Juventus v Malmo | Wednesday 8th December 2021, 17:45
Juventus suffered their heaviest ever UCL defeat on MD5 as they were destroyed by a Chelsea side that now sit in pole position atop Group H, the Old Lady need to take care of their own business with a win in Turin, then hope for a favour from Zenit.
It would be a massive surprise if the first part of that wasn’t taken care of with Malmo guaranteed to finish bottom of the group and visit the Allianz Stadium “boasting” the worst goal difference in the competition of -12 having scored just one goal.
A large contributor to that awful record for Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side is a pair of 4-0 defeats in their two away games so far which makes the -2 Asian Handicap an attractive play here when looking to get Juve on side.
Max Allegri guided his side to a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture and with five wins from their last seven fixtures are arguably in better shape than when visiting Sweden.
Also, it may be worth taking in to account that Malmo retained their Allsvenskan crown at the weekend after a 0-0 draw with saw them end level on points with AIK but with far superior goal difference.
All in all, the 10/11 with Bet 365 looks the best route with a straight win at best odds of 2/11, with a win to nil shorter than 4/5.
Paulo Dybala looks most likely to supply the goals, certainly enjoying home comforts in his recent UCL appearances having scored five goals in his last seven Juventus home games including two against Zenit here on MD4.
The Argentine international also scored at the weekend in his side’s 2-0 win over Genoa meaning he has found the net in back-to-back Serie A appearances, has four goals from his last five starts and has fired off a total of 39 shots from his last six starts, so certainly seems in the mood – as a result I was surprised to see odds of 49/50 with Unibet for him to get on the score sheet again here.
Atalanta v Villarreal | Wednesday 8th December 2021, 20:00
This should be an enthralling watch, with both sides eying qualification to the knockout stages by virtue of claiming the runners up spot behind already confirmed Group F winners Manchester United.
It is Villarreal that currently have possession and know if they avoid defeat, they will progress to the Round of 16, however Atalanta come in to this clash in better form and are priced up as strong favourites.
Only an 8-0 Copa del Rey victory over lower league Victoria CF has punctuated three successive defeats for the Yellow Submarine who are yet to register a win away from home in La Liga, losing three of their last four including Saturday’s 1-0 defeat in Sevilla.
In contrast Atalanta sweep in to this contest on the back of 10 games unbeaten in all competitions having won the last three including a big win on Saturday over then league leaders Napoli in a five-goal thriller as well as defeating Juventus in Turin.
With La Dea a fraction short to be putting forward for you, especially if they get nibbled in further overnight, I am going to add over 2.5 goals to the bet, an outcome which has happened in its own right in five of the last six Atalanta UCL games.
Best odds for the combination are with WIlliam Hill at 7/5.
Duvan Zapata saw his goal streak come to an end in the win in Naples at the weekend although he did provide an assist.
Prior to that the Colombian international had found the net in each of his last seven appearances for his club and is now up to 11 goals, seven assists, 57 shots and 30 chances created in 18 games – on current form I think he will be too hot for Villarreal to handle.
In a game where we should see goals, I was surprised to see Zapata quoted at 21/20 with Unibet to score – but it’s certainly a price I am happy to take.
Bayern Munich v Barcelona | Wednesday 8th November 2021, 20:00
Here we go again – that point in the previews where I have to try and find new ways of describing Bayern Munich’s incredible form in this competition following another victory.
Well, they were made to fight pretty hard in the snow of Kiev but still came away with all three points and top spot in this group assured.
They have now won six consecutive games in this tournament, scoring two or more goals in nine of the last 10 and look to join both Ajax and Liverpool as the teams that complete this stage with 100% records.
Another incentive here for Julian Nagelsmann’s team is that a victory over old foes Barcelona could eliminate the Catalans from the competition.
Both sides come in to this clash with contrasting fortunes, with Xavi suffering his first loss as manager of the Spanish giants in falling to a 1-0 loss to Real Betis at Camp Nou, with a sign of the task ahead perfectly illustrated by the home side only having one shot on target in the opening 70 minutes of Saturday night’s clash.
Bayern on the other hand edged a five-goal thriller in Der Klassiker to move the Bundesliga champions four points ahead of their opponents and nearest rivals Dortmund at the top of the table.
Having beaten Barce in the last three head to heads, inflicting the longest losing streak ever suffered to one club in European competition on them, Bayern will now look to extend an incredible home sequence of 22 wins from 23 UCL group stage games, last tasting defeat at this stage in front of their own fans back in 2013!
