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FESIG League Preview – (Ligue 1 and Scudetto title edition)

It’s party time in France and Italy; PSG can wrap up Ligue 1 title by avoiding defeat at Stade Pierre-Mauroy. The Old Lady of Turin will clinch their 35th league title if they earn a point at Stadio Paolo Mazza when Juventus play Spal in week 32 fixture. The title race is far from over in Germany and England; Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are separated by a single point with both teams playing Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz 05 respectively while Liverpool face resurgent Chelsea who have derailed their title aspiration in the past and Manchester City will be in London once again to face Crystal Palace. In Spain, the city of Seville will come to a standstill this weekend with the Andalusia derby taking place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan between Sevilla and Real Betis. This is an important game for Sevilla in the race for the final Champions League spot in Spain with Getafe still occupying that spot.

We begin in France;

AS SAINT ETIENNE v BORDEAUX – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 16.00HRS
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Saint-Etienne still harbors Champions League dreams for next season; Les Verts local rival – Olympique Lyon occupy the final spot in France but the Saints are not giving up on the dream of a top-three finish for the season considering Lyon’s inconsistent form lately and the uncertainty of Bruno Genesio future. Jean-Louis Gasset’s team is on a three game unbeaten run in the league though they could only manage a 2-2 draw against Amiens last weekend. Bordeaux earned a first league victory in six against Marseille last week but it didn’t change much about their fortune or standing on the log with relegation fears out of the way and European place unlikely.

VERDICT – Bordeaux are poor travelers; they are winless in their last six away Ligue 1 matches managing to draw the last two on the road against Monaco and Amiens. They face a team whose home record is pretty decent; they have lost to the teams higher on the table than them at home but are able to earn victories against teams below them. There isn’t any significant motivation for Les Girondins to play for but the home team burning ambition means they will go all out for victory in front of their fans.

LILLE OSC v PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 20.00HRS
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Can Lille withhold the champions-elect league victory party at Satde Pierre-Mauroy? PSG surprisingly dropped points last weekend in the home against Strasbourg while Lille only managed a draw as well at Reims to leave Thomas Tuchel team needing just one point to clinch their eight Ligue 1 title. This game will definitely not be a walk in the park for Les Parisiens considering Les Dogues excellent second half of the season form. Ligue 1 top scorer, Kylian Mbappe should return to the starting XI for this game as the capital club would look to wrap up the title as soon as they can. Christophe Gatlier players will try to put an end a 16-match winless run against PSG in all competition to put the PSG champagne on ice for another week.  

VERDICT – Christophe Galtier’s team has performed almost at par with PSG in the second half of the season picking up 27 points compared to the visitors 28 though Thomas Tuchel team has played a game less. Both teams have key players missing but LOSC will hope to be able to call on an impressive home record that has seen them record the division’s second-best defense and joint-fourth best attack. PSG are within touching distance of winning another league title and will not be deterred by whatever their opponents throw at them.

To Germany;

BORUSSIA DORTMUND v MAINZ 05 – SAT. 13 APR 2019, 17.30HRS
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Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bounce back from their devastating 5-0 loss at Bayern Munich and inject renewed energy into their title charge as they entertain mid-table Mainz on Saturday evening at Signal Iduna Park. Lucien Favre’s team is still very much in the hunt for the title with six games to go and is just one point behind leaders Bayern Munich. Mainz will have fond memories of last season’s trip to Dortmund where a 2-1 win to secure their Bundesliga survival. No team has claimed victory in Dortmund since that day, although the 05ers should be feeling confident after a 5-0 thrashing against Freiburg last time out. Die Borussen are still in the title race and would be looking to return to winning ways having won eight of the last nine in front of their fans.

VERDICT – The 5-0 defeat to Bayern was Dortmund’s heaviest of the season but the host face Mainz who have lost their last five away games in a row and conceded 17 goals in the process. Dortmund must go hard against their visitors to put pressure on Bayern Munich who are not in action till Sunday by securing three points and going top of the log once again even if it might be for less than 24 hours. Mainz are already safe, they are likely to play without pressure in Dortmund. With everything considered, this should be three points for the Yellow and Black.

FORTUNA DUSSELDORF v BAYERN MUNICH – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 14.30HRS
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League leaders – Bayern Munich will need a victory at MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA to cement their hold on top spot in a close title race. Nico Kovac’s team blew away rivals Borussia Dortmund in stunning fashion last weekend to earn their seventh victory in eight Bundesliga games and move a point clear at the top. The Bavarian giants are coming good at the business end of the season but face a tricky opponent in good form. Fortuna Dusseldorf have won four of their last six league matches and stunned Bayern at the Allianz Arena in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, coming from 3-1 down to claim a point in a six goal thriller. The Flingeraner have secured their Bundesliga status for next season and will welcome Die Roten in relaxed mood.

VERDICT – Fortuna have taken 28 points from their last 14 matches. Only three teams have fared better in that time. The home team is the only side without a draw at home in the league this campaign (7W, 7L). Bayern have shown in recent weeks their character as champions but suffered a setback in their last away fixture at Freiburg where they were held to a draw. The visitors cannot afford another slip up in this title race as the margin for error becomes slimmer and the games lesser. The host will provide a good test but Bayern’s quality should see them through.

To Italy;

SPAL v JUVENTUS – SAT. 13 APR 2019, 14.30HRS
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Juventus need only a point to celebrate their eight consecutive Serie A title – an outstanding achievement but SPAL are fighting hard to stay in the top flight. The Biancazzurri currently lie just two points above the drop zone and points are precious at this stage of the season for survival while the Bianconeri will love to put this game to bed quickly and switch attention to next week Champions League game against Ajax. SPAL’s recent form has been quite impressive, with wins over AS Roma and Lazio, plus a priceless away victory at fellow relegation candidates Frosinone. However, they suffered a defeat in their last game against Cagliari but should fancy getting something against La Vecchia Signora whose focus will be elsewhere.

