It was almost the perfect start to the punting season in Europe as we managed to correctly call nine out of 10 matches last weekend. The bookmakers stole their lead over the punters, but it’s time to make amends after getting a closer look at all the teams across the globe.
Lyon v Nimes (Friday)
Lyon return to their famous home ground, the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, where they will be looking to build on from their last performance on home soil where they beat Dijon 4-1 in their opening league encounter. The hosts are off the back of a stellar campaign, and despite some of their best players being linked with moves away, they’ve still got one of the finest squads in France. Nimes have suffered back to back defeats in the league, losing their only match on the road this term.
Vojvodina v Radnik Surdulica (Friday)
Last weekend, Vojvodina suffered only their first defeat in the Serbian Super Liga this campaign, but now go back to their home ground, Stadion Karadorde, where they remain unbeaten this season. They’ve won two of their three matches played there this term, while Radnik Surdulica come into this encounter holding a winless streak of six league matches. The visitors have also failed to score in three of their last four matches.
AZ Alkmaar v PEC Zwolle (Saturday)
AZ Alkmaar get their Dutch Eredivisie campaign underway against PEC Zwolle after having their initial opener postponed last week. The hosts have been playing competitive football though, facing Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round after sitting in second spot on goal difference in a season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Zwolle lost their first match 2-0 at home, while AZ Alkmaar had the second-best home record in the division last term.
Sporting CP v FC Gil Vicente (Saturday)
The Portuguese Primeira Liga is another major league that makes its
return this weekend with FC Gil Vicente’s trip to Sporting being the most favourable tie to call. The hosts will be looking to get back into the top three after finishing outside the first three spots for the first time in seven years. Despite it being an underwhelming campaign by their standards, Sporting still managed to win 12 of their 17 home matches – only champions, FC Porto, had won more. Gil Vicente were one of three teams in the league to lose a total of 10 games or more on the road last season, and as much as they would love to rectify their dismal run, away at Sporting may prove to be too tough of a task.
Young Boys v FC Zurich (Saturday)
Young Boys will be gunning a fourth successive Swiss Super League title this season and get their campaign underway at home to a tricky FC Zurich outfit. The champions have been well-clear of the rest in the division, though, and much of that has come down to their superb home form. Mind-blowingly, Young Boys have lost just twice in three seasons on home soil and went the entire campaign unbeaten at home last term. FC Zurich are always capable of an upset on their day, but ended last season dreadfully, losing 5-0 at home to Young Boys too.
HNK Gorica v NK Istra 1961 (Saturday)
After four games in the Croatian top flight, things are starting to take shape with HNK Gorica and NK Istra already having contrasting fortunes. Their form is the complete opposite in the league with Gorica winning all four of their matches played so far, while Istra have lost all four of their ties. More impressively for Gorica is that from their four games, only one has been at home. They’ve banged in goals for fun, while Istra are the lowest scorers in the division, netting just once.
RB Leipzig v Mainz (Sunday)
Leipzig come off the back of yet another stellar season, with the belief growing more and more by the day that they could get even better this time around. Leipzig have shown that no matter which player they sell, the same is demanded from the player replacing the departed superstar, which was evident when the German side knocked Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League without Timo Werner. This will be both sides’ league opener in the German Bundesliga, but with the DFB-Pokal making its return last weekend, players shouldn’t struggle with match-fitness. In terms of this tie, because its at the Red Bull Arena, you have to lean towards Julian Nagelsmann’s men.
Aberdeen v Motherwell (Sunday)
After losing their opening game to Rangers, Aberdeen seem to have turned the corner and look ready to challenge at the top of the Scottish Premiership again. They’ve now won four successive matches in the division, conceding just once in that period. Motherwell won their first game of the season last weekend, but it wasn’t enough to move them off the foot of the table. Motherwell are still winless on the road and are the only team in the top flight yet to score away from their home ground.
Viking FK v Aalesunds (Sunday)
Aalesunds have failed to adjust to life in the top flight of Norway’s Eliteserien, enduring a winless run of six matches in the top flight, including four consecutive defeats. The visitors have also conceded a joint-high 22 goals in just eight matches away from home in the league. Viking FK are unbeaten in their last five games, winning three successive ties. In that run, they also scored 10 goals. In fact, Viking FK have scored more than two goals in three of their last four home encounters.
AC Milan vs Bologna (Monday)
AC Milan will be hoping to kick-start their Italian Serie A campaign off on a great note, especially after ending last season so well, enduring a 12-game unbeaten run to sneak into the UEFA Europa League qualifying round spots. Milan also won each and every one of their friendlies building up to the new Serie A season, while they will also take confidence from their last outing with Bologna, where they were 5-1 victors on the day. Bologna have struggled to establish themselves as a top-half club in the division, and although they’ve been distant from the relegation zone, you get the feeling that they’re just in the top flight to complete numbers.