Salzburg v Sturm Graz | Sunday 8th March 2020, 13:30
It has been a tough return to football for Salzburg following the winter break. Sure, they won a domestic cup tie against lower league opposition first time up, but since then they’re winless in five (prior to Thursday’s cup game with LASK), which includes being knocked out by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. Furthermore, they’re now six points behind league leaders LASK, who also recently defeated them.
The easy thing to say is that RBS are missing their star man Erling Braut Håland. To be fair, that is a pretty safe assumption, regardless of what sort of form they were in. Despite leaving in the transfer window, he still remains their joint-league top scorer with 16 goals.
Whilst he is missed, let us not forget that Takumi Minamino, Marin Pongračić and Anderson Niangbo have also departed to Liverpool, Wolfsburg and Gent respectively. They’re going through a period of transition midway through a season. That’s tough going.
Sturm Graz therefore will probably fancy their chances ahead of this weekend of causing a bit of a shock. It would be a shock considering they’ve not won any head-to-head battle inside 90 minutes since August 2017, and not away in Salzburg since October 2016. They’re not in blistering form either, but are at least unbeaten in two and teams always raise their game against Salzburg.
Another factor in favour of Graz is that they generally prefer it away from home. They’re quite inconsistent overall, but their record in terms of numbers is just more favourable on the road. A 4-2-5 home record is nothing to shot home about, but 5-3-2 away is something to be quite proud of. They’re unbeaten away from home in league action since October.
Salzburg are vulnerable at the moment, and they’re involved in quite a hectic schedule at present, including playing LASK in a domestic cup semi-final on Thursday. Sturm Graz will likely have a role to play in this game, but the fact of the matter is this is one they rarely come out on top in.
Both Teams To Score is proving profitable when RBS are involved right now, and six of the last seven H2H league encounters, too. Only 3/21 of Salzburg’s Bundesliga matches failed to reach three goals, and they’re so offensive that it’ll present chances to Graz.
Salzburg Double Chance, BTTS and Over 2 Goals is 20/21 (Bet365) on the bet-builder, and looks a worthy recommendation all things considered.
Liberec v Opava | Sunday 8th March 2020, 13:30
The Czech 1.Liga is back in full swing after the winter break, with all teams having a few games under their belts to get back into the slog. Liberec and second place Plzen are the only two outfits in the division to resume with a 100% league record after the mid-season rest, so momentum is on their side. Also, Liberec progressed in the cup in midweek over Slovacko, so they’re in a good place right now.
Opava may be second from bottom in the standings but confidence has been lifted to a degree having achieved a rare win last time out. A 2-1 home triumph over Sigma Olomouc represented only their fourth league victory of the campaign, and they lost the two league matches prior to that, albeit against top two Slavia Prague and Plzen.
Quite a common factor surrounding Liberec for a few seasons now is that they have an excellent record at home. It is fair to say they’ve made Stadion u Nisy something of a fortress. They’ve lost only three times here all season, but two of those were their two first home clashes of the season, so we’ll forgive them that.
Since then, Slavia Prague are the only outfit to depart with three points. Even last season they only lost four times at home. Quite often it is a case of beating the weaker sides and having some issues with the stronger opponents.
That presents a bit of a concern for Opava this weekend considering it is fair to call them one of the weaker teams at this level. Furthermore, they have struggles of their own away from home. They haven’t won on the road in league action since July, which was their first away match of the season, and even that was a bit of a smash of grab job.
The reality is that this is a game Liberec should win, and quite comfortably. They’ve won at home to all opponents below them in the table, scoring an average of 3.50 goals in the process. Whilst sitting ninth in a 16-team league is mid-table, they do have a game in hand, and if they were to have already played that and won that they could be as high as 5th. That is generally the area of the table they so often find themselves in.
Liberec to Win and Over 1.5 Goals is priced at 3/4 (Coral), and it was a little bit higher earlier in the week, so the money is starting to come down on this. Another reality is that Liberec put teams like Opava to the sword more often than not, and their record this season proves that.
Of 55 league encounters combined both teams have played this season, only 12 finished with one goal or less. It is a selection I expect to romp home.