Angel Di Maria has already scored what may prove Paris Saint-Germain’s most important goal of the season. With seconds remaining against Napoli in a vital Champions League encounter at Parc des Princes, the Argentine took aim from the edge of the box and bent in a brilliant shot that allowed Thomas Tuchel’s men to pinch […]
So, we’re in November. Arsenal sit in 4th place, with 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses from their opening 10 league games – 1 point above bitter rivals Tottenham. In the Europa League the Gunners have a perfect record and have all but qualified following their win in Lisbon last week. It’s a more […]
As Manchester United continue to struggle for results, it is widely rumoured that Jose Mourinho’s side will be in the market for a quality centre-back this January. Two names from Serie A continue to be linked to a move to Old Trafford in Inter’s Milan Skriniar and Nikola Milenkovic from Fiorentina, but who are they? […]
Unlike the FA Cup, the DFB-Pokal in Germany sees the country’s biggest teams enter the tournament at the first round. As a result, lower league sides can welcome Champions League contenders to grounds capable of holding 100s of supporters rather than tens of thousands.
Regionalliga West side SVRödinghausen’s reward for defeating Dynamo Dresden in the first round is a game with Bayern Munich, a huge draw for a side that was playing in the ninth tier less than a decade ago. The DFB-Pokal always sees the lower ranked team host the game, so Bayern’s bus will be travelling to the 2,489 capacity Hacker-Wiehenstadion on Tuesday night.
Bayern head coach Niko Kovac has decided to use the game to have a closer look at four youth players, with Meritan Shabani, Paul Will and Wooyeong Jeong joining the senior panel, while goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl could be in line to start due to Sven Ulreich’s absence. Manuel Neuer’s deputy will play no part as his wife is due to give birth.
Of these players, Fruchtl is available on Football Index at a price of £0.56 (here) and could be worth looking at if Kovac decides to go with youth rather than experience in goal.
However, despite the young players joining up with the senior squad, Kovac will probably field a starting XI of familiar names, especially after Bayern Munich had to battle to beat fourth-tier side SV Drochtersen/Assel in the first round.
The same is true of many teams, who will continue to play their strongest sides or have limited rotation. The DFB-Pokal is a great way to qualify for Europe, as shown by Eintracht Frankfurt’s run to the trophy last season.
Wolfsburg could see Congolese defender Marcel Tisserand get a rare start this season, but coach Bruno Labbadia is likely to keep faith with Wout Weghorst in attack as they look to overcome Hannover. Hertha Berlin travel to Darmstadt, having been given a tricky draw in the second round. They will have some rotation as they look to compete for a European spot via the Bundesliga and are likely to see former Manchester City youth Javairo Dilrosun back in the first team.
Borussia Dortmund face Union Berlin on Wednesday, with defender Lukasz Piszczek ruled out. That could see a shift in the back four, with the possibility of Raphael Guerreiro starting at left-back or else Omer Toprak be given a rare start. Marius Wolf is also in contention to start in midfield, while Mario Gotze could be retained after finally breaking into Lucien Favre’s lineup.
Favre was reluctant to give much away in his pre-match press conference, hinting at the possibility of rotation but making no firm commitments: “There will probably be a few changes, but that’s not certain yet.”
He did confirm that star striker Paco Alcacer was back in training, but is unlikely to risk him in the cup with Borussia Dortmund challenging for the Bundesliga title thanks to Bayern Munich’s inconsistent form.
The big news emerging from the Werder Bremen camp ahead of their tie with SC Weiche-08 is the imminent debut of American teenager Josh Sargent. The forward was not eligible to play last season as he was under 18, but is finally on the verge of breaking into the Werder squad after impressing with their under-23 panel. He is currently trading at £1.39 here.
“Josh has been playing regularly for the Under-23s and now he’s fighting for a place in the first-team squad,” coach Florian Kohfeldt told reporters at the pre-game press conference. “We’ll see when he can achieve that.”
