Koln v Augsburg
Koln welcomes Augsburg to RheinEnergieStadion this weekend desperately hoping to secure only their second Bundesliga victory of the season. That is the demand of their somewhat wild and whacky manager Steffen Baumgart, who is certainly one to say what he thinks and wear his heart on his sleeve. They did win their last home game against Monchengladbach, but all the good feeling from that contest became a thing of the past when backing it up with a 6-0 away loss in Leipzig. Augsburg made the journey fresh off the back of consecutive Bundesliga victories, but regardless of this they still continued their record of conceding in every league game all season.
With that in mind, goals are always very much on the agenda when Augsburg are involved. The bookies are pretty sharp on this as well, and as such we are starting to see odds of over 2.5 goals in their games begin to drop, which is understandable. Nine games in and eight of those have featured a minimum of three goals, whilst two of those failed to see both teams score, too. As a single this isn’t so appealing, but for acca purposes, it has to very much be our selection for this game.
Koln are indeed the lowest scorers in the league with just seven, which is a bit of a concern for those wanting over 2.5 goals. However, they’ve only failed to net in one of their four at home, and even in that one they produced an xG figure close to 1.50, meaning they deserved at least one goal. The words of their manager will be ringing in their eyes, demanding huge improvement. This is certainly a very winnable home game for them, and as such I can only see Over 2.5 Goals being a successful start to our weekend acca.
Lech Poznan v Ruch Chorzow
I’ve been reading Lech Poznan games very well this season and have enjoyed some good success from a punting perspective. I dip into another of their clashes in the hope of this potentially extending our acca into Sunday’s football. The eight-time Ekstraklasa champions sit third in the table, only two points behind top side Slask Wroclaw, and they entertain a Ruch Chorzow side placed second-from-bottom in the standings, occupying only one victory to their name all season. The odds compilers rightly believe a home win is something of a formality, but we need to boost our odds somewhat whilst still retaining support in the home victory.
Back-to-back draws has halted Poznan’s recent momentum to a degree but it is still only one defeat in ten, and it is no shock to see their form consolidate once their European qualification hopes came to an end in mid-August. Polish clubs have often struggled to combine domestic and European commitments for a while now. Legia Warsaw is a good example now, who may have made the Europa Conference League group stages, but are now on a four-game losing run in league action.
Lech are actually greater over-achieving on their xG metrics, which in the long-term may not work in their favour, but in the short-term I always like it when teams have this combination. It just means they find ways to score goals, and that is purely because of the amount of their threat they have all across the pitch. They already have ten different scorers from their league goals, so Lech are expected to put Ruch under significant pressure. The visitors are winless on the road so far, and the newly promoted side are definitely finding the higher level a tough one to settle into.
The second leg of our acca is Lech to win and Over 1.5 Goals. The home win really shouldn’t be in doubt here all being well, and Lech are the only side in the Polish top flight to see all of their league battles this season feature at least two goals. Even if Ruch was to contribute to the goal count, I’d still expect the hosts to fire at least two goals of their own.
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Into Sunday and for the first time in a little while there is a Premier League match that I am willing to nominate for our weekend acca. In fact, I am personally backing this selection as a single too, so I am more than confident in nominating this bet, in what I think is the bet of the weekend. It presents a clash between two previous European Cup winners in the form of Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. Unai Emery’s side have caught the eye ever since his appointment to the job towards the end of last year, whilst Forest have always been largely different to beat at City Ground, one of my favourite stadiums in football.
The Reds have found wins hard to come by this season with only the two to their name ten league contests into the campaign. Of course, their dreadful away record since returning to the Premier League last season has been a constant talking point around Steve Cooper’s side, so it is perhaps fairer to focus largely on their home record for pre-match research into this game. They do retain one of six remaining unbeaten home records in the league, but three of their four encounters here ended all-square. With respect, they have faced the three promoted clubs and Brentford here, and it isn’t the return they’d have wanted. Last season, 44% of their overall league wins came against clubs they ended up relegated, so it is a bit of a worry for Cooper’s side they don’t have more points considered who they’ve faced on home turf.
On the other hand, Aston Villa are a team full of confidence right now and they are already looking relatively comfortable sitting in the top-five alongside Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool. When a team has such a strong home record like they do, the question is if they replicate that on their travels, and it certainly hasn’t always been plain-sailing away from Villa Park. In their defence, their only away setbacks came to Newcastle and Liverpool, whilst they’ve been to Stamford Bridge and left with all three points. Five of the ten away they’ve conceded came in that freak opening day setback to Newcastle, and they’ve come on a lot since that bad day.
For me, I just don’t see Aston Villa not getting a couple of goals here against a Forest defence I have never really been too confident on since returning to the top-flight. There is big reliance on select players for them to deliver the goods, whereas Villa simply have more strings to their bow. I have to back the away victory as the match-up should suit the away team to really good effect.
Slavia Prague v Plzen
Finally, there is an extremely eye-catching match coming out of Czech Republic this weekend as two of the biggest clubs in this part of the world go head-to-head. In fact, it sees these two clubs are responsible for winning ten of the last 13 league titles in the Czech First League and that is Slavia Prague and Plzen. Slavia went on a recent spell on winning three leagues in succession, but nothing in the last two seasons, and they are suitably fired up to hold the crown of being the best team in Czech Republic. Rivals Sparta Prague hold that honour as reigning champions, but Slavia currently top the standings by one point to Sparta, with Plzen lagging 11 points behind in fifth position.
One reason for that is Plzen have struggled to combine league duties with their Europa Conference League fixtures. They naturally have to rotate throughout this period and their league form has been punished as a consequence. It is three defeats in four league games for Miroslav Koubek’s side, and whilst they will be motivated significantly facing a top side like Slavia Prague, in another respect it is probably the last match they’d want at this point. Slavia too are negotiating a European journey in the Europa League but they have seen a continual sequence of positive results in the First League. So much so, they hold the only unbeaten record in the league and possessing the strongest defensive figure of only seven goals conceded! A good combination it is, but Plzen is still a significant opponent for them.
Since the start of 2022, Plzen are unbeaten in three of the five head-to-head renewals, although the last two has seen Slavia with each contest 2-1, but at home. In fact, the last time Plzen left Fortuna Arena with three points was all the way back in April 2014, which was when they were in the middle of their truly dominant spell in winning regular league titles. Plzen are a much stronger force at home and I just think there is a bit of an interior mentality travelling to Slavia, who normally get the better of them.
Slavia Prague to win forms the final part of our four leg accumulator across this weekend. It is priced at over 6/1. Good luck to all of you who will join me in backing this! Do please like and share this article across your social media accounts.
Koln v Augsburg Over 2.5
Lech Poznan (v Ruch Chorzow) and Over 1.5 Goals
Aston Villa (v Nottingham Forest)
Slavia Prague (v Plzen)