Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction & Match Preview

FC Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen
UEFA Europa League
Date: Thursday, 14 February 2019
Kick-Off at 17:55 UK/ 18:55 CET
Venue: Stadion FK Krasnodar, Krasnodar

Bayer Leverkusen will look to transfer their excellent Bundesliga form onto the European stage when they travel to FC Krasnodar for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie on Thursday (kick-off 6:55pm CET/5:55pm GMT/12:55pm ET).

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Three successive league wins – in which they have scored 11 goals – have propelled the Werkself back into the top six of the Bundesliga in recent weeks. The form of young midfielders Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz in particular has been central to Bayer’s improvement under new head coach Peter Bosz: Brandt has been directly involved in six goals in his last three league appearances, while Havertz’s goal in Friday’s 5-1 triumph at Mainz took him to eight for the season – more than he managed in the previous two campaigns combined. Bosz has no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Russia, although the Dutchman will once again have to make do without captain Lars Bender, who is struggling with a thigh problem.

Krasnodar are without former Fortuna Düsseldorf and Nuremberg left-back Cristian Ramirez, who was sent off in their 3-0 group-stage defeat to Sevilla in December – the Russian club’s last competitive outing prior to a winter break which ends at the start of March. Midfielder Yury Gazinsky, who has played every minute of the hosts’ Europe League campaign so far, also misses out after picking up his third yellow card of the tournament in Spain. Former Arsenal player Kristoffer Olsson, who joined Krasnodar from AIK in January, is eligible to play.

FC Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen: Head-to-head

The sides have never met beforehand and now look for historic success over the rivals. Krasnodar have proven their character at this ground on many occasions already. Bayer Leverkusen come as slight favourites but have a lot to prove as they want to deny the home side – something Sevilla, Standard Liege, and Akhisarspor all failed to do.

Match stats:

Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last five games against Russian clubs in Europe.
The Werkself have lost only two of their last ten European away games (W4 D4).
Leverkusen scored 10 goals in their three away games in the group stage.
In the Bundesliga, Bayer have won more points on the road (17) than at home (16) this season.
The Russian Premier League’s second-placed side have lost five of their six games against German opposition, their only victory coming against Borussia Dortmund in the 2015/16 Europa League group stage.
Krasnodar left-back Ramirez made 23 Bundesliga 2 appearances for Düsseldorf and Nuremberg between 2013 and 2015.

Probable line-ups:

Krasnodar: Kritsyuk – Petrov, Martynovich (c), Fjoluson, Stotskiy – Olsson, Kabore, Pereyra – Wanderson, Ari, Claesson
Doubtful: –
Out: Ramirez, Gazinsky (both suspended)
Coach: Oleg Fomenko

Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Havertz, Aranguiz, Brandt – Bellarabi, Volland (c), Bailey
Doubtful: –
Out: L. Bender (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz

Preview:

Krasnodar have lost all their meetings but only had a single victory with Germans while Bayer is unbeaten in the last 5 fixtures and has lost just 2 of their last 10 European away fixtures.

Prediction: Bet Bayer Leverkusen to win

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Duisburg vs Darmstadt Predictions and Match Preview

Duisburg vs Darmstadt
Germany- 2. Bundesliga.
Date: Friday, 1st February 2019.
Kick-Off at 17:30 UK/ 18:30 CET
Venue: Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena (Duisburg).

When two teams at the bottom half of the table are going against each other it is quite hard to predict an exact result. The Zebras are on a 4 match losing streak in the league and are the low scoring teams with 16 goals. No wonder they are in the relegation zone after losing 11 of their 18 league matches. More than 2.5 goals came in those 4 previous matches and they have scored only 3 goals in all those matches. At home also they are on a 3 match losing run withal those games having a total score with over 2.5 goals. They have conceded in 6 of their last 7 competitive matches in front of their home crowd. The team from Duisburg needs to improve their form at home for starters if they wish to stay at this level in the next season too. The visitors are also without a win in their 6 previous matches on the row. More than 2.5 goals were scored in 5 of their previous 7 matches across all venues. They fail to secure points ion away games too, as they are winless in 7 matches on the road. Five of them were defeats against stronger opposition.

