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FESIG League Preview – (Bundesliga Season Kick off)

Nico Kovac and his crew preparing for 2018/19 Bundesliga season

The 2018/19 German Bundesliga season kicks off with Bayern Munich in the hunt for their seventh consecutive title. Nico Kovac era begins with a cracking opener against TSG Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena on Friday evening. Cristiano Ronaldo will play his first home game in the white and black stripes for Juventus with Lazio coming to town and in the English Premier League, Jose Mourinho could have the pressure cooker turned on if the Red Devils fail to win against Spurs at Old Trafford.

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Here is our preview of matches this weekend.

We begin in France;

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN v ANGERS – SAT. 25 AUG 2018, 16.00HRS
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PSG have started the new Ligue 1 season in style with two victories in two games. Thomas Tuchel side had to do it the hard way in Guingamp in their come-from-behind win thanks to Kylian Mbappe magic off the bench. The World Cup golden boy winner grabbed a brace and would be expected to lead the line against Angers. The visitors are out of sorts losing their first two games to Nimes and Rennes; Parc des Princes is the last place Les Scoïstes would like to visit but that’s what the computer draw has handed them.

VERDICT – In eight matches between PSG and Angers, Les Rouge-et-Bleu have won seven. An average of 2.9 goals is scored when these two teams meet. Parc des Princes into a real fortress; with Cavani returning from injury and Mbappe getting into his groove early in the season and Neymar coming into his fold, Les Parisiens should win this comfortably at home. Over 2.5 goals.

MARSEILLE v RENNES – SUN. 26 AUG 2018, 20.00HRS
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Both teams have won and lost a game each after two rounds of matches in Ligue 1 this season. Marseille have shown two contrasting sides of themselves; one week they were exciting and dominating in the Toulouse win and the unbelievably poor show at Stade des Costières last time out against Nimes. Rennes earned a hard fought victory over Angers last week and should be quite confident as they travel to the Mediterranean coast to play Marseille. Rennes visit is just the exact prescription Rudi Garcia’s team need when they file out at the Orange Velodrome on Sunday night as they aim to get their campaign back on track.

VERDICT – In 39 meetings, Marseille have 18W, have 13W and eight games have ended in a draw. The average goal per match when these two teams meet is 2.9. Rennes won on their last trip to Marseille but OM have won the last two meetings. With Steve Mandanda ruled out due to injury, the visitors will have a go at Rudi Garcia teams. We are expecting goals at both ends.

To Germany;

BAYERN MUNICH v HOFFENHEIM – FRI. 24 AUG 2018, 19.30HRS
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Bayern have won the last six Bundesliga titles and are favorites once again. Under new coach Nico Kovac, the club’s objective remains the same but this is a new experience for the former Frankfurt coach. His ability to implement his coaching philosophy into this team that has some old heads while blooding in younger players will be his first accomplishment. On the other hand, Hoffenheim had an excellent campaign last time finishing third and earning a spot in the Champions League thanks to the impressive work done by Julian Nagelsmann who will be leaving them at the end of this campaign. Hoffenheim have been handed a difficult opening fixture as they have to face the mighty Bavarians at the Allianz Arena.

VERDICT – In 21 meetings between both sides, Bayern have 14W while Hoffenheim have 2W with an average of 2.9 goals per match. This should be a competitive opener at the Allianz Arena but the home team have the slight edge. Over 2.5 goals is our prediction.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND v RB LEIPZIG – SUN. 26 AUG 2018, 17.00HRS
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It is a new season and one with new optimism for the Yellow and Black fans at Signal Iduna Park. Lucien Favre is the new manager to lead Borussia Dortmund this season and the fans would be hoping for a better campaign under the Swiss manager. BVB look a different team with several changes in players but they look quite good and would be expected to challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga. Leipzig are starting the season with a new coach too; Ralf Rangnick who will be in charge till end of season. They are involved in Europa League qualifying which would have given the team some competitive edge as they travel to Dortmund.

VERDICT – Dortmund and Leipzig have met four times with RBL winning two and BVB with a lone victory. The average goal per match is 2.3 goals. Both sides love to attack and that’s what we expect at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday. An open game with goals; both teams to score is our prediction.

To Italy;

JUVENTUS v LAZIO – SAT. 25 AUG 2018, 17.00HRS
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Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut last weekend and got his first taste of Juve’s fino alla fine with Juventus completing a comeback at Bentegodi to earn a victory at the death. This weekend, he would be wearing the famous white and black stripes in front of their home fans in a highly anticipated clash against Lazio. Le Aquile lost their league opener to Napoli at home despite taking the lead in the encounter. Both teams must have learnt some important lessons from week one outings that the competition might be tougher this season. Capocannoniere, Ciro Immobile will be expected to terrorize Juventus defense while Cristiano will done same at the other end as he aims to open his Juve goal account at the Allianz Stadium.

VERDICT – In 44 matches between Juventus and Lazio, Juventus have 24W while Lazio have 9W with 11D in between and an average of 2.4 goals per match. Lazio stunned Juventus at the Allianz last season by picking up all three points in Turin but it would be difficult to replicate. Juventus were not convincing in their victory over Chievo and have it all to do against Lazio who are much better and stronger The Flying Donkeys. We anticipate a close game with both team not giving much away; over 1.5 goals is our prediction.

