THE irrepressible Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview Saturday's massive matches from Europe as the Clasico and Revierderby take centre-stage.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke | Saturday 24th October 2020, 17:30 | BT Sport
This, in theory, should be the ideal game for Dortmund to bounce back from their abject display and subsequent 3-1 loss to Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday, as the best home defence of 2020 (eight goals conceded) meets the worst attack (three goals scored).
Schalke come into the Ruhr derby still without a win in an incredible 20 games, with their two road trips in the early stages of the Bundesliga having yielded zero points and a -12 goal difference; an opening night 8-0 drubbing from Bayern Munich followed by *just* a 4-0 loss at Leipzig.
Whichever way you look at Schalke’s stats, they are horrible, and the relief/positive expectation at the long overdue removal of David Wagner would surely have been tempered by his replacement being Manuel Baum who was fired himself from Augsburg last year.
In contrast to their visitors away form, Lucien Favre’s side have started ominously well at the Westfalenstadion, opening the Bundesliga campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over Monchengladbach, then going one better in defeating Freiburg 4-0. And there is every chance they could continue the sequence in this their third home league fixture.
A small play on a 5-0 Dortmund home win here at 20/1 with Betfair, won’t hurt.
A safer bet along similar lines however is for Dortmund to win by 3+ goals, available to back at 13/8 with Betfair on the -2 handicap.
Added to the aforementioned terrible start to this season if we stretch back to Schalke’s last away win in the league, they have now lost nine of the subsequent 13 games (W0-D4-L9) of which six by at least a three-goal margin, notably including by a 4-0 scoreline in this fixture last season.
One man Die Knappen wouldn’t fancy coming up against when trying to improve their record and build on last weekend’s 1-1 draw which lifted them off the bottom of the table is the Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland.
The 20-year-old striker has started the season in sensational form, even getting on the scoresheet in the midweek loss to Lazio. That made it 12 goals in 12 games for club and country since the start of September, with goals in the Nations League, Bundesliga, German Super Cup and Champions League.
Added to those goals Haaland has also contributed four assists including just 12 minutes after coming off the bench in last weekend’s 1-0 win at Hoffenheim.
Comparisons are drawn with Bayern Munich’s prolific marksman Robert Lewandowski and it should be an interesting shoot-out between the two this season, but it is one the Polish striker is winning 7-4 heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Interestingly Lewandowski both scored and assisted in that opening day demolition and I’m going to take Haaland to follow suit here at odds of 11/2 with Unibet for my final selection.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid | Saturday 24th October 2020, 15:00 | La Liga TV
It’s El Clasico time and in a game where anything could happen and often does, I’ve been let off the leash at WLB Towers and am hunting down some massive price selections.
Ronald Koeman was expected to shuffle his pack in midweek but instead opted to get more minutes in his players legs, as well as some much-needed form. That decision paid off handsomely as a five-goal haul included goals from Lionel Messi, Phillipe Coutinho and Ansu Fati ensured a comfortable night, with even Gerard Pique’s second half red card not impacting this weekend’s mouthwatering clash.
Zinedine Zidane, on the other hand, rotated right into a nightmare as Shakhtar raced in to what turned out to be an insurmountable 3-0 half-time lead, and following an embarrassing 1-0 home reverse to Cadiz, adds even more unwanted pressure on getting a positive result against Barcelona.
The Catalans have only won one of the last five La Liga meetings here albeit a resounding 5-1 success back in 2018, with three games ending all-square as well as another scoring stalemate in the Copa Del Rey semi-final first leg in February 2019.
This game is of course behind closed doors and I think this may actually take some of the tension and fear of losing out of the occasion – I really hope so at least – and I can see another deadlock in this latest edition.
Twenty-three of the last 31 clashes have seen three or more goals and that average has been brought down in the recent battles with just one of the last five seeing Over 2.5 Goals. But without the baying crowd I am pitching an entertaining encounter with action at both ends so it’s a 2-2 draw prediction for me at best odds of 12/1 with BetVictor.
Despite being behind closed doors, many of these players could get into an argument during self-isolation so for my next bet I am going to play the card markets – it’s El Clasico – it’s the rules…
Referee Juan Martinez Munuera is the man in the middle and has got off to a solid start with his card producing 17 yellows and one from his opening three games at an average of exactly 6.00.
Including the back end of last season Senor Munuera has given both sides at least three cards in eight of his last 11 La Ligure appointments, enough form to get us interested in the possibilities here. And in the same fixture last season we saw three yellows for the home side with five for the visitors. I am taking a play on a repeat here with 30+ booking points for each team with Sky Bet at 1/1.
Of course, a massive boost to this bet would be the return to action of one Sergio Ramos, with his career total of 139 yellows and 15 red cards – quite the collection. However, it is not his disciplinary shenanigans that I am going to focus on here but instead his attacking prowess.
For club and country, the 34-year-old has already scored three goals from 12 appearances and that includes being forced off at half-time in his last La Liga game and being withdrawn with 61 minutes on the clock for Spain against Ukraine – he had already scored twice after all!
The skipper of Los Blancos has already fired in 17 shots to illustrate just how much he enjoys trying to get on the scoresheet and has recently not only been on penalties but also pinging in long range free kicks.
With this in mind any anyone that follows me on Twitter will know I have played this market already this season – so I see no reason not to chance my arm again in taking Ramos to have 1+ shot from outside the box at tasty odds of 13/2 via Ladbrokes Bet Builder.
As it’s a special occasion and we know how much he loves that – having seen what odds I could get for 3+ shots outside the box the resulting 750/1 got some of my loose change thrown on it also.
Finally, I couldn’t preview this game without an angle on Mr. Barcelona, Messi. Having watched the midweek game for my last piece of research, one thing grabbed my attention in connection with the legendary number 10’s work.
Seven shots in total is a higher than average sum, even Messi only averages 4.4 shots per-game this season, but of those attempts at goal and incredible six were from outside the box, four free kicks and three from open play.
I cannot imagine this game going by without a Barcelona free kick within range – and if/when that does happen it’s over to the little magician to make my final bet land – Messi to score from outside the box at 11/2 with Sky Bet.
My work is done. El Clasico, PLEASE don’t disappoint! Sergio, Lionel, over to you and your teammates.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – Dortmund to win 5-0 (20/1 Betfair)
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – Dortmund -2 handicap (13/8 Betfair)
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – Erling Haaland to score and assist (11/2 Unibet)
Barcelona vs Real Madrid – 2-2 Correct Score (12/1 Bet Victor)
Barcelona vs Real Madrid – 30+ Booking Points each (1/1 SkyBet)
Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos 1+ shots outside the box (13/2 Ladbrokes)
Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos 3+ shots outside the box (750/1 Ladbrokes)
Barcelona vs Real Madrid – Lionel Messi to score outside the box (11/2 Sky Bet)