The Lillies are just 6 points above their opponents for Thursday, but in terms of recent form, they both almost equal. After a disappointing 6-2 away defeat to Paderborn, Dirk Schuster’s side has a chance to get some points against the Zebras.

Team News

Duisburg:

Kevin Wolze should switch to the right of the back-four to replace the suspended Andreas Wiegel.
Young-Jae Seo challenges Enis Hajiri for the spot at left-back.
Stanislav Iljutcenko and John Verhoek return from their one-match bans and provide further options in attacking positions.

Darmstadt:

Tim Rieder and Sandro Sirigu compete for the spot at right-back.
Tobias Kempe challenges Marvin Mehlem for the spot in attacking midfield.
Otherwise, manager Dirk Schuster is unlikely to make any unforced changes.

Duisburg vs Darmstadt: Head-to-head (h2h):

The Lillies have won 4 of the last 5 h2h matches against this opposition.
They have never failed to score against the Zebras in any of their competitive clashes.
In 4 of those 5 games between these two sides, the final score had more than 2.5 goals.
Darmstadt has won both the h2h matches held here against the hosts.
Both those matches at this venue had over 2.5 goals at the full time.

Duisburg vs Darmstadt: Prediction

The home team has conceded in 6 of their 7 recent games in front of their own fans. Lillies have also given away goals in all their 7 previous matches away from home too. So based on both their poor defensive track record, we can bet on both sides to score with 1.80 odds.

Darmstadt has won both the h2h matches against the hosts at this ground. They have dominated against this opposition in all previous h2h meetings too. Also since the Zebras are on a 4 match losing streak, we can bet on a Double chance for a draw or away team to win with 1.66 odds.

Bet Darmstadt  AH (0)  Odds 2.1

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Valencia vs Getafe Prediction & Match Preview

Valencia vs Getafe
Copa del Rey
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Kick-off at 20:30 UK/ 21:30 CET
Venue: Estadio de Mestalla (Valencia).

Getafe are enjoying a strong season and they are in good shape to make it even better by knocking Valencia out of the Copa del Rey. The club from just outside Madrid lead this quarter-final tie 1-0 on aggregate after a goal from substitute Jorge Molina in the 77th minute of the opening leg. Avoiding defeat at the Mestalla Stadium would be therefore good enough to send Getafe into the last four and dreaming of a third appearance in the final of the King’s Cup, emulating their achievements of 2007 and 2008 when they lost to Sevilla and Valencia respectively. Sixth in La Liga table, Pepe Bordalas’ side are one place and two points ahead of Valencia who have improved their home form considerably with seven wins and two draws in their last nine matches at the Mestalla. The ratio of recent victories suggests Los Che are capable of turning around this tie, but it should also be considered that Getafe have won four of their last six matches and their latest defeat to Atletico Madrid was their first away from home since the very first weekend of the season – at Real Madrid. That ability to grind out results on their travels means the club nicknamed the Azulones should not be underestimated here and we will back them to avoid defeat and progress to the semi-finals.

Valencia vs Getafe Head-to-head

Getafe has been successful in recent h2h meetings with Valencia as they picked 3 wins out of 4 while losing once. Valencia still hold an excellent record against Getafe at the Mestalla having won 7 straight games between 2007 and 2012. However, the Azulones bagged a 2-1 win from their last visit to Mestalla. Both teams scored in 80% of their last 15 h2h encounters at this stadium; and 73% of the games during that period recorded 3 or more goals.

Valencia vs Getafe Prediction

This could be an intriguing battle with both teams hitting top form in recent weeks. Valencia come into this game on the back of an unbeaten home record since November 2018 (7 wins & 2 draws). On top of that, they are in excellent scoring form averaging 2.1 goals per game during that 9-match span. However, the visitors are no pushovers and thus we cannot fully rely on an outright home win or back Valencia to qualify to the semi-final. Remember, a 2-1 home win still push them out of the competition on away goals. While Getafe has been one of the tough teams to beat both home and away this season. Their defeat to Atletico this weekend is the first away defeat since August (5 wins & 7 draws). Another thing to mention is Getafe’s knack of scoring goals on the road. They consistently scored in 11 away games before falling to Simeone’s men 0-2 last time. To sum up, punters can expect some attacking football from the hosts and at the same time put faith in the visitors to grab a goal on the counter.

