IT’S a a bit of a Super Sunday across Europe – they might not, traditionally, be the most glamorous ties on paper but recent form has set out four crackers on the continent.
A trip to Spain is in order for our first stop at Getafe vs Hercules. The promoted Valencians are in eighth spot in the standings having picked up seven points from five games, a stunning run that has seen them dump Primera League big guns Barcelona and Sevilla.
Arrivals of David Trezeguet (2-1, any time with Bet365), Royston Drenthe and Paraguay star Nelson Valdez (11-4, Paddy Power) have given humble Hercules a heroic edge but how long can they continue to punch above their weight before finally falling short? Getafe have an identical record to today’s opponents – two wins, two defeats and a draw – while suffering a disappointing 2-0 loss to Young Boys in their Europa League outing on Thursday.
With the sides on equal standing, I see this game having goals as gaffers Michel and Esteban Vigo will both be confident of coming away with three points. I think Hercules can keep up their stunning start (11-4, Ladbrokes) and sneak the points … otherwise, go for the draw (12-5).
We’ll then dash across the country to Sevilla’s clash with Atletico Madrid. There’s an interesting coincidence going on here with new Rojiblancos boss Gregorio Manzano. While in charge of Atletico Madrid his first game was against Sevilla and his first match as head at Malaga also saw a clash with Atleti … and today he faces up to the Madrid outfit in his La Liga return. Atleti head into the game in better form having netted 10 points from five games while Sevilla are just behind them.
Kun Aguero is a disappointing miss for the visitors after an injury in training. Powerful stopper Diego Godin is also on the sidelines with a knock while Jose Antonio Reyes is suspended. Diego Forlan is 6-4 with Paddy Power to net at any point and expect some free-flowing football in this one.
And like the other Spanish clash, there’s three points for the taking. I think Sevilla will just shade it to mark a fine debut for Manzano (5-4, Coral).
In Italy, we’re served up champions Inter Milan against Juventus at the Giuseppe Meazza. New Inter boss Rafael Benitez has endured a shaky start to life in Milan, dropping five league points in five games and losing 1-0 to Roma last weekend. However, there’s been some signs of improvement.
The Champions League holders thumped Werder Bremen 4-0 in mid-week with Samuel Eto’o (13-10, anytime Paddy Power to net today) firing a hat-trick. Juventus are all over the place. Looking as meek, weak and tired as their Old Lady nickname suggests one week … then every bit the roaring force that dominated Europe for so many years the next.
Their last Serie A outing saw them coast past Cagliari in a 4-2 game that should have been more but could only earn a 1-1 with Manchester City in the Europa League.
They play wide open – netting 12 times and conceding nine – and it’s a worry against an organised Inter and in-form Eto’o. Injuries for Il Nerazzurri could see Thiago Motta, Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Diego Milito and Marco Materazzi all miss out. On the plus side, exciting Brazilian kid Philippe Coutinho should continue his run in the side.
Juve will be missing Gianluigi Buffon, Amauri and Armand Traore with the impervious Alessandro del Piero (5-2, Bet365 any time) likely to start up front with Vincenzo Iaquinta (11-4, any time, Skybet). I’ll have to go with Inter winning a close game by 1-0 (7-1, William Hill).
We’ll finish off with Bayern Munich’s trip to Borussia Dortmund. After an opening-day defeat, Dortmund have rallied and cut an impressive five-game winning streak that sees them sit second in the table. They’re in stonking form and have some great options going forward in the shape of Shinji Kagawa (10-3, Bet365) and Lucas Barrios (21-20). The new arrival from the J-League came with low expectations (and a tiny quarter of a million price tag) but has somehow managed to shine in the luminous yellow of Jurgen Kopp’s men. Netting four times in six games, he’s a great bet to bag another today.
There’s already a seven-point gap between Bayern and Dortmund but it’s the men from Munich who are trailing. Having lost out to Mainz last weekend they’ll be desperate to make amends. They’re still without long-term absentees Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben so I’ll go with a draw on this one (5-2, Boylesports).
- Inter Milan
- Pays 49-1 at Ladbrokes