The Germans brushed aside a weak Barcelona side, who offered very little threat in a desperate performance on MD1 – and despite the change of manager I can’t see a change of fortune or outcome in the return at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern won 3-0 that night and a similar scoreline wouldn’t surprise me here so I am more than happy to snap up the 10/11 on offer from Bet 365 on the -1 Asian Handicap.
One man who will certainly be looking forward to the clash is Thomas Muller who has an incredible record against Barcelona – having scored seven goals in his last six appearances against them.
The 32-year-old German international also opened the scoring at Camp Nou back in September and is priced up at an attractive 2/1 to get his name on the scoresheet once again.
However, Muller is experiencing something of a goal drought with four goals from 14 Bundesliga outings, none from two DFB Pokal appearances and just the aforementioned goal in this UCL campaign – he has no goals in his last six for Bayern and only two in his last 12.
Of course, the visit of one of his “lucky” opponents could spark a return to form in front of goal, but instead I am prepared to take a chance on him supplying an assist at only fractionally shorter odds – 19/10 with Unibet.
Muller was credited with the assist for Robert Lewandowski’s equaliser on Saturday after charging down Mats Hummels’ attempted clearance on the halfway line and that was incredibly his eighth assist in his last seven starts giving him a total of 13 assists from 18 starts (19 appearances in total) in all this season and for me very much worth taking a chance on him adding to that total here.
Benfica v Dynamo Kiev | Wednesday 8th November 2021, 20:00
Benfica know that if as expected Barcelona fail to beat Bayern Munich a win here against Dynamo Kiev will see them swap places with the Catalan giants and progress them to the knockout stages of the competition.
Of course, first of all Jorge Jesus’ side need to take care of their own business but could not wish for better opponents in a side that know they are finishing rock bottom of Group E regardless, whilst they still have a battle on domestically to win the Ukrainian Premier League – a definite case of prioritise elsewhere.
The reverse fixture ended in a goalless draw so the Eagles would have fancied their chances with home advantage anyway, despite coming in to this off the back of a disappointing Primeira Liga defeat to Sporting which leaves them four points behind the joint leaders.
Good news for Benfica fans is they haven’t suffered back-to-back defeats since June 2020, a run of 77 competitive games.
The Portuguese side have been defensively sound in this group despite conceding nine goals, all of those were scored by Bayern Munich, with two shut outs against Barcelona to go with the one previously mentioned at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
Mircea Lucescu’s side have only scored in one fixture so far, last time out in a snow-covered clash at home to Bayern, their games away from home have seen them draw a blank whilst shipping six goals, they have also failed to find the net in seven of their last 11 UCL group stage games losing eight.
All this points to a win-to-nil for Benfica which can be backed at a pretty attractive 21/20 with Bet Victor.
In a game where we should see goals – especially if the home side can get ahead early to relieve some pressure, I have to make my second selection from the goal scorers market and the name that leaps out at me is Darwin Nunez
It was a surprise to see the Uruguayan restricted to cameos from off the bench in two consecutive group stage matches after scoring a brace in the win over Barcelona and a consolation in defeat to Bayern – both home games so it appears that his manager prefers a different set up when playing away – we should expect to see him in the starting XI in this crucial home tie.
A facile first half hat-trick against COVID ravaged 9-man Belenenses did nothing if not get his eye in and despite drawing a blank in the disappointing loss in the Derby de Lisboa I’m taking the 22-year-old to get back amongst the goals here at odds of 1/1 with Betfair.
Salzburg v Sevilla | Wednesday 8th December 2021, 20:00
Here we have it – we have saved the best for last, with Group G the most closely contested of all the sections as current leaders Lille have just a three-point cushion over bottom side Wolfsburg – but it is the two in the middle we focus on first.
Salzburg will feel they should already be home and hosed having picked up seven points from their first three fixtures – back-to-back defeats leave them needing a draw against their Spanish opponents to progress to the round of 16.
Die Roten Bullen have also hit a sticky patch of form just at the wrong time with only two wins from their last seven games in all competitions.
Sevilla are just the side to take advantage of any nervousness despite having a frustrating campaign themselves, beginning with three successive draws before finally getting a win against Wolfsburg on MD5 to keep their qualification hopes alive – and qualify is something they have now done in each of the last five consecutive seasons.
Los Nervionenses are a tough nut to crack now undefeated in their last eight UCL away days while looking at their most recent form only La Liga leaders Real Madrid have managed to score against them in the last four games in all competitions, seven of their last eight wins have been accompanied by a clean sheet.
If pushed for an outcome, I would have to side with the visitors but I’m going to actually suggest two plays from other markets for my suggested bets from this game.
