Braunschweig v Dusseldorf
Our weekend acca commences not officially on the weekend as on Friday teatime there is a 2. Bundesliga clash which catches the eye in a big way. Bottom of the table Braunschweig have just one solitary win to their name this season and they’ll be hoping to extend that at home to a Dusseldorf outfit that sits only two points short of league leaders St Pauli. The bookies place the away side as understandable favourites, but there is another market I’d rather put forward for leg one of our fourfold.
Dusseldorf have impressed me all season and are a particularly aggressive, attacking team. They mix things up effectively, but the one constant is how much of a goal threat they are. That is not really reflected in their xG as it is actually the fourth-lowest in the league, with Braunschweig being one of those below. Dusseldorf have outperformed their xG with five extra goals, and I don’t necessarily mind that as you always need to find ways to win without being at your best.
On the flip side, Braunschweig actually have a strong xGA figure considering they sit bottom of the table. Only four teams can better their figure, one of which includes Dusseldorf. I mention how Dusseldorf have performed over their xG number, but Braunschweig have conceded around three goals more than their xGA suggests they should have. Again, to me, that is a concern, as is the fact they’ve only scored six goals all season.
Braunschweig are eight without a win and within that run they’ve shipped at least two goals in five of those. Dusseldorf have netted at least two goals in four of their five league triumphs this season, including against two bottom-half opponents. I expect Dusseldorf to win this game, but I just don’t like backing teams at odds-on playing away from this, especially in this league. Dusseldorf to net Over 1.5 Team Goals is a slightly safer play, just in case Braunschweig really raise their game to try and end their winless run.
Copenhagen v Hvidovre
My only selection on what looks to be a relatively tricky footballing card on Saturday sees us take in a Danish Superliga contest between Copenhagen and Hvidovre. This match is something of a miss-match in terms of stature of clubs in every sense of the word. Nevertheless, they meet on a level playing field in the same league, but the reality is that anything other than a comfortable home victory would come as a shock to everyone.
Copenhagen of course produced a more than valiant effort at Old Trafford in midweek when going down 1-0 to Manchester United, and were only a missed penalty away from gaining a creditable away draw in Europe. I guess the only doubt is if they take their opposition lightly here and potentially rotate, but even so you’d think they could correct matters in the second half should things go against them early on. They’ve already met Hvidovre this season when winning 2-0 away from home in August, which is further proof of why they’re around 2/9 to win on Saturday afternoon.
Hvidovre have definitely struggled to adjust to life in the top league in Denmark after winning promotion to this tier at the end of last season. They remain winless all season after 12 attempts, netting only five goals in the process. They arguably produced one of their better performances of the season last time out when going down 2-1 at home to Silkeborg in what was a wind-effect evening. They won’t get that kind of leveller this weekend in the top stadium in the country meaning conditions are perfect for Copenhagen to play their usual game, so Hvidovre are going to need something special to get anything here. Still, they’ve actually drawn half of their away games, including a rather fortunate 0-0 draw at free-scoring Nordsjaelland. That remains one of only two clean sheets they’ve achieved.
The way I’ll approach this is to put forward Copenhagen to win and Over 2.5 Goals as leg two of our weekend acca. Eight of 12 Copenhagen Superliga contests have reached a minimum of three goals, whilst the last three Hvidovre matches have done too, which has coincided with a slightly improved attacking output, so they may even contribute themselves here. Even so, I suspect Copenhagen could net at least three times themselves, so this is a solid selection to hopefully keep us rolling.
PSV v Ajax
PSV against Ajax is certainly one of the top games in the Dutch game, but for those of you not following that part of the world in terms of football, you will be in for a bit of a shock regards the state of Ajax right now. PSV are riding high in top spot, which isn’t a surprise, but you’ll need to scroll some way down the league table to find Ajax struggling second from bottom seven games in the season. This is their worst ever start to a league season. Earlier this week, they fired Maurice Steijn, which might be the start of a revival, but major improvement is required.
I’d be typing all day just to explain some of the issues behind the scenes at Ajax, but the manager was seemingly one of those and the fans never took to him. It is worth noting that this is now a largely very young Ajax side, and whilst one day it could be a group that goes on to bigger things in the game, for now it is asking a lot for this group to turn the corner, especially with PSV to come this weekend. I’m writing this before their Europa League trip to Brighton, but one suspects they’ll leave England following another defeat, although I may be wrong!
One similarity PSV has with Ajax this season is that they too are juggling European competition alongside their league duties. Playing in the Champions League ensures PSV will have more rest and preparation time ahead of Ajax, who of course play on Thursday’s. Historically, this has always been a big game in the calendar, and whilst Ajax has largely been the top dogs in this league for a while, PSV will look to really lay down a marker here and ensure maximum destruction over their floundering opponents.
Still, for all that PSV are well ahead of Ajax right now, this will still be a heated contest, playing in front of a big atmosphere. Hopefully no issues emerge like the ones which has seen some Eredivisie contests banned this season. The managerial change could lead to some improvements to Ajax, so I wouldn’t completely rule them out of getting something out of this game, but clearly PSV are favourites.
Over 2.5 Goals is a fairly short-priced play but it will help boost our acca odds. Of the 16 games PSV and Ajax have played combined in league action this season only two has failed to reach this number. Ajax did at least score three times at Utrecht last weekend, but did concede four! Both teams are seeing their fixtures average just under 4.00 goals, so expecting at least three on Sunday should hopefully be a formality.
Athletic Bilbao v Valencia
We round off our weekend acca with a high-profile encounter from La Liga on Sunday. Athletic Bilbao takes on Valencia at San Mamés in what has been a regularly played fixture for many, many years in the Spanish top flight. Ten games into the season and there is not a lot to separate these two teams. In fact, only Rayo Vallecano and three points does so in the standings!
We’re now over a year into Ernesto Valverde’s third spell in charge of Athletic Club and after overseeing an 8th place finish in his first full season back in charge, he is now looking to get the club back into European competition. It is a case of so far, so good on that count, but two defeats in their last three and one win in four means they’ll be particularly keen to get three points this weekend. Two of those four were away losses at Barcelona and Real Sociedad respectively, whilst the other winless match was a home draw with Getafe, which turned out to be a good result given they played the second half with ten men. They’ve lost nine times at home since Valverde returned to their dugout, but many of those were 1-0, it is generally a bit of a fortress for them.
Valencia are never really one of those teams to have maximum faith in. You never really know what you are going to get and as such make them a difficult betting prospect in my eyes. That is partly reflected in some of their results this season. A 3-0 home win over Atletico Madrid is one thing, but drawing away at bottom side Almeria and losing to Alaves are fair reflections of this. It generally at home where you expect them to excel, whilst they can be got at away. They have won in Sevilla, but that remains their only away success.
The xG count does it for me here though. Athletic Club sit only behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and a free-scoring Girona in that regard. Valencia are rock bottom, and whilst they have netted three goals more than their own xG figure, the home team are roughly where they should be and as such are much more reliable. Valencia are tight defensively, but they going away from home to a classic ‘tough place to go’ venue and as such I suspect they will come under quite big pressure. The final leg of the acca is a simple Athletic Bilbao victory, and we can all pray it turns out to be simple on the night!
- Dusseldorf Over 1.5 Team Goals
- Copenhagen to Win and Over 2 Goals
- PSV v Ajax Over 2.5 Goals
- Athletic Bilbao
- 4.95/1 (Bet365)