Wednesday also sees the two biggest games of the round take place as RB Leipzig host Hoffenheim and Borussia Monchengladbach take on Bayer Leverkusen. With places in the last 16 on the line, expect all four teams to stick with their big names to try to advance
Aaron Ramsey is again amongst the headlines after telling the media he has no idea why Arsenal withdrew their contract offer (here). It seems he’s very keen to tell the fans, it is not his decision to walk away from the club. As the situation continues to intrigue the media, you can expect Ramsey to notch […]
Real Madrid’s 5-1 defeat by Barcelona will today be followed by the inevitable sacking of the club’s beleaguered coach, Julen Lopetegui who was already a dead man walking even before Sunday afternoon’s humiliation. In truth the fate of the former Spanish coach was effectively sealed when his side lost to Alaves on October 6, a […]
Here are today’s eligible fixtures: Premier League Spurs v Man City | 20:00 Serie A Lazio v Inter | 19:30 Single Match Day Payouts Top Defender: £0.04 Top Midfielder: £0.04 Top Forward: £0.04 Star Player: £0.02 Goal & Assist Dividends Goal: £0.02 Assist: £0.005 More info here What are Match Day Rankings? Click here to […]
It may not look like it after a glance at the league table or midweek European results, but there is more to Ligue 1 than Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and their Paris Saint-Germain team-mates.
The French top flight is in the rather embarrassing position of being effectively over by mid-October due to the unprecedented dominance of Thomas Tuchel’s side, who have lined themselves up for a record-breaking campaign domestically. In conjunction with the horrible inconsistency of the other traditional big guns, has seen them open up an eight-point lead at the summit.
But while traders will find the Parc des Princes club as the obvious stopping point to take advantage of the Goal and Assist Dividends that are on offer for the next month, there are other options that could prove profitable elsewhere in the league.
Leading the way, of course, is Kylian Mbappe, whose 11 decisive actions – nine goals and two assists -stands as a leading figure in Europe’s top-five leagues. He is tied in this regard with Lionel Messi, out injured currently, and one ahead of Neymar.
Nicolas Pepe (here) of Lille shows that PSG do not have a monopoly on the league’s offensive production, however. Barcelona, Arsenal and Bayern Munich have all been linked with the speedy 23-year-old, whose tally of seven goals means that he is already more than halfway to beating last term’s 13.
Throw in four assists, and he is level with Neymar going into the weekend in terms of goals directly produced.
Compared to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who Lille coach Christophe Galtier moulded into the prolific scorer Arsenal enjoy today, the Ivory Coast international was tipped this week by team-mate Jose Fonte to make it to the very top of the game – as long as he continues to work hard in training.
What has been evident from the winger this season is more maturity and greater efficiency, which, in a system perfectly suited to his style, has allowed him to be prolific.
Club-mate Jonathan Bamba has proven an excellent foil, with seven goals and an assist, too.
Just as Lille lean heavily on this duo for their goals, Marseille are reliant upon Dimitri Payet (here) and Florian Thauvin (here) to help them find the net. Both have directly contributed nine times via goals or assists through the first 10 weeks of the campaign.
World Cup-winner Thauvin has been the more prolific player, having found the net seven times, but Payet is leading Ligue 1 in terms of assists with five.
On Sunday, OM have the unenviable task of tackling PSG at Stade Velodrome, where they will try to end a record winless streak of 17 games against their great rivals. Thauvin may miss the match injured, which will leave Payet shouldering a huge offensive burden.
Elsewhere in the league, Strasbourg have proven to be surprisingly proficient going forward. Head coach Thierry Laurey is known first and foremost as a pragmatic, but his team have 18 goals for the campaign and have been rather attacking in their outlook.
South African striker Lebo Mothiba (here) may only have played 606 minutes, but he has already tallied six goals and chipped in with an assist.
Team-mate Nuno da Costa, however, is considered Strasbourg’s most important offensive cog. He may only have four goals, but much of their best play flows through him, and has three assists as a consequence.
Racing have one of the kinder Ligue 1 fixtures lists before the end of November, too, with matches against bottom side Guingamp, out-of-sorts Toulouse and struggling Nimes.
In terms of others in this regard who are worth keeping an eye on, Montpellier striker Andy Delort (here) is coming back into some form after several difficult campaigns. He notched 12 goals with Caen in 2015-16, has four in his last four with in-form Montpellier and is striking up a promising relationship with Gaetan Laborde.
From the lower half of the table, meanwhile, Amiens attacker Saman Ghoddos (here) is a player who caught the eye of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger last season while playing with Ostersunds in the Europa League, and the Iran star has three goals and a couple of assists for his side already this season, looking very impressive in the process.
Even if the title race is a foregone conclusion in France, Ligue 1 still has plenty of subplots to keep it interesting
Here are today’s eligible fixtures: Bundesliga Freiburg v Borussia M’gladbach | 19:30 La Liga Real Valladolid v Espanyol | 20:00 Ligue 1 Nimes v Saint-Etienne | 19:45 Single Match Day Payouts Top Defender: £0.04 Top Midfielder: £0.04 Top Forward: £0.04 Star Player: £0.02 Goal & Assist Dividends Goal: £0.02 Assist: £0.005 More info here What […]