European Football Friday Preview
A new round of top flight competitions kicks off across Europe on Friday, with 4 of the top 5 leagues represented on the international platform to start the round of play, we are certain to be be entertained with the amount at stake on a week to week basis, this continues to shine through with the quality of effort provided by all the participating clubs involved.
When making your Investments keep in mind the teams that were involved in League Cup Play this week, along with the clubs that may be distracted by European Playoffs that resume at the beginning of next week, once again there is more than enough value on the board to be had with the proper research, and general knowledge of the sport.
German Bundesliga - Match Day 22
10501 RB Leipzig - 10502 FC Augsburg
Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany
2-9-2018 - 2:30 pm ET
The German Bundesliga is set to offer up a mouth watering match up to start Match Day 22, with a battle of two clubs emerged in the top 7 of the top flight table, the Red Bulls of RB Leipzig welcome Bavarian side Augsburg to the RedBull Arena, with the opportunity to keep pace in the extremely competitive race for spots in Europe next season.
FC Augsburg have been a revelation during this new this campaign, after struggling last season with consistency which caused "Fuggerstädter" to flirt with the possibility of relegation, the southern side have attacked the new season with confidence as they continue to produce results, having now gone undefeated in their last 5 domestic matches, while dispatching of fellow surprise team Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Match Day 21.
The Bavaria club enter the round in 7th place with a impressive overall record of 8-7-6, with 31 points accumulated through the first half of the German schedule, their goal of representing the Bundesliga in Europe next season is within sight.
Manuel Baum continues to shine at the highest level of competition in Germany, the former Goal Keeper served his time in the Augsburg youth ranks before getting the promotion to the senior club in 2016 to help salvage the sinking season, after proving his worth he has continued to build off the momentum established in the second half of the last campaign, which has translated into a more than successful spell of results in his first full tenure with the club.
Baum has become one of yet another on the list of youthful managers inserted into high profile positions within the league, at only 38 years old the German head man has been able to relate to his youthful players, which in turn has produced quality results more times than not from week to week.
The Augsburg attack has consisted primarily of a 4-2-3-1 formation, but with Leipzig's balanced attack their could be a switch to a 3-5-2 alignment to provide more stability against the talented front-line of the hosts.
Baum nows his team will be on the losing end of the possession battle, even so they must still stick with what has made them successful, their style of play consists of creating turnovers which lead to lethal counter attacking football were they truly flourish, also expect to see a large amount of shots created on goal while using crosses and long balls too their advantage, Baum's men also like to play with width as they will look to impose their strong wing play against the Red Bull's back-line.
Star striker Alfred Finnbogason will be sidelined with injury once again, the Icelandic trigger man will be a big miss with his 11 Goals scored in domestic play this season.
Michael Gregoritsch will assume the scoring responsibilities left by Finnbogason, the Austrian International has also had a spectacular campaign by netting 9 Goals of his own in league play, although he is a player who depends on service to truly be effective, once he has gained possession of the ball in the final third of the pitch he is extremely talented at finishing with both his feet and a precise aerial assault, Gregoritsch will certainly play a huge role if the visitors plan on leaving Leipzig with positive points.
FC Augsburg have done quite well during their travels in the first half of the season, scoring an average of 1.3 Goals per match in their last 10 Bundesliga road games.
The Augsburg defense has been tested away from Bavaria Country, conceding and average of 1.4 Goals per match in their last 10 Bundesliga road games.
RB Leipzig have started the new year on a mission after sputtering to end 2017, the Red Bulls have refocused on repeating their 2nd place performance from the 2016-2017 campaign, as the young nucleus of players are battle tested with the will to show they were not one year wonders in the top flight league.
'Die Bullen" start Match Day 22 in 3rd place after grabbing a late 0-1 winner against Monchengladbach on Match Day 21, with a overall record of 10-5-6 the Bulls must continue to add too their total with teams 2-6 only separated by a total of 2 points in the high contested league.
Ralph Hasenhüttl continues too thrive at the head of the Red Bull train, the 2nd year manager has to be considered one of the brightest minds in the league, after leading the newly promoted side to Champions League play in his first year with the club, the Austrian head man has found ways to keep his players engaged, while growing as a cohesive unit as one of the better teams in Europe.
Hasenhüttl has been a proponent for a 4-4-2 - 4-2-2-2 formation, but he has tinkered with a 4-3-3 alignment as of late which could cause even more problems for defenses throughout the league, his philosphy of play consists of heavy ball possession while spending much of their time in the opponents side of the pitch, expect the Red Bulls to create the majority of their chances on goal down the wings, while using a creative short passing game and technical through balls to their clinical trigger men.
Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer, Naby Keita and Yussuf Poulsen are all key contributors in the Red Bulls plan of attack, each are pacey with the ability to finish when given the best opportunity to succeed, with 27 combined Goals scored in all competitions, we should expect to see any of the quartet on the score sheet during the 90 minute shift on Match Day 22.
RB Leipzig have been highly effective finding the back of the net while at Red Bull Arena, scoring an average of 2.1 Goals in their first 10 Bundesliga home games.
The Leipzig back-end have been vulrneable to allowing their visitors on the score sheet, conceding 1.2 Goals per match in their first 10 Bundesliga home games.
Leipzig will be eager to assume a bit of revenge from a 1-0 loss to Augsburg on Match Day 5, while grabbing all 3 points in their chase for league supremacy.
The hosts have proven to be a tough side to beat on their own pitch, failing to lose in 9 of their last 10 home matches in Bundesliga play, while scoring in double figures in 8 of those same 10 fixtures.
Augsburg must look to attack Leipzig's deficiency to stop productive counter attacking teams, the Bavarian's should have their best shot of getting on the score sheet through this method of play.
Leipzig will present a host of problems to the visitors in this particular game, the Red Bulls will spend much of match in Augsburg's side of the pitch, while creating a mass amount of shots on goal which should eventually see multiple break through's, the home side are sure to leave Round 22 with a plentiful of goals added too their goal tally, as they continue their excellent run of form at home.
This fixture has all the makings of a 2-1 score-line, as the guests should net at least 1 Goal away from Bavarian country, while the Home side are in line to make it 9 out 11 Home games with 2 plus goals netted at Red Bull Arena.
RB Leipzig +125 / 2.25 - 1st Half Winner
Goal Scored In Both Halves -135 / 1.74
Over 1 -125 / 1.8 - Total 1st Half Goal
Over 2.5 -120 / 1.83 - Total Full Game Goals
RB Leipzig To Win and Over 2.5 Goals +155 / 2.55
RB Leipzig - Team Total Over 1.5 -125 / 1.8 - Goals
Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals +105 / 2.05
Spain - La Liga - Match Day 23
15801 Athletic Bilbao - 15802 Las Palmas
San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
2-9-2018 - 3:00 pm ET
The Islanders of Las Palmas make the long journey too the Basque Country on Match Day 23, the Lions of Athletic Bilbao await them as they look to take advantage of the visitors poor run of form in La Liga Santander this season.
Las Palmas will make the trip on a high note, having defeated fellow cellar dwellers Malaga 1-0 in the dying moments on Monday, the Canaries have been a better side in the new year, recording 2 victories in a other wise relegation bound campaign.
The Canary Islanders own the 19th position in the table with a dreadful 5-2-15 record to date, with 17 points collected through the first 21 rounds of play, Las Palmas own a staggering -33 Goal Differential which has resulted in their current standing.
Paco Jémez was summoned to rescue the faltering club, after serving a half a season in Liga MX with Cruz Azul, the Las Palmas native has found a mixture of success as the 3rd manager to hold the distinction during the season.
Jémez has brought his ball possession style of play back to Spain, the Spaniard also enjoys seeing a heavy amount of long balls over the defense with his team producing a high amount of shots on goal, the new head man also employs a high pressing style of defense on the other side of the ball, with such aggressive tactic's his teams have been known to fatigue earlier than normal, which can lead to mistakes on the back-end and a flurry of goals being produced.
The visitors have transformed to a 4-3-3 formation with the arrival of their new manager, Jonathan Calleri and Jonathan Viera have been top performers in this underwhelming season.
Viera has been a consistent play-maker for the Islanders for several years, the Attacking Midfielder sets the tone for the Las Palmas offense with his creative dribbling skills and on-point passing, Jémez will once again ask his most accomplished player to play a pivotal role in the Basque country.
Jonathan Calleri will look to play off of Viera's unique service abilities, the Argentine continues to make his mark in Spain's top flight league, the skilled striker has netted 8 Goals in all competitions, the tally's man is most effective in Aerial situations and in counter attacking spots, the Islanders will also lean on their talented Forward if they are to leave the Cathedral with points towards their survival.
Las Palmas have been more than challenged to find the back of the net away from the Canary Islands, failing to get on the score-line in 9 of their 11 visits away from home, while scoring an average of 0.4 Goals per match in their last 11 La Liga road games.
The Las Palmas defense has been the true Achilles heel of the club during this forgettable season, conceding an average of 2.6 Goals per match in their last 11 La Liga road games.