The reverse fixture produced a penalty-fest with an incredible four awarded in the first half of the game in Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, along with three yellow cards, but then the second 45 saw a further seven – with a second caution for Youssef En Nesyri resulting in a red.
The remainder of the games for these two sides has seen a similar pattern followed with Salzburg’s next four fixtures having a total of 22 yellow cards (using Sky Bet’s 10 points for a yellow and 25 points for a red that’s 55.0 booking points per game average) and Sevilla’s producing a whopping 29 yellows and one red (78.75 booking points per game average).
Although referee Slavko Vinčić is not the most card happy official we could have picked he may not have a choice here given the game state and also the records of the two teams in this competition.
Also, from his six UCL games this season, the Slovenian has produced four yellows and a red (65 points) when Rangers hosted Malmo and seven yellows and a red (95 points) when Benfica visited PSV and seven yellows (70 points) on MD3 when Besiktas played Sporting – so he has it in him!
As a result, I am prepared to take on the line of 60+ booking points with Sky Bet at odds of 4/5.
The second selection focuses on corners and it’s interesting to see that Salzburg have won the corner count in all five of their group games so far, winning 30 flag kicks to their opponents 16, stretch that further across the season and they have won the match bet in 15 of their last 17 competitive fixtures.
Sevilla have actually taken more corners than four of their five UCL group opponents so far this campaign – the one anomaly to that of course was in the reverse fixture against Salzburg.
Sky Bet are offering even money (1/1) that Salzburg take most corners and given those aforementioned stats it’s a bet I have to take on!
Wolfsburg v Lille | Wednesday 8th December 2021, 20:00
It’s all or nothing for Wolfsburg.
A victory over Lille will see them qualify for the knockout stages of the UCL – anything else and they are eliminated from all European competition given their inferior head-to-head records with both other members of this intriguing Group G.
The new manager bounce of Florian Kohfeldt was short-lived, raising hope and expectation by winning his first three fixtures immediately after taking over from Mark van Bommel with a draw at relegation threatened Arminia Bielefeld following.
However, since then Die Wolfe have suffered three successive defeats with Kohfeldt reverting to a back three in the last two games – resulting in conceding three goals on both occasions.
Lille on the other hand have finally found some form, although still wallowing in 11th place some 18 points off leaders PSG, the French champions are on a run of seven games without defeat – just one clean sheet in nine will give the home side hope they can claim the win here though.
Back-to-back wins in this group has really put Jocelyn Gourvennec and his side in pole position and the main reason for their poor season has been the number of draws they have accumulated, with eight in total across both competitions – but this is one occasion where a draw would be satisfactory.
I can see both teams scoring here but at the odds and with form in their favour my preferred play is Lille on the 0.0 Asian Handicap (Draw No Bet) which we can get at 23/20 with Bet 365.
Jonathan David is having a cracking season, for both club and country.
The Canadian international has fired seven goals in 12 World Cup Qualifiers to help put his country on the brink of making the Qatar showpiece tournament and he has 13 goals from 22 appearances (18 starts) for Lille – warming up nicely for this important clash when scoring a vital equaliser after The Mastiffs’ brought their top goalscorer off the bench at half time to inspire a 2-1 come from behind win over Troyes.
With eight goals in his last 11 games and 14 in his last 20 competitive fixtures the 21-Year-Old is in great and consistent form and could exploit a shaky home back line here – be it from the start or later on in the game as it becomes stretched.
Odds of 23/10 with Betfair for David to score at any time seem generous.
Juventus v Malmo: Juventus –2 Asian Handicap (10/11 Bet 365)
Juventus v Malmo: Paulo Dybala to score (49/50 Unibet)
Atalanta v Villarreal: Atalanta to win and over 2.5 goals (7/5 William Hill)
Atalanta v Villarreal: Duvan Zapata to score (21/20 Unibet)
Bayern Munich v Barcelona: Bayern –1 Asian Handicap (10/11 Bet 365)
Bayern Munich v Barcelona: Thomas Muller to give an assist (19/10 Unibet)
Benfica v Dynamo Kiev: Benfica to win to nil (21/20 Bet Victor)
Benfica v Dynamo Kiev: Darwin Nunez to score (1/1 Betfair)
Salzburg v Sevilla: 60+ booking points (4/5 Sky Bet)
Salzburg v Sevilla: Salzburg most corners (1/1 Sky Bet)
Wolfsburg v Lille: Lille 0.0 Asian Handicap (23/20 Bet 365)
Wolfsburg v Lille: Jonathan David to score (23/10 Betfair)