Bet Getafe AH (+0.5) Odds 2.04

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Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Prediction and Match Preview

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur
England – FA Cup
Date: Sunday, 27 January 2019
Kick-Off at 16:00 UK
Venue: Selhurst Park (London).

Sunday’s action in English FA Cup is going to be opened with the clash between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur. Home side is positioned in the bottom half of the Premier League table and they are only three points ahead of the danger zone. They have tied two defeats and the hosts need to improve their game in order to climb up to the safer zone. Roy Hodgson’s side hasn’t been too efficient in front of the oppositions’ goal as they have produced a total of 23 goals. Crystal Palace cannot be content of their home performances as they’ve managed to book only two wins when playing in front of their fans. The visitors are holding the 3rd position in the Premier League and they are seven points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United. Harry Kane and the lads have been pretty efficient so far in the competition, however the Spurs have a lot of troubles with injuries. They have been in variable form lately as the away side booked three wins and lost two times in the last five rounds. However, their away performances are the best in the league as Tottenham Hotspur managed to get back home with a win from eleven outings

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur: Head-to-head

Tottenham Hotspur have been much more successful in their head to head clashes lately as they managed to beat their rivals five times in a row.

Interestingly, their last six encounters finished with the same result, 1-0. The crowd at Selhurst Park was able to see just one goal per match in the last three occasions

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Perri; Ward, Kelly, Dann, Schlupp; Milivojevic, Kouyate, Meyer; Townsend, Benteke, Zaha

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Gazzaniga; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Winks, Dier, Eriksen; Lucas, Llorente, Lamela

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur: Prediction

Although the visitors are in better form, this one is going another task challenge for them. Tottenham Hotspur are one of the favourites for the FA Cup trophy, however, Crystal Palace might remain undefeated in this one.

We are going to follow the tradition of their head to head clashes and this one should be another low-scoring match. Since the hosts haven’t been involved in a lot of efficient games so far in the season, this one should remain under 2.5 margin.

Bet Crystal Palace AH (+0.25)  Odds 1.83

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Feyenoord vs Ajax Predictions & Match Preview

Feyenoord vs Ajax
Netherlands – Eredivisie
Date: Sunday, 27th January 2019
Kick-off at 13.30 UK/ 14.30 CET
Venue: De Kuip (Rotterdam).

Feyenoord and Ajax both progressed in the KNVB Beker in midweek, and Sunday’s hosts will be hoping their extra day of rest and recuperation means they have the edge against one of their title rivals. Feyenoord are already thirteen points behind the league leaders PSV and that makes this weekends clash with Ajax a must win game if they are to stand any chance of being crowned Eredivisie champions. Ajax missed out on an opportunity to go level with PSV last weekend and wont want to drop points on Sunday for fear of that gap increasing once again.

Feyenoord thrashed Fortuna Sittard 4-1 on Wednesday night, with veteran striker van Persie scoring twice, van Beek netting the third goal, and Berghuis converting the hosts second penalty deep into stoppage time. Fortuna Sittard did equalise through Novakovich early in the second half, but Feyenoord dominated the match with 63% of the overall possession, fifteen corners to their guests three, and twenty-seven shots to Fortuna Sittard’s six.

After drawing 4-4 with Heerenveen in Amsterdam at the weekend, goals were expected when both sides went head to head in the KNVB Beker on Thursday. The hosts Ajax found themselves 3-0 up at halftime thanks to a goal from Mazraoui and a brace from van de Beek, but would have expected their guests to comeback at them during the second forty-five. Heerenveen threatened a late comeback when van Amersfoort pulled a goal back in the eighty-fourth minute and then Lammers was presented with a penalty, only to fluff his lines in the eighty-ninth minute. Ajax were by far the better team and deserved to progress in the KNVB Beker, but that result on adds to the frustration of last weekends 4-4 draw.

