Domestic football returns after the International break, and here are a few key stats and tactical points to help pick apart your best bets on Friday night, as we look at ties in both Germany and France.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen:
9th place Frankfurt host 7th place Leverkusen on Friday as domestic football returns to Germany. The bookies have priced this one up expecting a lot of goals, and the underlying stats with this one makes it hard to argue. Frankfurt’s Expected Goals (xG) per game is 1.7 for and 1.4 against, whilst Leverkusen are operating at a similar level at 1.5 for and 1.4 against expected. To reinforce this further, both sides are seeing a similar return in actual goals, with Frankfurt’s games averaging 3 goals and Leverkusen’s 2.9.
Frankfurt play a unique 3-4-3 formation with Hasebe looking to play very deep as a sweeper when on the ball, as well as often looking to implement a high line to condense the play and force the opposition back when pressed up the pitch in possession. However, they are coming up against an attack that possess good pace out wide in Leon Bailey and Kai Havertz, as well as in form striker in Kevin Volland, who has netted four in seven league games this season. It is hard to see Frankfurt shutting out the Leverkusen attack, and given that they will be afforded the space to impact the game in these key areas, it is no surprise to see such a short price on Leverkusen to score.
Leverkusen’s form at the back has also been patchy, and will be without influential Chilean midfield Charles Aranguiz, who has been a rock in central midfield, particularly with his defensive contributions. In his seven Bundesliga games this season, he is averaging 2.3 tackles and 1.7 interceptions, whilst his ability on the ball is shown by his 75 passes completed on average per game at 86% pass completion, and his replacement will have to provide an all round role to both link the play, as well as contribute defensively. Kerim Demirbay is expected to replace him, and although he will be able to help fill the gap on the ball, his defensive contribution isn’t as convincing, and could be an area Frankfurt look to expose.
In search for value, taking a pick on an anytime goal scorer could be advised, given that Over 2.5 goals is best priced at 13/25 (MarathonBet). Volland (13/8 Unibet), Andre Silva (9/5 SkyBet) and Goncalo Paciencia (12/5 Betfair) are in form, with the latter two both netting three this season, and strong arguments for them finding the back of the net can be made.
However, one stand out in the goal market is Filip Kostic (7/2 Betfair), who despite not netting in the league this season, is under-performing his xG (1.12), and isn’t afraid to take on a shot, attempting an average of 3.83 per 90 minutes. Frankfurt will look to utilise the 3-4-3 by creating overloads at the back post from crosses, and coming up against four at the back allows them to do so. Bailey and Havertz’s defensive contributions can be at times questionable, and Frankfurt will look to use this to isolate the Leverkusen full backs, and should lead to Kostic getting an opportunity.
A tight game to call a winner on, at time of writing best prices are:
Eintracht Frankfurt – 39/20 (Marathon Bet)
Draw – 72/25 (Marathon Bet)
Bayer Leverkusen – 13/10 (William Hill)
Nice v PSG:
Table topping PSG travel to Patrick Vieira’s Nice side as they look to make it eight wins out of ten against a Nice side lying in 9th, who are without a win in their last three.
The stand out from this game is the injury to Neymar for PSG, who has come up with vital goals in a number of games over the past weeks, particularly against resolute defences. It is worth approaching PSG with caution as a result, but despite Neymar missing, I still feel they have enough to comfortably beat this Nice side.
The PSG back four has been in imperious form despite a long injury list at times; only conceding in three games in the league this season for a total of four goals, and they are well suited to do so again against a Nice attack averaging an xG of 1.1 this season. Their forward line is led by Kasper Dolberg, who’s form has been inconsistent since his move from Ajax in the summer, netting twice in five games. Stopping creative midfielder Wylan Cyprien will also be imperative to stopping the attacking threat from Nice, and he is comfortably above his teammates statistically speaking. With three goals and two assists, he averages 2.9 shots per game, 1.7 key passes. Nice look to build from the back, linking through to Cyprien in this style, so if PSG cut off this supply, they could quickly run out of ideas.
In Marco Veratti and Idrissa Gueye, PSG have two midfielders perfectly place to fulfil this role, and as a result I expect to see one of these two instructed to simply sit on the French midfielder to stem the flow, and if this is done effectively, it becomes hard to see Nice creating enough opportunities. Factoring in this, plus the fact that PSG’s xG against is at 0.5 this season, PSG to nil could represent value at 28/17 (Sporting Bet).
Once again it is worth looking at the goalscoring markets on this game, and the stand outs from PSG are Kylian Mbappe (1/1 BetVictor) and Mauro Icardi (13/10). PSG are underperforming their xG of 2.5, only averaging 1.9 goals per game, but as Icardi grows in confidence and fitness, I expect to see the Argentine add to his first PSG goal previous to the international break. Pablo Sarabia has begun to settle in the front three for PSG, and his creative output, alongside Angel Di Maria, is growing with every game. The combination of these two players should provide enough to break down a Nice defence that will look to stay compact, whilst the pace of Kylian Mbappe adds another dimension to the attack. Icardi will relish having this attacking talent alongside him, and represents good value at 13/10.
PSG are favourites and understandably so, and at time of writing best prices are:
PSG – 49/100 (Marathon Bet)
Draw – 19/5 (Marathon Bet)
Nice – 13/2 (Bet365)
These two games will be covered on the newest episode of the Weekly Wager Podcast, so be sure to check us out on Twitter and Spotify as we preview plenty of action over the weekend!