JULIAN Betts' (@BettsJulian) wonderful ‘Round The World In 80 Leagues' series continues on Friday night as he stops off in Denmark in search of culture and betting value.
Horsens v Aarhus | Friday 19:15
Think Denmark, think Copenhagen. The capital dominates in all aspects of Danish life – politics, economy, population, tourism and football where FC Copenhagen reign supreme domestically and are still in with a chance of qualifying for the knock out stages of the Champions League, sitting 3rd in Leicester’s group with just one game to play.
Capital of culture
If I asked you to name Denmark’s second largest city you may have more pause for thought (or perhaps I’m doing you all a disservice!). To put you out of your misery – Aarhus is the place.
Founded in the early Viking age it is one of the oldest cities in Denmark and has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2017. Fittingly, one of the oldest cities also lays claim to one of the oldest sport clubs, namely Aarhus Gymnastikforeing af 1880 (literally Aarhus Gymnastics Club of 1880).
Record Danish Cup holders
AGF is, however, better known for its football team which was introduced slightly later in 1902. Since their inception they have won the Danish Championship five times and are the record Danish Cup holders having lifted the trophy on nine different occasions.
In 1961 they reached the Quarter Finals of the European Cup and their last big European adventure ended at the same stage of the UEFA Cup in 1989. It’s not a stretch (get it!) to say this is a team with some serious domestic history.
At the other end of the footballing scale come lowly Horsens founded only as recently as 1994. Their sole experience of Europe came to a quiet and uneventful end in the playoff round of the 2012-13 Europa League at the hands of Sporting.
Domestically not much to write home about either, indeed the only reason they participate in Denmark’s top division is due to a restructuring of the league at the end of last season whereby the league was increased from 12 to 14 teams meaning that for one season only the third placed club in Division One secured promotion. No prizes for guessing who the beneficiaries were!
Horsens is much better known for its culture and entertainment events and I’m not even being sarcastic. The Horsens New Theatre holds over 200 events annually and has drawn major international artists such as Bob Dylan, Madonna and the Rolling Stones. Situated just 50 miles south of its noisy neighbour Horsens really is the David to Aarhus’s Goliath.
And the odds reflect that inequality with Aarhus the 13/10 favourite whilst hosts Horsens go into Friday’s game as 2/1 outsiders. Now every March, as part of their plethora of cultural events, Horsens hosts an internationally acclaimed crime festival and their first job should be to work out just how Aarhus are favourites for this clash.
Last season Aarhus played 17 away games and were victorious just once. This season they have visited nine clubs and again walked away with just a solitary three points. That makes a grand total of two away wins in 26 attempts.
Ah I hear you say but Horsens have just been promoted and then only by the skin of their teeth. True enough, yet they sit securely positioned in seventh, exactly half way in the table having already surprised some bigger teams along the way.
Their home record reads W3-D3-L2, nothing spectacular, in fact very average indeed but further investigation reveals that five of those eight games have come against sides currently occupying the top six places in the Superliga.
In short, not only are Horsens looking down on Aarhus in the table, but the visiting team’s away record makes for pitiful reading. The 2/1 just screams BACK ME!
Again, like last week, there is the safety net of the 11/10 draw no bet (stakes back if it ends all square) but for me Aarhus just don’t deserve that much respect.
The other angle I considered for higher odds (yes I can be greedy) was the 15/4 on Horsens to win by one goal. All three of their aforementioned home victories came by just the single goal and five out the six Aarhus losses were by a similar one goal margin – tempting! But I’m going to stick with the simple home victory.
A small, lesser known, newly promoted side on much better form than a team who seem to be favourites based on nothing more than reputation. On the official tourist board’s website it welcomes you to “Denmark – The happiest place on Earth”. It could well be true come Friday night.
Horsens v Aarhus – Horsens to win (43/20 Sportingbet)