These two sides often put on a spectacle when they lock horns and we’re expecting to see goals for both teams and an end to end ninety minutes on Sunday. Four of the last six encounters between Ajax and Feyenoord have seen over 2.5 goals scored, while both teams have scored in five of their last seven matches. When you add those stats to the fact that both teams have scored and over 2.5 goals were scored in four of Feyenoord’s and Ajax’s last six matches in league and cup then you can see just why were backing at least three goals and for both clubs to find the back of the net this weekend.

Former Manchester United and Arsenal striker van Persie top scores for the hosts with eight goals in this seasons Eredivisie, while Tadić is out in front for Ajax at this moment in time with a very impressive twelve goals from midfield. Ajax are unbeaten in their last six matches having picked up five wins and one draw and as such head into Sunday’s game as the form favourites. We’re confident that both teams will score and over 2.5 goals will be produced on Sunday, with the game ending in a 2-2 draw. Both teams have been in good form of late, especially Ajax, but Feyenoord have proven themselves a team for the big occasions, winning the Super Cup against the league leaders and being the only team to beat PSV in the league this season.

Potential Feyenoord line-up: Vermeer, St Juste, Haps, Van der Heijden, Van Beek, Clasie, Vilhena, Van Persie, Larsson, Berghuis, Jorgensen.
Potential Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, De Ligt, Magallán, Blind; Schöne, De Jong, Ziyech; Van de Beek, Dolberg, Tadic

My Prediction: Bet Feyenoord  AH (+1)

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Anderlecht vs Eupen Predictions and Match Preview

Anderlecht vs Eupen
Belgium- First Division A.
Date: Sunday, 27th January 2019.
Kick-Off at 17:00 UK/ 18:00 CET
Venue: Constant Vanden Stock Stadium (Anderlecht).

WIN/DRAW/WIN KEY STATISTICS:

Anderlecht have won 50%, drawn 30% and lost 20% of their last 20 home games. Anderlecht have scored in 85% of their last 20 home games. Anderlecht have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 20 home games, going on to win 4 and draw 1 of these matches. Eupen have won 20%, drawn 15% and lost 65% of their last 20 away games. Eupen have scored in 50% of their last 20 away games. Eupen have kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 2 and draw 2 of these matches.

CORRECT SCORE KEY STATISTICS:

Anderlecht have scored exactly 2 goals in 6 of their last 20 home games, going on to win 4, draw 2 and lose 0 of these matches. Anderlecht have conceded 1 goal or less in 60% of their last 20 home games. Eupen have scored 1 goal or less in 15 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 2, draw 3 and lose 10 of these matches. Eupen have conceded exactly 1 goal in 4 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 1, draw 1 and lose 2 of these matches.

BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE KEY STATISTICS:

Anderlecht have failed to score in 15% of their last 20 home games. Anderlecht have kept a clean sheet in 25% of their last 20 home games. Eupen have failed to score in 50% of their last 20 away games. Eupen have kept a clean sheet in 20% of their last 20 away games.

OVER/UNDER 2.5 GOALS KEY STATISTICS:

In their last 20 home matches, Anderlecht have scored 1.9 goals per game and conceded 1.2 goals per game on average. The last 20 Anderlecht home matches have produced an average of 3.15 goals per game. In their last 20 away matches, Eupen have scored 0.8 goals per game and conceded 1.9 goals per game on average. The last 20 Eupen away matches have produced an average of 2.70 goals per game.

The team from Brussels has had a good start to the league season. They are 5th at the moment after 22 matches have been completed. A healthy 37 goals have been scored by their talented front line, but 28 of them were conceded as well.

Three of their 5 previous matches in the Jupiler League were defeats with the only win coming against Waasland-Beveren. Recent home form has also been a problem for the side managed by Fred Rutten. At this rate, a 3rd place finish as last season looks well out of reach for Fred’s team. Less than 2.5 goals came in the vast majority of their home games in the recent past.

The Pandas are well behind in the title race but had an average season so far. They are mid-table after losing 12 of their 22 league games so far. The defense has been their problem with 39 goals conceded till now.

In the last 5 competitive games, they have 3 wins and 2 defeats. Less than 2.5 goals were scored in 4 of those 5 matches in both Cup and league. With 2 wins and the same number of losses in their last 4 matches on the road, away from is not perfect either.

