IF Capital One Cup football isn’t your cup of tea, spread your wings to Europe with a full midweek programme to enjoy from the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1. Here Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) inspects Tuesday’s continental coupon…
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz | 19.00
For only the second time in their Bundesliga history Mainz have started a season without a defeat in their first four fixtures. Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Dortmund propelled the team to second in the table and the O-Fives will be keen on extending an unhappy spell of form for Frankfurt.
The hosts have picked up just one victory in their last nine league outings (D3 L5) following their 2-2 draw at Schalke on Saturday but with the visitors winning just once in their last 10 visits to Germany’s financial district, goals look a safer option this evening.
Five of the last six at the Commerzbank-Arena have seen Under 2.5 Goals but go further back and 10/20 Eintracht home matches have seen three goals or more. And that ties in nicely with Mainz’s record on the road – six of their last seven away games have featured Over 2.5 Goals with 11/18 on the road seeing four goals or more.
Ladbrokes offer an appetising 10/11 on Over 2.5 Goals with Bet365 the best bet for Both Teams To Score at 8/11 if you prefer something shorter. Both teams have scored at least once in three of their four Bundesliga outings so far this season.
Hoffenheim v Freiburg + Werder Bremen v Schalke | Both 19.00
Hoffenheim were last season’s go-to team for goals. Markus Gisdol's side were involved in a whopping 22/34 Bundesliga matches that saw Over 3.5 Goals bank but the defensive deficiencies that saw TSG leak over 70 goals appear to have been addressed.
The hosts have leaked just twice and came away with a richly-deserved derby victory at Stuttgart on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten record. Hoffe return home tonight and have avoided defeat in their last six at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
Freiburg visit and Christian Streich’s men hold a rotten record on the road. SC are pointless away in 2014-15 and last season collected just two points on their travels to sides in 10th and above. Throw in the fact they leaked at least two goals in nine of those 10 matches and you can see why Hoffenheim to score Over 1.5 Goals is 8/13 (William Hill).
But throw that Hoffe price into a double with Both Teams To Score (8/15 William Hill) in Werder Bremen’s clash with Schalke and you’ll get 6/4 from William Hill. Neither Bremen nor Schalke have secured a league victory this season but both clubs have seen Both Teams Score bank in all four of their Bundesliga games.
The Royal Blues are missing a whole host of names including mercurial midfield talent Julian Draxler, a catalogue of defensive players and have made one of their worst starts to a season in 46 years. And whilst it’s tempting to oppose the visitors, it’s worth noting Bremen have taken just two points from a possible 24 in their last eight meetings.
Real Madrid v Elche | 19.00 | Sky Sports 5
Crisis? What crisis? Real Madrid bounced back from successive league defeats to hit 13 goals in their following two fixtures, demolishing Deportivo 8-2 at the weekend. That was the first time Los Blancos had scored eight goals in a La Liga game on their travels and Carlo Ancelotti’s team are unlikely to take it easy tonight.
Elche have been poor by all accounts. A fortunate win at Rayo the highlight of Los Ilicitanos’ season so far and Friday’s dour 0-2 defeat to Eibar is of big concern for head coach Fran Escriba.
With Real failing to keep a clean sheet in four games (conceded nine goals in that time) the ‘Win To Nil’ is being ruled out, despite Elche’s woeful scoring record. Instead, look at backing Over 1.5 First-Half Goals at 4/5 with Bet365 – it’s proved a winning formula in the past four Real Madrid matches.
Empoli v AC Milan | 19.45 | BT Sport 1
AC Milan’s bright start under Filippo Inzaghi was ended by Juventus on Saturday night in the Derby d’Italia and the rejuvenated Rossoneri side will be keen to bounce back at newly-promoted Empoli tonight.
Milan have won six of their last 10 away games at promoted sides and won by a margin of two or more goals in five of their last nine trips. But rather than invest in a straight away win (10/11 Coral), it may pay to look at the goals markets.
The Rossoneri’s three Serie A matches have produced 14 goals already and they’ve bagged just one clean sheet in their past seven road trips in the league and none from three 2014-15 games. Opponents Empoli are winless in three (conceding five) and Over 2.5 Goals looks a touch overpriced at 23/20 with Coral.