Belshina v BATE | Sunday 21st June 2020, 14:00
Your first portion of recommended Sunday viewing comes from Belarus as league leaders BATE Borisov make the trip bottom side Belshina. Whilst it may seem doom and gloom for Belshina, they actually recorded their first win of the season last time out, and in surprising fashion. They earned a fine 1-0 away win at Energetik-BGU when priced at 11/2.
Whilst Belshina would ride their luck at times, especially late on, early on they were by far the better side, and that was certainly the case up until they opened the scoring. They would then face surges of attacks from energetic Energetik, but the visitors stood tall and earned a rare clean sheet. The fact of the matter is they’ll face an even sterner examination when in-form BATE come to town.
This will be a BATE side however that may be slightly frustrated having drew back-to-back games. Granted, last time was at home to second in the table Shakhtyor Soligorsk, but it was still a game they were leading until the final ten minutes.
On paper, Sunday presents them with the perfect chance to bounce back. They have won 11 straight head-to-head meetings with Belshina, and Belshina themselves late defeated BATE in October 2001.
Why have Belshina struggled this season? Well, a lack of goals certainly has not helped. They’ve found the back of the net only ten times; the joint-lowest in the league.
Creativity is a problem on a count of producing the third-fewest amount of shots on goal, and third-fewest shots on target. Clearly they have some issues in the final third, but BATE have conceded two in their last two, including away to Vitebsk, who are only a mid-table outfit.
One thing BATE do know how to do is score themselves and are averaging 2.08 goals per game in league action. That has especially been the case away from home, where they seem to relish the game being more open, as when they’re the home side they’ll often face ultra-defensive opponents that come looking for a draw.
BATE’s last five away fixtures has seen them produce an average of 3.00 goals per game. Belshina have conceded 3+ in three of their past four at home. With all of this in mind, I do think a price of 1/1 (Bet365) on BATE Over 2.5 Goals has to be of worthy consideration.
The only slight worry is that they’ll face a very defensive opponent, and BATE may have to be patient. Nevertheless, they are more than used to that being the case given they’re the biggest club in this part of the world, plus Belshina are yet to win at home all season. Two draws and five losses hardly screams home advantage, even with a crowd.
Luzern v Basel | Sunday 21st June 2020, 15:00
The Swiss Super League is always a league I keep quite a close eye on and even behind closed doors it is still a league which rarely fails to disappoint.
Basel made an early return from lockdown last week when playing a Swiss Cup tie with Lausanne, and they would eventually prevail an exciting tie 3-2 in extra time. If that clash is an early sign of things to come then Switzerland should provide some great football fix in the coming weeks and months.
Luzern on the flip side will be making their first venture back into competitive action this weekend, and a clash with Basel is probably one of the hardest encounters they could have asked for.
Preparations haven’t exactly gone swimmingly for them either given they lost 5-0 to Lausanne and 3-0 to Vaduz, both second division outfits, in two warm-up friendly clashes. These are friendlies however, so results are everything. Motivation will be much higher when Basel come to town.
The enforced lockdown came at quite a bad time for Luzern as they were in very good form. They were unbeaten in five, including four victories. Two of those wins would come against Young Boys and St Gallen, who are both battling Basel in a three-way tussle for the league title. However, the reality is they’ve not played a competitive match since February, so they may need some time to settle back into action.
Basel have already blown the cobwebs off so to speak when returning to action themselves. I can only see this acting as a real positive reflecting upon them. They had to go through extra time to prevail in the cup, so their fitness levels don’t appear to have dropped despite the layoff.
My main concern for Luzern here is that they’re a counter attacking team, and have the second-lowest ball possession percentage in the league. This means they will be without the ball for spells in this clash, especially as Basel have the second-highest ball possession percentage.
Luzern are also second bottom for shots on goal in the league, and third-fewest for shots on target. Basel are understandably at the other end of the spectrum, and with the fitness edge as well I can only see Basel coming out on top in this one.
Getting on early is advisable as the price could well drop, but 10/11 (Betway) on a Basel win is still good enough for me to get involved.
Luzern did win the previous head-to-head meeting, but Basel were unbeaten in the six prior to that. It is usually a fixture that serves them well, and the lockdown came at a good time for them as their form was poor, so they have to make the most of this unique opportunity as they’ve a five-point gap to overcome to the top of the table.