Since the hosts are struggling a bit at this time, Eupen can get something positive out of this match if they play well.

Anderlecht vs Eupen: Prediction

Anderlecht have been in unstable form recently and they lost 5 out of the last 7 league games. On the other hand, AS Eupen grabbed back-to-back wins of late. So Anderlecht should not earn our favour.

My Prediction:  Bet Eupen AH (+1)   Best odds  2.06

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Angers vs Nantes Prediction & Match Preview

Angers vs Nantes
French Ligue 1
Date: Sunday, 20th January 2018
Kick off at 16:00 UK/ 17:00 CET
Venue: Stade Raymond Kopa (Angers).

This match is known sometimes as the Loire rivalry as the two teams are quite close to one another in terms of distance and so there will be bragging rights and points to be had when they both clash on Sunday afternoon.

Angers lost 2-1 against Bordeaux in midweek and that was the clubs first loss in their last five games. Although it should be noted that their 4 game unbeaten streak was all achieved by four draws. In the reality, the club have struggled this season and are in 15th place and just three points above the relegation zone.

Nantes are just three points in front of Angers and will want to stretch that lead when the teams meet. Nantes lost to Nimes in their last game and have now lost two in a row. Indeed their victory over Montpellier is their only win in the last 4 games and the team are in poor form.

Away from home Nantes have the 3rd worst record in Ligue 1 where from a possible 30 points they have picked up just 8. They come into this game having lost their last 3 in a row on the road.

Angers vs Nantes: Head to Head
Earlier this season in the reverse fixture the teams drew 1-1.
Nantes have won the last 2 games played at Angers.
Angers have not beaten Nantes when at home since 2013.
There is a 70% chance to see under 2.5 goals.
Angers vs Nantes: Prediction
This should be a very close game as we have two teams who have the same qualities and suffer from a lack of confidence.

As the game progresses, we should see some sparks fly as they passion increases as this is a derby.

We will back to see a sending off in the game as pressure mounts and we believe we could see more goals in the 2nd half of play.

Prediction: Bet Nantes to win  Best odds 3.33

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Eintracht vs Wolfsburg Prediction & Match Preview

Eintracht vs Wolfsburg
German Bundesliga
Date: Sunday, 2 December 2018
Kick-Off at 17:00 UK / 18:00 CET
Venue: Commerzbank-Arena (Frankfurt am Main).

Eintracht Frankfurt head into Sunday’s home tie with Wolfsburg in the highest of spirits after continuing their impressive spell of form on Thursday night. They booked the top spot in Group H with a demolishing 4-0 victory over Ligue 1 outfit Olympique Marseille. It was team’s fifth win on the spin in all competitions. Eintracht’s golden run dates back to late-September when they stormed 4-1 past Hannover. The Eagles thus won 10 and drew 1 of past 11 official games across competitions.

Eintracht Frankfurt Form & Team News

The Eagles are flying high at the moment after winning 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions and destroying all before them. The latest was a routine 4-0 home win against Marseille in the UEFA Europe League on Thursday night which made if five from five in Group H. Luka Jovic scored a brace for Eintracht Frankfurt either side of two own goals with the result never in doubt. That victory came after a 3-1 win at Augsburg in the Bundesliga with Jonathan de Guzmán, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic on the score sheet. Manager Adi Hutter boasts one of the best attacks in Europe. Luke Jovic has scored 14 goals with Sebastien Haller close behind on 11 with nine assists. Ante Rebic has chipped in with five goals after starting the season injured.

VfL Wolfsburg Form & Team News

The Wolves have not been convincing but did record a 1-0 home win against Leipzig on Matchday 12. Jérôme Roussillon stroked home with the victory lifting Wolfsburg to 9th position in the Bundesliga. Bruno Labbadia’s side have been missing central midfielders Ignacio Camacho and Josuha Guilavogui this season. More concern came this week with Labbadia confirming that Max Arnold is a major doubt for the match in Frankfurt. The Wolfsburg manager has been persisting with strikers Daniel Ginczek and Wout Weghorst up front. However, creativity from midfield has been lacking and Labbadia needs to find some solutions if they have any hope of challenging for a Europa League position.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Wolfsburg Head-to-Head

