Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus celebratory champagne was put on ice for an extra week; both teams failed to win last weekend but can clinch their respective league titles with victory in front of their fans this time. It’s still very tight at the top in the Bundesliga; Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are going neck-to-neck in the title race with five games to go in the German top division. The quadruple dream is over but Pep Guardiola and team must ensure they do not allow the disappointment of Champions League exit derail their Premier League title chase when top four chasing Tottenham Hotspur return to the Etihad Stadium three days after their last visit. In Madrid, the encounter at Coliseum Alfonso Perez between Getafe and Sevilla is a battle for the final Champions League spot in LaLiga.
We begin in France;
STADE REIMS v AS SAINT ETIENNE – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 16.00HRS
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Saint-Etienne recent form has given Les Verts fans belief that Champions League football could return to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Jean-Louis Gasset’s team is currently fourth, just three points behind Olympique Lyonnais, who occupy the third and final Champions League place and on a fine run which has seen them win three of their last four Ligue 1 games, drawing the other. Seventh place Reims is still in the hunt for European football next season; the Ligue 2 champions are enjoying a fine campaign till date, however, they are without a victory in their last three league matches but a victory over Saint-Etienne will see their ambition kept alive.
VERDICT – Reims Pablo Chavarria is a doubt for this game leaving Boulaye Dia to lead the line. The hosts are without a win in three, and only one in six. Momentum is on Les Verts side in the race for the final Champions League spot. Sainté are in better form than rivals Lyon and Marseille; the visitors should have enough to edge a game where Reims will give their all on pitch.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN v AS MONACO – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 20.00HRS
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There is no better time for Monaco to visit the City of Lights and play PSG than right now. Thomas Tuchel’s team have stuttered lately; winless in their last three league matches and suffered back-to-back defeats at Lille and Nantes for the first time this season. Les Parisiens performance at Nantes was poor and their German tactician would be demanding better from his troops who can clinch their eight Ligue 1 title at home. Monaco’s second half of the season performances have been slightly better, they are out of the drop zone but their Ligue 1 status isn’t guaranteed yet. Les Rouges et Blancs will fancy their chances to hurt struggling PSG at Parc des Princes as they target a first victory having lost the last eight in all competitions on the night Thiago Silva and co will be hoping to celebrate.
VERDICT – Monaco away form has been nothing inspiring; the Red and Whites did create an upset by winning at Lille but scoring 16 goals in 15 away league matches is a poor return. Thomas Tuchel should have Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappé back in the starting XI for this game; their return will provide PSG with the required quality which should be enough to see off visiting Monaco who are unlikely to spoil the party on Sunday evening.
BAYERN MUNICH v WERDER BREMEN – SAT. 20 APR 2019, 14.30HRS
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Robert Lewandowski will look to fire Bayern Munich into a four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga standings when the defending champions host European hopefuls Werder Bremen on Saturday. Bayern can move four points clear with a victory and that would be the expectation from the Allianz Arena crowd with the home team steamrolling opponents. Die Werderaner left it late against Freiburg; they are the only team in the Bundesliga to have found the net in every game this season. The victory over Freiburg extended their unbeaten start in 2019 to 12 matches (one of their best runs in Bundesliga history) and move within a point of Europa league spot.
VERDICT – Bremen have not won in Munich for over 10 years; they have lost each of the last 16 head-to-head duels against Bayern both home and away. Lewandowski has scored 14 goals in 14 appearances against Bremen while Werder top scorer Max Kruse has scored just once in 14 career games against Bayern, losing 12. The host will be full of confidence following last weekend win at Dusseldorf; expect them to try to put pressure on the visitors from the outset.