NAPOLI v AC MILAN – SAT. 25 AUG 2018, 19.30HRS
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All attention will be centered at Stadio San Paolo on Saturday evening when AC Milan come to town. Gonzalo Higuain will be making his competitive Rossoneri debut against one of his former team. Carlo Ancelotti will be doing battle against one of his former player – Gennaro Gattuso. Milan did not play last week due to the Genoa tragedy so they may lack some competitive sharpness in Naples. Hakan Calhanoglu will miss this crunch fixture for Diavolo. Milan have strengthen their squad adequately for this campaign and they would be expected to give the home side a run for their money. Piotr Zielinski is expected to keep his place in the starting XI ahead of new signing Fabian Ruiz and Ancelotti needs to decide on who will start in goal with David Ospina looking ready for action.

VERDICT – Napoli have the better head-to-head in the 24 meetings between these teams. An average of 2.7 goals is scored per match. Higuain has been a nightmare for Napoli since he left scoring five times in six meetings. He is the outlet Milan would be relying on for goals but the lack of competitive sharpness could be a down side for Gattuso’s team. Napoli showed character in their come-from-behind victory over Lazio which could be signs of good things for the Naples club. A home win is very likely this weekend as the Partenopei look to make it two wins in two games.

To Spain;

REAL VALLADOLID v BARCELONA – SAT. 25 AUG 2018, 21.15HRS
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Valladolid earned a respectable draw on return to the Spanish top division in the away game at Girona last week while Barcelona eventually broke down a stubborn Alaves at the Camp Nou in week one. The League champions will travel to Estadio Jose Zorilla with the aim of picking up their second victory of the season against La Liga new boys. Phillippe Coutinho will expect to start this game after coming on as substitute last weekend and Arturo Vidal will be looking to get more minutes as he settles into his new environment. Valladolid will need to improve on last week performance where they had only one attempt on target if they are to stand any chances against Leo Messi and co.

VERDICT – Valladolid have one victory in their last six matches played while Barcelona lost one of their last six matches. In the last five meetings between these two, Barca have four wins to Valladolid’s single win. This is a case of David v Goliath; we are unlikely see the biblical outcome happening at Zorilla. An away victory is on the cards with Leo Messi getting on the scorers sheet.

GIRONA v REAL MADRID – SUN. 26 AUG 2018, 21.15HRS
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Real Madrid began life in La Liga without Cristiano Ronaldo on a winning note; Gareth Bale was on the scorer sheet in a dominate display by Julen Lopetegui’s team at the Santiago Bernabeu last weekend. Girona had a frustrating round one outing as they were unable to carve open a resolute Valladolid defense at the Montilivi. It is party when the big teams come to town so we can expect a full house in Girona late Sunday evening when this game kicks off. Getafe provided a decent test for Real Madrid and Gironistes will offer same. The home team will be eager for a repeat last season’s victory over the Madrid giants this time.

VERDICT – These sides met twice last season and both shared a victory each with average goal per match at 6.0 Julen Lopetegui will aim to avoid the mistakes Zidane’s team made last season when they played at Montilivi. Real Madrid dominated possession and restricted their opponent from creating danger towards Keylor Navas goal last week and we are certain that would be the approach to this game as well. Both sides will approach this game with an offensive mentality which means there would be goals; over 2.5 goals is our prediction.

To England;

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS v MANCHESTER CITY – SAT. 25 AUG 2018, 12.30HRS
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This is a game between two champions – the English Football Championship winners taking on the Premier League winners. Nuno Espirito Santo team played the best football in English football second tier division last season and have adopted the same approach in their first two league games in the Premier League but the results have not the same. It is the gulf in class between these two divisions; Wolves need to tighten up at the back and be more clinical in front of goal. Their trip to Leicester must have taught them a lesson or two which should be valuable ahead of Manchester City visit. Pep Guardiola’s team have simply picked up from where they stopped last season with their devastating performances at Arsenal and at home against Huddersfield Town. This game at the Molineux is one to watch.

VERDICT – The confidence is sky high with the Citizens who look like they could walk all over all their rivals in the Premier League this season. Wolves are coming to terms with reality in English top division. In 12 meetings between these two sides, Manchester City have eight wins to Wolves two with an average goal per match ratio at 3.1 per game. Wolves took on City in the League Cup last season and stopped them from scoring in 120 minutes but Guardiola’s team look irresistible at the moment. It would take some stopping to halt them. An away win is very likely; over 2.5 goals is our prediction

MANCHESTER UNITED v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – MON. 27 AUG 2018, 20.00HRS
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All eyes will be on the Theatre of Dreams Monday night when Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur in the final game of round three. Jose Mourinho will demand for a better performance than the one we saw at the Amex Stadium last week in the Red Devils defeat to Brighton. Tottenham may not be spectacular now but they have been steady winning their opening two games and would be boosted by Harry Kane’s August jinx which has been confined to the past now. These are the type of games Jose Mourinho lives and thrives in but their start to the season has not been encouraging. United seem to be all of the place at the moment.

VERDICT – In the last 41 matches between these two teams, Manchester United have head and shoulder better winning 26 and securing nine draws. Spurs have lost on their last five visits to Old Trafford managing just a single goal. United have their backs to the wall for this game and Spurs will see this an opportunity to put an end to their recent poor run at Old Trafford. We expect both teams to be fired up for this and none would like to lose so much grounds away from City and Liverpool. We are tempted to sit on the fence here and call this a draw.

This wraps us our focus for the week; FESIG previews continues next week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers.

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Last week preview outcome.

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