Borussia Monchengladbach vs Shakhtar Donetsk | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Gladbach have been in scintillating form in the UCL group stages and none more so than in thrashing the Ukrainian champions in their own back yard on MD3.
Marco Rose’s side top Group B, which is no mean feat, given that it also contains Inter Milan and Real Madrid – had it not been for conceding injury time equalisers to both then the picture would have been even rosier.
The absence of Alassane Plea will be a blow to a side who have scored 10 goals from the opening three fixtures however I am taking them to keep that average going in a game they will surely be earmarking as the easiest of those remaining to claim another crucial three points.
Bet365 are offering 11/8 for the German side to score Over 2.5 Goals here in what I envisage to be an open and entertaining contest. The “we will score more than you” mentality of the home side is highlighted by the fact that despite being unbeaten in their last eight competitive matches at Borussia-Park they have only kept one clean sheet in the last six there.
The most interesting fact about the six goals conceded in those six games is that they have ALL arrived in or after the 80th minute 88-87-90+3-85-80-90+1. We can take 1/1 with Betway for Shakhtar to score at any point in the second half – but with those stats it could be worth keeping an eye on some late in-play markets if you get the opportunity.
Ajax vs Midtjylland | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Ajax have a truly remarkable record in their league games leading in to UCL week scoring 23 times in the three games prior to the first round of group games this campaign and no less than five in each fixture – that run was maintained with a 5-0 dismissal of Heracles at the weekend.
In the reverse fixture there were doubts the Dutch champions were going to be able to fulfil the fixture due to a string of COVID related absentees but thankfully that seems to be behind them now so should be able to end a run of three successive 1-0 UCL reversals in their own stadium.
With goals more than likely to flow who better to get at least one of them than Ajax top scorer Dusan Tadic who also got on the score sheet in the reverse fixture.
With seven league goals from nine appearances as well as two from three in this competition I was expecting to see the former Southampton man priced up at odds on, so I am more than happy to take the 21/20 available with SkyBet.
My second selection for this game is a slightly unusual one but based on stats from the reverse fixture where there was a total of 37 fouls, it is one I have to play.
Erik Ten Hag’s side contributed 19 of those fouls and looking back over the last three seasons we can see that in UEFA competition they commit on average 14.05 per game.
Unibet have set their total fouls committed line for the home side at 12.5 which they have crossed 13 times in the 20 fixtures played in that aforementioned time frame – therefore the odds of 11/10 look a little value.
Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moscow | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
After some uncharacteristic results Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are starting to look a lot more like – well – Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid and will come in to this important clash with Lokomotiv on a high after a weekend 1-0 win over Barcelona.
Following a 4-0 thumping at the hands of UCL holders Bayern Munich on MD1, Atleti have won five of their subsequent six contests with the only blot on that impressive copybook being the 1-1 draw in Moscow.
However, after banking their fourth consecutive home league clean sheet at the weekend making it six shut outs from eight La Liga games in total Los Rojiblancos will be looking to replicate such solidity in to European competition where they have now conceded in each of their last five battles.
This game represents the perfect opportunity however, having won their last two home ties with Lokomotiv ‘to nil' and with the Russian side yet to win after eight previous trips to Spain (W0, D1, L7) and failing to score in any of those defeats.
Although odds-on – which I’m loathed to put forward in these previews – the 4/5 we can take with SkyBet is more than a fair price for an Atletico Madrid “win to nil”.
Anyone travelling to the Wanda Metropolitano looking to take away a point or three will know they have to roll up their sleeves and battle and with seven yellow cards being issued in the reverse fixture I am sure Marko Nikolic and his team are well aware of that.
SkyBet offer odds of 1/1 for the visitors to pick up 30+ Booking Points which is a line they have crossed in each of their last six fixtures including the last two UCL games.
Bayern Munich vs Salzburg | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
This is getting boring – each time I write about Bayern I add another win to their total of consecutive victories and another goal or three to Robert Lewandowski’s ever-increasing total. But hey, let’s get it out there as boy is it impressive – 14 successive UCL matches won, add another three to that total and they become the first side EVER to record back-to-back 100% records at the group stages.
Bayern's last five UCL group stage wins have seen them go in to the half time interval already leading – they beat Salzburg 6-2 in the reverse fixture and the Austrians must be fearing the worst from their German opponents who only drew with Bremen in this stadium at the weekend.
With injury worries at the back it is likely Hansi Flick will deem attack to be the best form of defence and with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane to call upon – who can blame him.
Virtually every Bayern/Goals market is heavy odds-on so finding an angle in is tricky however one line did catch my eye and that is Serge Gnabry to have Over 1.5 Shots On-Target with Unibet making that available at 6/5 – the German international had three such strikes in the reverse fixture.