SC FREIBURG v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 14.30HRS
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Borussia Dortmund could be as many as four points behind leaders Bayern Munich when they take on Freiburg at Schwarzwald-Stadion on Sunday. This is a potential tricky game for Dortmund against a struggling Freiburg; the home team has been playing with little or no ambition all season, managing just seven league wins all season but forced Bayern Munich with a draw the last time they played at home. On the other hand, Lucien Favre’s team looks to be cracking under pressure; they haven’t been playing well lately and have managed one victory in their last five away matches though they have managed to stay a point behind Bayern Munich in the title race. This is an important game for Die Borussenbefore next week’s derby against Schalke. The good thing is Dortmund have won 5 of their last 6 trips to Freiburg and will have to win this.
VERDICT – Dortmund are unbeaten in their last 15 matches against Freiburg; the visitors have won on five on their last six trips to Freiburg. However, it has to be pointed that Favre has not won in Germany’s sunniest city in four attempts as a coach (1D, 3L). Freiburg are almost safe, they are not under pressure and are unlikely to cause visiting Dortmund so much problem. Dortmund have no other option than to keep winning if they aim to stay alive in the Bundesliga race. They should have enough in them to secure a victory on the road.
JUVENTUS v FIORENTINA – SAT. 20 APR 2019, 17.00HRS
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What is the mood like at Vinovo – Juventus training ground? The Bianconeri require just a point to seal another Serie A title –their eight on the bounce but Tuesday Champions League disappointing exit in the hands of surprise package – Ajax would still hurting. Juventus and their supporters are unlikely to be in celebratory mood even though clinching the league title in a match against an old enemy would have been ideal. Fiorentina’s hope of securing a European place rests solely on winning Coppa Italia with La Viola sitting 10th on the log and a whopping 13 points of the final European slot on the table. Vicenzo Montella’s arrival didn’t inspire a change in result last weekend; their lackluster scoreless draw against Bologna means they are winless in their past eight Serie A games and they are in desperate need of a boost.
VERDICT – Fiorentina have lost all seven Serie A visits to the Juventus Stadium, conceding 14 goals. The Old Lady entire campaign has been a huge disappointment even if they wrap up the league title this weekend because winning the Champions League was their real objective. Old enemy, Fiorentina would love to inflict further misery on Juventus this weekend but they have failed to win each of their last nine matches in all competitions. The home team should win this quite comfortably.
INTER MILAN v AS ROMA – SAT. 20 APR 2019, 19.30HRS
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Luciano Spalletti, Claudio Ranieri, Radja Nainggolan, and Nicolò Zaniolo face their former clubs in a showdown for Champions League places. The race for a top four finish will go down to the wire in the Serie A and while a win would pretty much guarantee the Beneamata position, anything else could blow it wide open. Both teams have suffered frustrating campaigns till date, nevertheless, securing a Champions League place could well compensate. The two teams are in decent form heading into the fixture; Inter have won four of their last six league matches while Roma has three victories in six. This is a game for returning Inter striker Mauro Icardi to win over more Inter fans if he continues his good scoring run against Roma.
VERDICT – Following their disappointing runs in the Champions League, both teams would love to return to Europe premier competition therefore we can expect strong performances from both teams at the Giuseppe Meazza. Luciano Spalletti has never beaten Claudio Ranieri, managing a draw and three consecutive defeats in four meetings. We expect a balanced game between two sides that still have a lot to play for this season. Both teams to score is probably the safe tips considering this has been the case in their last six meetings.
GETAFE v SEVILLA – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 13.00HRS
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A place in the Champions League next season is at stake at Coliseum Alfonso Perez when Getafe hosts Sevilla in week 33 fixture. This is a six-pointer game for both teams in the race for the final Champions League spot. The visitors will arrive in the capital in good form; five wins in the last six including the Andalusia derby victory should set the tone for Los Rojiblancos. Getafe fought hard to earn a point last weekend at José Zorrilla against Valladolid to keep them in the hunt for Champions League though they dropped to fifth on the log but will target a return if they can secure a victory. They are a force to reckon with at home and are definitely capable of getting points in front of their fans.