Wolfsburg have had the edge over Eintracht Frankfurt in recent seasons with a 17-6 record. The Wolves won 1-0 in Frankfurt last season before the Eagles got their revenge in Wolfsburg with a 3-1 win. Sebastian Haller and Timothy Chandler put Frankfurt 2-0 up and Luka Jovic wrapped it up after Max Arnold pegged a goal back for the hosts.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Wolfsburg Match Up

Eintracht are a different beast from last season with new manager Adi Hutter doing a fantastic job in charge. Frankfurt’s front three of Haller, Jovic and Rebic have been unstoppable and will surely test Wolfsburg’s suspect defence. Wolfsburg are still missing central midfielders Ignacio Camacho and Josuha Guilavogui with Max Arnold also a doubt. That’s bad news especially away from home.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Wolfsburg Key Statistics

Eintracht Frankfurt have won 10 of their last 11 matches (All competitions).
Eintracht Frankfurt have won their last 6 home matches in all competitions.
Eintracht Frankfurt have scored 3 or more goals in their last 5 matches (All competitions).
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Sebastien Haller has scored 8 goals in his last 8 matches.
Wolfsburg have lost 2 of their last 3 matches (Bundesliga).

Eintracht Frankfurt are flying and one of the best teams in Europe on current form. The front three of Haller, Jovic and Rebic are devastating and will create a lot of opportunities at home against Wolfsburg. Frankfurt are currently available at odds of 1.95 which makes no sense and I expect that price to drop by kick-off. Haller is overdue and should get back on the score sheet here.

My prediction:  Bet home team to win   Best odds  1.95

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Orleans vs Brest Predictions and Match Preview

Orleans vs Brest
France – Ligue 2
Date: Friday, 23 November 2018
Kick-off at 19.00 UK/ 20.00 CET
Venue: Stade de la Source (Orléans).

Two teams from the top tier lock horns in this exciting fixture of Ligue 2. Orleans hosts Brest at the La Source as part of their 15th round schedule of second division France Football. Brest occupies the second spot in the table and is right in the mix for promotion. Orleans is at the eighth spot and is trying to get to the playoff zone.

Orleans recorded an away win over Caennaise in their last fixture. The final scoreline read 0-2 in favor of the guests. The match was deadlocked at 0-0 till the 74th minute before the visitors added two goals in the space of four minutes. Perrin and Khoumisti got on the scoresheet for Orleans.

Brest also registered an emphatic win over their opponents in the round of 128 last matchday. The final scoreline was 1-4. Mayi K scored a brace for the visitors, Brest. The only setback in an otherwise perfect game from Brest was the lone consolation goal conceded at the end of the match. The goalkeeper was visibly frustrated as he missed out on a clean sheet.

Orleans vs Brest Head-to-head (h2h)

Brest has recorded two of the last three wins in head-to-head ties.
Orleans has lost two of their last three matches.
Brest is on a run of ten unbeaten matches.
Orleans is winless in five of their last nine home games, four of them losses.
Brest is unbeaten in their last five matches on the road. They have lost only two of their last 17 away games.

Orleans vs Brest Prediction

The visitors will take the three available points from this match. They have dominated the recent head-to-head meetings. Brest registered two of the last three wins in their name.

Brest is currently enjoying a run of ten unbeaten games. Also, on the road, they are on another streak of five unbeaten games. They have lost just two of their last 17 games on the road.

Brest has scored in 16 of their last 18 away games. They also hold the record for scoring the most goals in the league as of now. 28 goals from their 14 ties. Brest will win the match and both the halves.

My prediction:    Bet Brest to win

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Lokomotiv Moscow vs Porto Prediction & Match Preview

Match date: 24th October 2018
Kick-Off: 8.00pm BST
Stadium: RZD Arena, Moscow

Porto currently lead the way in Group D, but they are in the most open group in this season’s Champions League. There is no stand-out side among the four, but as things stand Lokomotiv Moscow are the one side who look out of the running for the last 16. They have a make or break clash with the current leaders on Wednesday, as they welcome Porto. The Dragons have plenty of experience in this competition to back them up, but will they be able to come away from Russia with three points?

