After a week of international humdrum (or entertainment, depending on how you see it), domestic football returns for a long Easter weekend.
And what a weekend it is. We’ve got table-topping clashes throughout the continent as some of Europe’s elite go head-to-head, mouthwatering ties in which the best of the rest are vying for European contention, and even a tasty Yorkshire Derby between two white rose sides going in seemingly opposite directions.
All four tips this weekend are for today, a true festival of football throughout Europe’s major leagues, and four highly researched tips to keep an eye on throughout the day.
So without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
The earliest of the day’s kick-offs comes from Serie A as 6th placed Roma travel to the Mapei Stadium to face 8th placed Sassuolo.
Both sides went into the international break on the back of defeats — Roma losing to Napoli and Sassuolo losing to lowly Torino — and will therefore be desperate to return to winning ways for the final push for European football. Roma will be hoping to push into the Champions League places while Sassuolo, 10 points off their visitors, are probably too far adrift.
It’s unlikely to dent their spirit, however, and the Roberto De Zerbi’s side will look to fly out the blocks and attack Roma — they know nothing else.
This fixture points heavily towards the corners market. Sassuolo’s performances against sides above them this season have usually been thrillers (win, lose or draw) and their attacking instincts often produce a high number of shots, crosses and subsequent corners. Roma, meanwhile, will seriously fancy themselves to take advantage of a leaky Sassuolo defence and rekindle their momentum into the final straight.
I Neroverdi’s last 4 games against sides above them have produced, on average 11.25 corners per match from 32.75 total crosses. Overall, games at the Mapei Stadium average 12 corners, whilst I Giallorossi’s away days average 9.62.
Not long after things kick-off in Italy, game number two gets underway in Germany. Another clash between European hopefuls as Borussia Dortmund host Eintracht Frankfurt at the Signal Iduna Park.
It’s Frankfurt that are in the commanding position for this one. An 11-game unbeaten streak rocketed Adi Hutter’s side into the Champions League places before defeat to Werder Bremen. They have recovered to go another three unbeaten and are holding strong in 4th.
Dortmund are only one place behind however, and a win in at home can take them within one point of their hosts this afternoon, so they will be desperate to end the day with all three points. They’ve won three of their last five, and drew against FC Koln in the final game before the break.
The final result notwithstanding, a game of this nature between these two sides is likely to produce goals, and will hopefully be a thriller. Dortmund are the 2nd highest scorers in the league, averaging 2.04 goals per game from an xG/90 of 2.00.
Frankfurt, in comparison, aren’t far behind. They are the 3rd highest scorers with an average of 1.85 goals per 90 from an xG/90 of 1.66. Die Adler have also scored in all but one of their league games this season — a 5–0 hammering at Bayern Munich.
On an individual level, these two sides have two of the most prolific front-men in the Bundesliga. Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is operating at an incredible 1.06 goals per 90 minutes whilst Frankfurt’s Andre Silva averages 0.93 goals per 90 — still an incredible record. Both are eclipsed only by Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski (1.50 goals per 90).
Again, just half an hour later (they’re really packed in today) we travel to Dortmund’s sister city: Leeds, as the Whites host the Blades for the pride of Yorkshire.
It’s Leeds who will be going into this afternoon’s derby full of confidence. They’re 11th and went into the international break on the back of a 2–1 win at Fulham. It wasn’t too long ago that Sheffield won against Aston Villa, it was just their 4th win of the season however, and they are rock-bottom.
Steel City misery was compounded when long-time manager and club legend Chris Wilder was sacked following their loss to Southampton. He was replaced by Paul Heckingbottom who, coincidentally, was the last manager at Leeds before the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa.
During the week three more long-time staff left Sheffield, with first-team coach and Head of Sport Science Matt Prestridge, goalkeeper coach Darren Ward and performance analyst Mike Allen all departing. As the Blades continue to transition from their post-Wilder era, and staff continue to turnover, performances on the field are sure to be affected significantly.
Leeds will be hoping to take advantage of the unrest in their rivals ranks this afternoon and really get one over on Sheffield. They’re averaging 1.52 goals per 90 minutes this season from an xG/90 of 1.50. Furthermore, they have scored 12 goals in 4 games against the bottom three so far.
Leeds’ hunger for goals combined with Sheffields’ unrest is likely to only go one way, and with Patrick Bamford still hoping to impress Gareth Southgate before the Euros expect the front-man to be sharp in front of goal.
A quick break in play gives us the chance to head back to Germany as RB Leipzig host Bayern Munich in what is likely to be one of the most significant games of the Bundesliga season.
Julien Nagelsmann’s side are four points behind Bayern in 2nd and know that a win can put them within touching distance of their visitors. They will know that anything other than a win will almost certainly hand the title to their opposition who only have Wolfsburg left, from the top-four, to play in their remaining seven games.
Hansi Flick’s Bayern, on the other hand, will be fully aware that a win will take them seven points clear with seven games left in their hunt for a 9th consecutive title.
The current German, European and World Club champions have won their last four, scoring 16 in the process, whilst the contenders go into this afternoon’s game on an eight game unbeaten run — winning seven of those and scoring 17.
Both sides’ success has come from a heavy reliance on attacking. Leipzig have averaged 1.92 goals per game at home this season, whilst Bayern have averaged 2.15 on their travels (from an xG per game of 2.22 and 1.90 respectively). Additionally, Leipzig have only failed to score on two occasions this season, whilst Bayern are yet to draw a blank all season.
We’ll all be hoping for a repeat of the reverse fixture in December which saw six goals and points shared at the Allianz Arena. Both sides will be hoping to take all three points and carry momentum into their title charge, making this a mouthwatering Saturday afternoon clash.
At 4.06/1 this FOUR-FOLD is looking good for a big weekend winner. As always, the research and the numbers speak for themselves, and whilst nothing is guaranteed, the level of research puts us in a strong position for a solid acca.
It’s sure to be another incredible weekend of football across Europe, full of season-defining performances and results. Which way any of these will go is hard to determine, but one thing is for sure… it’s gonna be a fun one.
As always, enjoy your weekends, and let's see how it goes!
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