Fasten your seatbelts as we navigate through another exhilarating weekend of football, featuring high-stakes Bundesliga clashes, Serie A showdowns, and a pivotal match in the Norwegian Eliteserien!

Augsburg v Mainz

Saturday, 2:30pm

We are four rounds of games into the new Bundesliga season and the entertainment value produced within that period has gone through the roof. Matches are averaging 3.83 goals per game, which is the highest out of all the major European leagues. Augsburg and Mainz aren’t necessarily interested in entertaining as they just want their first win of the season under their belts. They meet this Saturday at WWK Arena.

It has certainly been a taxing start to the season for Augsburg, who have already had to face Bayern Munich, RP Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach four games in, so they have an understandable excuse for their poor start. A home draw with Bochum was their major disappointment, especially having twice led in that contest. Augsburg are certainly a streaky team, so one win could really get their campaign up-and-running.

On the other side, Mainz are also seeking their first three-point return and head into this weekend’s clash sitting bottom of the table. They too have had a couple of tricky clashes early doors in the form of Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, but a home 3-1 loss to Stuttgart last time out was a very poor return for them. They too are another streaky team and are capable of putting a run of results together, but the inconsistency of these two teams makes it hard to be super strong of their prospects of winning.

I will say I am surprising to see Mainz viewed as marginal favourites for this game. They did the double over Augsburg last season, but this is a team that has won just three Bundesliga away matches since the start of last October. This is a team already conceding an average of 3.00 goals per game as well, so I’m a little unsure on the price. That said, we shouldn’t go all-out on the home team however, who too are conceding the same number of goals, but have faced stronger opposition.

I do think some kind of goals based approach is the way to go here, even if I do think Augsburg should be favourites, and they may end up being so closer to game day. I’d like to nominate Over 1.5 Augsburg Goals at 2.20 (QuinnBet), which I view as a much safer call than backing Augsburg outright. Both teams are under-performing badly on their xGA figures, which suggests something of a soft under belly in each team, and I can’t trust Mainz to not concede at least twice in this tricky away fixture.

Even in their 3-0 loss to Leipzig in their last game, Augsburg were dominate based upon their xG return. In fact, with the exception of an away defeat at Bayern Munich, they’ve earned an xG per game of over 2.00, and I don’t have enough confidence of Mainz to protect their goal strongly enough. Their poor away record proves they aren’t reliable in withstanding periods of pressure, and Augsburg will really go for this one.

Sassuolo v Juventus

Saturday, 5pm

A quick glance at the Serie A table with bring back fond memories for many when seeing Juventus join Inter and Milan in forming the current top-three in the standings. This could be a battle that plays out across the season, although reigning champions Napoli may have something to say about that. Four games into the season and Juventus are starting to look more like their old selves again. As for Sassuolo, it has been a challenging start, losing three of their opening four.

Juventus have been a tough watch since Massimiliano Allegri returned to the club. They often left you wanting so much more given the quality of player at their disposal. However, early signs this season suggests they could be a team to get on side with once again. Perhaps they won’t dominate the league like they once did, especially with the competition they face certainly to a higher standard, but they are definitely moving in the right direction.

Beating Lazio 3-1 in their previous match could well be the moment that the rest of the league, and maybe even Europe as a whole, really starts to view Juve seriously once again. It was a thoroughly deserving victory against a team competing in the Champions League, and Allegri will look to make the most of their enforced absence from European competition to really have a go at claiming their first Serie A title since 2019/20. They showed real maturity in that game considering they were a clear second best in terms of ball possession, but still got the job done. I fancy them to be quite strong away from home this season given the pace and power they have in attack such as Chiesa and Vlahovic. They’ve already won two from two on the road so far, keeping clean sheets in both.

Sassuolo have been known to be something of an all-action teams over the last handful of seasons. They approach every game looking to win and believing they can do so. It is never as easy as that however, especially when you are ultimately not classed amongst the elite of your respective league. Last season was their worst league return in terms of league positioning since 2013/14; their first year in the league after promotion. Still, they are a team to take seriously, and gaining victories over Milan, Atalanta, Roma and at home to Juventus last season suggests they are more than capable.