The hosts would have looked on at CSKA’s recent victory over Real Madrid and been inspired to kick on in Europe this season. They should have been more competitive in their first two matches, which they lost to Schalke and Galatasaray. This is probably the easiest draw Lokomotiv could have landed, so they have really made a mess of a golden opportunity. Will they be able to pick things up in Wednesday’s game?

Porto do make this trip as odds on favourites, but there are questions around their form ahead of this trip. There was little doubt about the manner of their weekend win, as they crushed minnows Vila Real 6-0 in the Portuguese Cup. That clash did bring them back from the international break with a heavy win, but it was far from a big test of their side. Heading to Moscow is a difficult trip, and it’s going to be awkward for a side who are light up front, with their main frontman, Vincent Aboubakar, ruled out through injury.

The Dragons may head here on the back of a big win, but their real test came before the international break, when they lost to a 10-man Benfica side. Their chances of retaining their title are looking shaky after a mixed start to the campaign, while their European results have been nothing special. They head here with a 1-0 win over Galatasaray and a 1-1 draw at Schalke behind them, and they may have a tough time getting a result here.

On the road in the Champions League Porto have failed to win their last four, while they have one win in seven. They don’t exactly deserve to be so heavily backed in this trip with that form behind them, especially after going four games without a win against Russian sides in Europe. We think there’s value here on Lokomotiv to avoid defeat, so we’re backing them on the double chance market.

HEAD TO HEAD:

The sides meet for their first head-to-head encounter ever on Wednesday evening, looking for all-important points at RZD Arena.

LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW VS FC PORTO STATS:

Lokomotiv Moscow have failed to keep a clean sheet in all six meetings with Portuguese sides in European competition
After winning six and drawing two of their first eight European meetings with Russian sides, FC Porto are winless in their last four against them (D2 L2), most recently vs Zenit St Petersburg in the 2013-14 Champions League group stages (D1 L1).
Lokomotiv Moscow have lost each of their last four games in major European competition (excluding qualifiers); only once before have they been on a longer such run (five games in 2003).
Porto are unbeaten in their last three Champions League games (W1 D2), last going longer in 2016 (four games). They could win back-to-back games in the competition for the first time since November 2016.
Lokomotiv could lose both of their first two home Champions League games in a season for only the second time, previously doing so in 2002/03.
Porto have won none of their last four away Champions League games (D3 L1); they last went five without victory between March 2005 and September 2006.
Lokomotiv are one of only three sides yet to score in this season’s Champions League (also Valencia and Young Boys); only one Russian side has ever failed to score in each of their first three Champions League games of a season previously, Spartak Moscow doing so in 2002/03.
23 of Porto’s last 24 Champions League goals have come from inside the penalty area, the only exception being Alex Telles’ strike against Monaco in December 2017.
Each of Porto’s last six goals in the Champions League have been scored by different players (Aboubakar, Brahimi, Telles, Soares, Otavio and Marega).

LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW TEAM NEWS:

Both Fedor Smolov and Jefferson Farfan are set to miss out of this clash with Porto, but they’re hopeful that Maciej Rybus will return.

FC PORTO TEAM NEWS:

Vincent Aboubakar is a major absentee for the visitors, while Riechedly Bazoer could miss out this week.

Parovozy got off to a poor kick off to the season, but their form has seen a decent rise of late. They won three on the bounce to climb up to the sixth place in the Russian Premier League standings. The streak includes a huge 0-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in the city derby just days after Armeitsy took a Real Madrid scalp in the Champions League.

Nonetheless, Yury Semin’s men failed to deliver in the continental competition where they are yet to score a goal coming into this third round tie. We can certainly expect a real buzz in and around RZD Arena given this is the hosts’ last chance to catch up with the rest of the group in the battle for one of top two spots.

Looking from the betting perspective, there is a huge value in backing the hosts not to lose at 1.85 odds. Loko won three on the spin in a strong Russian Premier League and we’d not be surprised to even see them snatching the spoils here. The alternative bet would be Under 2.5 goals FT since both teams were pretty tough to break down of late.

My prediction:

Bet Total  Under 2 Best odds 2.09

Bet here