OUR European football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) was desperate not to miss out on two top-notch punts from Friday’s continental card.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach | Friday 19.30 | BT Sport 1
It’s rare I’d look to oppose Eintracht on home soil but Friday night looks the perfect opportunity to go against the Eagles. Frankfurt are unbeaten in eight (W5-D3-L0) at the Commerzbank-Arena, their best home run since 2000, but the hosts are without a number of key players for the visit of Gladbach.
First choice centre-halves Carlos Zambrano and Marco Russ are joined on the sidelines by Bundesliga top goalscorer Alexander Meier and Marc Stendera. Meier, who has 19 goals to his name this season, is likely to miss the rest of the season and without him, Frankfurt have lost five of their last 11 home matches since the start of last season.
Eintracht already boast the league’s worst defence so the loss of Zambrano and Russ could further expose the back four. And although their recent home return looks good on paper, it's worth noting that Thomas Schaaf's team have lost four of their last seven despite facing just one side in the top 10!
The Eagles have been one of the best teams to follow this season with matches involving Eintracht producing a huge 108 goals; that’s an average of 3.9 goals-per-game. But they’re likely to be found out by bang in-form Borussia; since the start of last season Frankfurt have suffered defeats in 6/10 when hosting top-six teams and I won't pass up the opportunity to back the away side at even-money with Coral.
Gladbach are unbeaten in eight (W6-D2-L0) and top the table based on results from this calendar year. In fact, only in 1974 have the visitors racked up as many as their 26-point total from their first 11 games in the second half of the season.
Lucien Favre’s side shredded Dortmund 3-1 on home soil last weekend and head south with the second-best defence in the German top-flight. Christoph Kramer returns from suspension, Patrick Herrmann’s in the form of his life and with a Champions League qualification place in sight, I just don’t expect the Foals to falter against a Frankfurt side robbed of key contributors.
Levante v Espanyol | Friday 19.45
Levante’s meeting with Espanyol should go against the grain with goals expected at the Ciutat de València stadium. BetVictor have made Over 2 Goals a 7/8 chance and that looks well worth investing in.
With this selection, if only two goals are scored in the game, we’ll get our cash back. But should three or more goals be plundered in Friday night’s battle, we’ll bag a winning pay-out.
Successive losses have dragged Lucas Alcaraz’s hosts back into the relegation mire but Les Granotes have shown a real willingness to attack in recent weeks. Eight of Levante’s last 10 have broken the two-goal barrier as well as 8/15 (53%) of home La Liga games this season.
Espanyol are unbeaten in five with the Catalan club arriving off back-to-back victories. Sergio González’s men have scored in 24/31 fixtures this term and on the road 9/15 (60%) of matches have produced three goals or more, giving us a 57% chance of a repeat on Friday.
Taking the Over 2 Goals route gives us protection against a two-goal game. Both teams boast excellent records of returning at least two goals in their corresponding home/away fixtures; Levante have beaten the Over 1.5 Goals mark in 13/15 (87%) with Espanyol recording 12/15 (80%) of away games featuring two goals or more.
The trends of both teams suggest we should get our cash returned at worst with BetVictor’s 7/8 offering plenty of value for those chasing a good goals-based bet from Friday night’s fixtures.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach – Borussia Monchengladbach to win (1/1 Coral)
Levante v Espanyol – Over 2 Goals on the Asian Goals line (7/8 BetVictor)
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