The UEFA Champions League kicks off this mid-week and we hope to add this mid-week football excitement to our calendars to keep us entertained every week.
UEFA Champions League
Leverkusen AH-1 to beat BATE @ 2.08 (Bet365) – 2 points
BATE v Leverkusen – Over 2.5 goals & Btts @ 2.00 (Bet365) – 2 points
Bayer Leverkusen have been in great offensive form coming into this game against BATE Borisov netting 21 goals in their last 7 games. The performance on the offensive end has helped them progress so far in this season. Leverkusen could win this game and take a 2 point advantage going into the final round of fixtures in the battle for 2nd spot with Roma. If Barcelona beat Roma tonight, Barcelona could field a slightly weakened lineup with their Club World Cup commitments around the corner, and that could give Leverkusen the chance.
Leverkusen first need to go go BATE and do the job by beating their opponents who they already beat 4-1 in the first fixture. Calhanoglu, Hernandez and Mehmedi managed to do the business in the first game, and will be wanting to go and put in a similar performance in this encounter, especially since goal don’t seem to be an issue for them. Leverkusen will need to focus on the defensive end where they have leaked goals in 4 straight games and 6 out of their last 7; and they will need to really shape up defensively to limit BATE’s scoring to just maximum a goal if they want to win.
BATE have been on a good run of form against their opponents in a poor Bulgarian division, but managed to put in a strong performance to beat Roma at home in their earlier encounter. If you reduce the 2 games against Barcelona, they have netted in 15 out of 17 games played so far. Defensively however, BATE have been poor as has been see by the 11 goals they have conceded so far this campaign including 4 against Leverkusen, 2 against Roma and 5 against Barcelona (2 games).
This game should be an exciting one with both defences not in the best of Shape, but I can see Leverkusen winning this game by a 3-1 score lines, so I back them to win on the Asian Line and also Over 2.5 goals with both to score.
Barcelona showcased to most of the football fans of the world how they can demolish a team when they are in rhythm with the 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid, and they did that without Leo Messi having any major involvement in this game.
Barcelona will host Roma at the Camp Nou; hoping to take revenge for the 1-1 draw in the earlier stages of the group. Messi will be expected to start form the beginning in order to regain his scoring form with a lot of fixtures coming through as well as the Club World Cup in December. Suarez and Neymar have been in great form in the absence of Messil and I expect them to also continue to chip in with the goals, and probably a few tonight a well. Barcelona have improved themselves on the defensive end, not conceding a goal since their last 5 games, but this could be slightly in jeopardy if Ter Stegen comes in tonight, as he tends to be a bit poor in goal.
Roma have been a mixed bag as was seen this weekend, where they fell behind, then came back to lead and then drew late on against a poor Bologna team. They also faced a similar situation against Leverkusen, but were lucky to escape out of jail and win their home leg by a score of 3-2. Roma should be worried as they haven’t won an away game in the Champions League in their last 7 appearances and keeping in mind that Barcelona have not lost in the Camp Nou in a Champions League encounter since the 2009-10 season; it should be worrisome for them. The fact that they will miss their 2 wide players in Salah and Gervinho also adds to their worries. Roma have been also poor defensively, conceding in 7 straight games on the road, and that can’t bode well against a Barcelona team who tend to possess a lot of the ball and get you agitated for the full game.
I expect Barcelona to win this game, and most likely with a 2 goal margin.
Treble: @ 2.10 (Bet365) – 2 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
Lyon-Gent over 2.5 goals
Chelsea-Tel Aviv Over 1.5 goals
Porto to score