VERDICT – Getafe have a decent home record against Sevilla (8W, 4D, 3L) in 15 home clashes against Los Rojiblancos. Sevilla won at the Coliseum last season and will hope for similar result this term which would be tougher. Azulones stunned Sevilla 2-0 away at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan when these teams met in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. This is an important game for both teams, they will have a go at it so we expect goals from both teams.
REAL MADRID v ATHLETIC BILBAO – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 15.15HRS
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After the disappointing draw at Leganes, Real Madrid will need to turn their attention to this game against an old rival. Los Blancos are having a season to forget and the return of club legend – Zinedine Zidane hasn’t change the club fortune much. Los Leones are enjoying a better second half to the season; the Basque club is back in the race for a European place and will provide Real Madrid with another stern test in front of their fans. The Santiago Bernabeu isn’t the fortress it used to be this season with Los Blancos losing as many as four league matches this campaign which should give Gaizka Garitano’s team the belief they can upset the favorites on home patch. Real Madrid are on a three-win streak in front of the home crowd in La Liga and they are hoping to at least finish the underwhelming season on a high.
VERDICT – Real Madrid have dominated this fixture in the past; winning 21 of the last 26 home encounters but didn’t secure a victory at home last season and have only managed draws against Athletic Club in the last three meetings. Gaizka Garitano’s troops have enjoyed playing on the offense; scoring at least two or more goals in four of past five league outings and we can easily see them on the scoresheet on Sunday afternoon. Real Madrid has conceded at least a goal in six of last seven home matches in all competitions. Expect goals at the Santiago Bernabeu; over 2.5 goals in this one.
MANCHESTER CITY v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – SAT. 20 APR 2019, 12.30HRS
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Second-placed Manchester City are targeting a 10th straight Premier League victory as they seek to overtake leaders Liverpool while third-placed Tottenham Hotspur are aiming for a third successive league win as they bid to stay in the top four. Pep Guardiola’s team has won their last three Premier League matches against Spurs, are looking to equal their competition best run of four successive wins against the north Londoners. City beat Spurs at the Etihad on Wednesday in the Champions League; they won the battle but didn’t win the war which ended their quadruple dream. They would need to respond positively to the midweek setback in order to avoid losing out on the title race. Spurs are without Harry Kane but have won all five Premier League matches without their talisman this season.
VERDICT – City and Spurs will be facing each other for the third time in 10 days, Pep Guardiola will be keen to see his City side return to winning ways as they push for the title. Tottenham have lost their last three away matches and seven of their last eight away from home. However, they remain in the race to secure a top four finish. It would be interesting to see how much boost the victory over City would provide Mauricio Pochettino’s team in this game. We anticipate another entertaining encounter at the Etihad filled with goals. Over 2.5 goals is the expectation for this game.
EVERTON v MANCHESTER UNITED – SUN. 21 APR 2019, 13.30HRS
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Ninth-placed Everton are seeking a fourth victory in five matches, while Manchester United are aiming for a third win in four fixtures and a return to the top four. Manchester United crashed out of Europe midweek and the gulf in class between Europe elites and them was clear for everyone to see. Everton have shown different shades of themselves; the best which saw off Chelsea and Arsenal recently and the team that fell at Craven Cottage last weekend to Fulham. There is still a lot of work to be done by Marco Silva if the Toffees aim to bridge the gap on the top six in the division. However, the silver lining is that they are still within touching distance of seventh place which could potentially be a European place if City wins the FA Cup.
VERDICT – Manchester United are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions against Everton. The Toffees haven’t managed a victory against the Red Devils in their last three home matches. This is a vital fixture for Manchester United in their bid for a top-four finish but they are not in great shape at the moment. The club will be undergoing a massive overhaul in the summer but could be a bit deflated after the midweek disappointment. Everton have a poor run against United but can change that with a victory at home this weekend. It would be interesting to see which team takes initiative on Sunday. Either team is capable of winning.
This wraps up our preview for the week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in league matches across top five European leagues this weekend.