 VERDICT – SPAL have beaten Juventus only once in 35 Serie A meetings; a 3-1 victory in February 1957, along with 12 draws and 22 defeats. The home team forced Juventus to a goalless draw in this fixture last season and a repeat of that would be welcome by the Ferrara based club. SPAL are desperate for points and this may be the ideal moment to catch Juventus.

AC MILAN v LAZIO – SAT. 13 APR 2019, 19.30HRS
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Milan will look to end their poor form, a run that has seen Gattuso’s team without a victory in the last four league matches when Lazio come calling at the Giuseppe Meazza. The race for fourth position, the final Champions League spot is the tightest it has been in years. The visitors are three points behind their host and are still in the race for the final Champions League spot in Italy as well. With just one defeat in their last six, Simone Inzaghi’s team is in better form than Milan. Pressure is building up on Gattuso once again with Milan needing this win badly to hold off other challengers for the final Champions League spot.  

VERDICT – This is a must win game for either teams to strengthen the grip on fourth place or move up to same points in this race. It is expected to be a free-flowing match between two sides desperately in need of three points. It should also serve as a warm-up for the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final in Milan on April 24. Milan won this fixture last season but the two sides have already faced off twice this season and played two draws. Another stalemate is on the cards on Saturday.

To Spain;

SEVILLA v REAL BETIS – SAT. 13 APR 2019, 19.45HRS
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We can expect fireworks at Ramon Sanchez Pizjaun on Saturday evening when the Andalusia derby kicks off with both teams separated by six points and four places on the log. Sevilla have the slightly better form and are in the hunt for the final Champions League spot in Spain currently occupied by Getafe. For Betis, the inconsistency in Quique Setien’s team underlines the frustration of the Verdiblancos fans. A defeat in the derby will provoke the supporters ire and may have huge consequences for the under fire manager. Sevilla have had a managerial change this season with the club’s favorite Joaquin Capparos drafted in to steady the ship and give a final push for the Champions League.

VERDICT – Sevilla is a point away from Champions League spot, while Betis is just three away from the Europa League. We have an intriguing derby in prospect in Seville this weekend. Three of the last four matches had goals from either side. The last derby at Ramon Sanchez saw an eight goal thriller so the favorably outcome is for both teams to score in the derby.

REAL VALLADOLID v GETAFE – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 11.00HRS
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This is the fixture between two teams with different objective for the season finale. The early Sunday kick off at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorilla pits together struggling Real Valladolid and overachieving Getafe. Real Valladolid will aim to bounce back from the defeat to Leganes, whilst Getafe will hope to press on following their hard-fought win over Athletic Bilbao. La Pucela’s main goal is to secure the LaLiga survival, but they will have to be at their best in the remainder of the season if they are to avoid the drop to Segunda Division. The dream of playing in Europe – the Champions League is getting closer for Jose Bordalas team. The small Madrid club has held on the fourth position in the past couple of weeks and will fancy their chances against a team with one win and a draw in their last six league outings.

VERDICT – The head-to-head is even; perhaps it is a true representation of where both clubs truly belong but in this current campaign, Getafe are riding high in the league. Both teams met in the Copa del Rey earlier in the campaign and the visitors won 2-1 on aggregate thanks to a narrow one nil victory at home. Both teams have found it tough to score lately so this is likely to be a low scoring game considering Valladolid’s risky position on the table.

To England;

CRYSTAL PALACE v MANCHESTER CITY – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 14.05HRS
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Crystal Palace earned a surprise victory at Etihad Stadium in December and could become only the second team to complete a league double over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City if they manage a victory at home on Sunday. The Citizens have won their last eight league matches scoring 20 goals in the process and conceding just two. City haven’t won in their last two meetings against Palace but face a team whose home form in the Premier League this season has been quite poor. The Eagles have won just 41 per cent of their Premier League points in home games this season (16/39), the lowest such ratio in the division.

VERDICT – Pep Guardiola will demand a reaction from his team following their subdued display in the Champions League against Tottenham Hotspur but he is likely to be in a fix in terms of team selection with an eye on Wednesday game against Spurs. Man City cannot afford to drop points here; handing Liverpool an advantage at this point in the title race may prove costly. Crystal Palace are 11 points clear of the bottom three and have all but secured their top-flight status for another season so City have to take the game to their host. An away victory is more likely to happen.

LIVERPOOL v CHELSEA – SUN. 14 APR 2019, 16.30HRS
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This is another defining game for the Reds in their quest for a first league title in almost three decades. Liverpool are aiming to extend their winning streak to five in the Premier League when they host third-placed Chelsea, who are themselves looking for a fourth successive victory. Liverpool have not won any of their last six Premier League matches at Anfield against Chelsea, losing twice and drawing four. The Reds have never endured a longer winless home run against an opponent in the competition. Chelsea seem to have rediscovered their earlier season form as they press on for a Champions League spot.

VERDICT – Chelsea will have played three games in a space of seven days by the time they visit Anfield on Sunday evening following their Europa League trip to Prague. Liverpool will have the edge here with the extra days to rest and prepare; they didn’t overstretch themselves in the win over Porto. Jurgen Klopp and his team know they need to keep winning if they hope to be crowned Champions at the end of the season. They should deliver in front of the Kop.

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. 

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