However, I do think this is a different Juventus side that they’ll be coming up against this weekend. They look ‘on it’ again, and perhaps they’ve taken the European ban to help form something of a siege mentality. This weekend could be another chance for them to put three points on the board, and Sassuolo’s leaky defensive output suggests it could be a profitable evening for Juventus in Emilia-Romagna. Sassuolo unwantedly sit top of the xGA figures, and they will need to be organised against a strong opponent, but I just don’t have faith in them to be so.

I’ve found a slightly safer play than simply backing Juventus to win, and I’ve taken into account the unpredictable nature of Sassuolo, who can raise their game against one of the big boys. The reality is though that they are weak defensively at the moment, and the numbers back that up. Over 1.5 Juventus Goals is available at 1.80 (William Hill) and the make-up of this game gives this a hell of a chance of being a winning bet. I don’t see Juventus being a happy with a 1-0 win kind of side anymore, I think they’ve moved on from that. They’ve won their two away battles 3-0 and 2-0 already, so this selection certainly has legs of paying out for us.

Viking v Sandefjord

Sunday, 4pm

We are approaching the business end of the season in the Norwegian Eliteserien and it is likely we’ll have a title race that will go right until the very end. Viking hold a two-point led at the top of the pile with only nine games remaining, but Bodo/Glimt and Tromso are hunting them down, with just three-points separating the three. Molde and Brann are so far behind either, and will believe they can potentially mount a late charge. It is also tight at the bottom, with Sandefjord right in the mix, but being outside the bottom-three as things stand would resemble a successful outcome.

Tromso might be a shock challenger near the top of the table, but it could be argued Viking are as well on the basis of them last winning this title in 1991. To their credit, they did claim a third-place finish in 2021, so they have been knocking on the door. Their brand of football has always been eye-catching, but they’ve now been showcasing the desired end product to really compete at the top for major honours. They now have the individual talent that is to the envy of the rest of the league with the likes of Tripic, Salvesen and Svendsen, and at the moment it is in their hands to get their hands on the trophy, but many twists and turns are expected in the run-in. An excellent home record always helps, and they’ll expect to get the job done this weekend against a struggling opponent.

Sandefjord are a team that is generally always expected to battle against relegation and so their performance this season doesn’t really come as a surprise to anyone, perhaps even including themselves. They do at least head into this match on the back of a win when defeating Stromsgodset 2-0 at home. That was their first victory in over a month, and a second clean sheet in their last three. They have definitely tightened up defensively of late, and whilst conceding six in their last five isn’t necessarily an amazing return, you have to remember that since the start of may they’ve conceded four or more in four matches, so they had to do something.

Their defensive organisational skills are going to be tested to the max on Sunday against a Viking team that is very comfortable in possession and will constantly move the ball from side-to-side to try and break their opponents out of shape. They are good at this in getting the job done eventually, but they also can be frustrated. It hasn’t been infrequent for them to have to fight right until the last moments of game to break teams of this nature down. For all that they are heavy favourites to win here, and understandably so, I fancy this to be a relatively close game in terms of final score.

Sandefjord will come here and look to frustrate. The longer it remains goalless the better for them, but they won’t turn down the chance to get forward as well. It will surprise many to see these two teams are equal across the season in terms of average ball possession (51%), but the likelihood is Viking will look to force the issue here. Viking have had issues breaking down stubborn opponents, and their results against the current bottom-five, where Sandefjord is situated in the table, makes for interesting reading.

Viking have won seven and drew one of their eight encounters with bottom-five opposition this season. Each of those matches has contained a maximum of three goals. They’ve had to be patient, but have eventually got the job done. A Viking win and Under 4.5 Goals is available at 2.00 on the bet-builder (Unibet) this weekend and has to be taken advantage of. With Sandefjord looking sharper defensively of late, I’ll back them to keep the score down, but ultimately come second best in the end.


Augsburg v Mainz – Augsburg Over 1.5 Goals (2.20 QuinnBet)

Sassuolo v Juventus – Juventus Over 1.5 Goals (1.80 William Hill)

Viking v Sandefjord – Viking and Under 4.5 Goals (2.00 Unibet)


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