, another goal-filled game is expected. Barcelona to win and Both Teams To Score (11/10 William Hill) appeals.
Sevilla arrive without centre-halves Adil Rami and Gabriel Mercado and have managed a sole success against the Catalans in 18 meetings whilst the BTTS angle has paid out in the last nine La Liga renewals.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hertha Berlin | Wednesday 19:00 | BT Sport
Borussia Monchengladbach’s resurgence under Dieter Hecking has hit the buffers in recent weeks with the Foals only good enough to clinch a solitary point from a possible nine (W0-D1-L2) in Bundesliga action.
Gladbach have managed just two efforts on-target across their defeat to Bayern Munich (0-1) at home and their 0-0 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt away recently and Hecking may take the opportunity to refresh his forwardline here.
The Foals will need to replace suspended Tobias Strobl in central midfield whilst Tony Jantschke is struggling to be fit but the hosts still boast enough tools in their armoury to take down a Hertha Berlin outfit that tends to struggle outside of the capital.
Only two of Hertha’s 12 Bundesliga triumphs have arrived on their travels and the visitors arrive having suffered three league losses in four. On the road, the Berlin boys have been beaten in each of their last six.
Pal Dardai’s men have shipped at least two goals in six of their most recent seven games as guests and are missing suspended left-back Maximilian Mittelstädt as well as striker and skipper Vedad Ibisevic here.
Since the start of last season, Hertha have fallen to 17/30 (57%) away league defeats, firing blanks on 12 (40%) occasions. With Gladbach collecting maximum points in 19/30 (63%) Borussia-Park outings across the same sample, scoring at least twice in 17 (57%) matches, the home win appeals.
Gladbach can be backed at 17/20 with William Hill – odds that imply just 54% chance of success.
Leganes v Real Madrid | Wednesday 20:30 | Sky Sports 3
I’ve said many times this season that Real Madrid have failed to really fit the mould as convincing and dominant La Liga champions.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos continue to grind out positive results and it was a similar story on Sunday when Zinedine Zidane’s men were far from vintage in their 3-0 triumph over Alaves at the Bernebeu.
The European champions toiled for large swathes of that encounter and could even have slipped up had both Deyverson and Edgar not wasted great chances to equalise before two goals in three minutes late on sealed the points.
Real remain on course for their first league title since 2012 but they’ll need to improve if they’re to avoid a potential banana-skin on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday night.
Los Blancos now boast a four-match winning streak and can welcome back Casemiro from suspension here. However, Raphael Varane is crocked once more as Zidane’s charges bid to enhance their W9-D2-L2 record on the road.
Leganes are in the midst of their best run of form all season as they’ve picked up nine points from their last six games (W2-D3-L1) to move five points clear of the relegation zone.
Los Pepineros picked up a well-deserved 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad last time out and Asier Garitano’s group have focussed on keepings things tight since promotion to the top-flight.
Nine of Leganes’ last 10 at their Estadio Municipal de Butarque base have featured no more than two goals, as have 13 of their past 16 outings home or away – and the hosts have kept three consecutive clean sheets at Butarque and seven from 14 home fixtures all season.
Garitano’s expected to go with a five-man defence here, well aware his team’s naivety cost them in their three previous games against the division’s top-two teams. And knowing how hard Madrid had to work for 2-1 wins at Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao lately, a cushy away romp appears unlikely.
Few teams can match the firepower of Real Madrid and the table-toppers should prove their credentials by clinching victory but I’m not convinced this will be a walkover win.
Madrid were fortunate to record only a third clean sheet in 17 games on Sunday and with eight of their last 11 triumphs arriving alongside Both Teams To Score, backing an away win and BTTS holds plenty of appeal at 2/1 quotes, as does Real to succeed in a match involving Under 4.5 Goals at 8/11 (Betfair).
Barcelona v Sevilla – Barcelona to win and Both Teams To Score (11/10 William Hill)
Borussia Monchengladbach v Hertha Berlin – Borussia Monchengladbach to win (17/20 William Hill)
Leganes v Real Madrid – Real Madrid to win 2-1 (8/1 BetVictor)
Leganes v Real Madrid – Real Madrid to win 3-1 (11/1 Paddy Power)