Athletic Bilbao have been less than spectacular to start the new year, after falling to newly promoted Girona 2-0 on Match Day 22, the hosts have only picked up 6 points out of a possible 18, the Lions must continue to try and find consistency in what has been a trying season with the departure of Ernesto Valverde to Barcelona this past Summer.
Bilbao have been regular top ten performers in La Liga, but with a overall record of 6-9-7 the Basque club own the 13th spot in the table with 27 points, fortunately the Lions do possess a high amount of quality players within their squad, we should expect the Famous side to make a run at some point in the final stages of the 2017-2018 campaign.
José Ángel Ziganda has found replacing Ernesto Valverde a harder task than anticipated, the former Bilbao Center Forward made the transition to coaching like many former players do in Spain, after serving as the manager with with Bilbao's "B" team, Ziganda got the promotion as the first team coach for the 2017-2108 campaign.
Ziganda has struggled to get the best out of his squad on a weekly basis, playing out of a 3-5-2 formation the Lions have found Goals hard to come by, Bilbao prefer to attack down the right hand side of the pitch, while looking to take long shots as their main form of offense.
The Basque side are also proficient in Set Pieces and Direct Free Kick situations, they are extremely talented in the air which lead have lead to a majority of their goals on the season.
Aritz Aduriz, Inaki Williams and Raul Garcia are positioned to have big games on Friday, the trio have under-performed like much of the squad based on their talents, but against a poorest Las Palmas back-end the Bilbao attackers find themselves in a perfect spot to build their confidence, while getting on the score-sheet in front of their loyal fans at the Cathedral.
Inaki Williams will give the Islanders defenders a long day with his explosive pace, the Spanish Attacking Midfielder has to be consider the Lions most well rounded player, with 8 Goals and 4 Assists complied in all competitions, Williams continues to grow his overall game with the potential to be a Star on the European landscape.
Aritz Aduriz and Raul Garcia are considered the crafty veterans on the club, with Garcia assuming more of the play-making role as Aduriz is widely known as one of the best all time strikers in Spain, with 25 Combined Goals scored in all competitions, Las Palmas will have their full focus on marking the deadly tandem.
Athletic Bilbao have struggled to light up the score board while at the Cathedral this campaign, scoring a pedestrian 0.8 Goals per match in their last 10 La Liga home games.
The Bilbao defense has been more than respectful while in front of their adoring fans, keeping 6 cleans sheets while conceding an average of 0.6 Goals per match in their last 10 La Liga home games.
Athletic Bilbao have made San Mamés a fortress, failing to loss in 25 of their last 28 La Liga matches, while traditionally feasting on their Southern foes when Las Palmas make the long journey to the Basque Country.
Bilbao have scored at least 2 Goals against the Islanders in the last 3 matches on their own pitch, while seeing the Total Exceed 2.5 Goals in the last 4 matches played between these two clubs at the Cathedral.
Las Palmas have also struggled in general away from the Canary Islands this season, conceding 2 Plus Goals in their last 8 away fixtures, making this a worry-some spot for the struggling club.
Athletic Bilbao must take advantage of Las Palmas on Match Day 23, expect to see plenty of attacking football on display, with both sides generating a number of shots on goal, with the home team having a decided advantage in set pieces and long shot placements, Goals should be generated through these methods of play.
Even with the visitors failing to score in 8 of their last 9 away matches, I still anticipate as least 1 goal being posted by Las Palmas in this particular event, with a likely final score of 3-1 to start the round in Spain's top flight league.
Over 1 -135 / 1.74 - Total 1st Half Goal
Over 1.5 -110 / 1.91 - Total 2nd Half Goals
Over 2.75 -120 / 1.83 - Total Full Game Goals
Athletic Bilbao -110 / 1.91 - 1st Half Winner
Athletic Bilbao -1.25 -105 / 1.95 - Full Fame Spread
Athletic Bilbao - Team Total Over 2 -110 / 1.91 - Goals
Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals +110 / 2.1
Athletic Bilbao To Win and Over 2.5 Goals +110 / 2.1
France - Ligue 1 - Match Day 25
16201 St. Etienne - 16202 Marseille
2-9-2018 - 2:45 pm ET
Over 1 -130 / 1.77 - Total 1st Half Goal
Over 1.5 -110 / 1.91 - Total 2nd Half Goals
Over 2.5 -125 / 1.8 - Total Full Game Goals
St. Etienne - Team Total Over 1 -110 / 1.91 - Goal
Marseille - Team Total Over 1.5 -120 / 1.83 - Goals
Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals +100 / 2.0
Best Of Luck To All