One market I like when there is a massive underdog – at a best priced 12/1 Salzburg definitely tick that box – is corners as it’s not a guaranteed correlation between a side getting beaten and their ability to force that particular set-piece.
Jesse Marsch’s side won 10 flag kicks in that 6-2 home drubbing – but remember they took the lead and were in the game at 2-2 until the 79th minute before collapsing. They also forced five corners in the away defeat to Atletico Madrid so I’m prepared to take a chance that Salzburg can cross the Over 3.5 line as set by Betfair at odds of 7/4.
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
This promises to be a cracker – both sides are in serious danger of not qualifying out of the group and currently sit behind both Monchengladbach and Shakhtar who neither side have managed to beat at the halfway point.
The big team news is Romelu Lukaku is back for the hosts and showed his return to fitness by firing a double in the weekend win over Torino as well as providing a terrific assist to Lautaro Martinez in the closing stages, while Zinedine Zidane will have to plug the chasm left by the injured Sergio Ramos in his team selection. That does mean most of my go to bets are ruled out – Ladbrokes will be relieved.
Antonio Conte’s men are becoming a formidable outfit in the comfort of their San Siro home scoring two or more goals in five of their last six competitive games there the exception being in a 2-1 defeat to their city rivals who of course also share the stadium.
The main contributor to that fine record is the aforementioned Lukaku who seems to be thriving in Italy. The Belgian has seven goals in seven Serie A appearances this season following his 23 from 36 last campaign, and two from two in this competition. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him add to his tally in this one against a Ramos-less defence and I’m happy to take the widely available 1/1.
Amongst that run of Inter home victories two results caught my eye, one being MD1 against Monchengladbach and the other against Parma – both games finished 2-2 and this just seems to be a scoreline that fits this game, only an 80th minute Rodrygo strike prevented that happening in the reverse fixture.
Bet365 are best priced at 11/1 – it’s interesting to see firms quoting as low as 9/1 for a score we can normally get at around 14/1 highlighting the fact that it is a little more likely than usual outcome.
Marseille vs Porto | Wednesday 25th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Pointless is such a harsh term – but it is one that describes Marseille’s current situation and, let’s be honest, they have had an awful campaign to date!
Not only are Andre Villas-Boas’ side without a win from the opening three fixtures they are also yet to score, the only side to find themselves in that position – they are also on a run of 12 consecutive UCL defeats and another here would claim them an unwanted competition record.
It’s not just European difficulties for Les Olympiens, domestically they have only won one of their last six home games and interestingly of the four competitive fixtures at Stade Velodrome this season all have seen the same HT/FT result.
Yet more emphasis on scoring that all important first goal is illustrated by the incredible record that in Marseille's Last 16 UCL home fixtures where there has been a winner, the victor claimed the opening strike.
From their previous five head-to-head meetings at this stage of the competition Porto have won – and been leading at half time in each of them – so with all that considered I am taking a chance on Sergio Conceicao’s side exploiting their hosts brittle confidence and recording a Half Time/Full Time victory at odds of 10/3 with BetVictor.
Who will fire Porto to victory? Well, I like the odds on the in-form Sergio Oliveira being that man. Goals in all four games leading up to the international break, including in both UCL fixtures, one being in the reverse tie making it six goals in 10 appearances for his club this season.
Limited game time while on international duty and rested for the Dragoes win in the Taca de Portugal he will come into this clash fresh and also being on penalties I make the 7/2 available with Paddy Power a touch of value.
I’ve been known to enjoy a little ‘to score & be carded' double in my time and given the 28-year-old Portugal international has picked up a yellow card to go with a goal in each of his last three appearances who am I to put anyone off a little ambitious attempt at 14/1 with Betfair!
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Borussia Monchengladbach to score Over 2.5 Goals (11/8 Bet365)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Shakhtar Donetsk to score in the second half (1/1 Betway)
Ajax vs Midtjylland – Dusan Tadic to score at anytime (21/20 SkyBet)
Ajax vs Midtjylland – Over 12.5 Fouls committed by Ajax (11/10 Unibet)
Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moscow – Atletico Madrid to win to nil (4/5 SkyBet)
Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv Moscow – 30+ Lokomotiv Moscow Booking Points (1/1 SkyBet)
Bayern Munich vs Salzburg – Serge Gnabry to have Over 1.5 Shots On-Target (6/5 Unibet)
Bayern Munich vs Salzburg – Salzburg Over 3.5 Corners (7/4 Betfair)
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid – Romelu Lukaku to score at anytime (1/1 SkyBet)
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid – 2-2 correct score (11/1 Bet365)
Marseille vs Porto – Porto/Porto HT/FT (10/3 BetVictor)
Marseille vs Porto – Sergio Oliveira to score at anytime (7/2 Paddy Power)