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2019-20 FESIG League Preview – (North West derby edition)

Liverpool face another rival in the North West derby when they entertain Manchester United on Sunday. Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team produce one of those exceptional displays at Anfield to stop the rampaging Reds? Rückrunde – the second half of the Bundesliga season kicks off this weekend after the Winterpause; will Bayern Munich mount a firm title challenge or will RB Leipzig press on for their first ever top-flight title? Over in the Spain, newly crowned Supercopa España champions – Real Madrid welcome Champions League chasing Sevilla to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Let us take a preview of some of the most exciting matches in this FESIG edition.

We begin in Germany;

SCHALKE 04 v BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH – FRI. 17 JAN 2020, 20.30HRS
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Schalke 04 season has seen much improvement from last season and there is a good chance of the Royal Blues seeking qualification for Europe if they can maintain same momentum. They host one of the title contenders – Gladbach in the first game after the winter break. The Foals have attracted football lovers with their eye-catching football this season. They are two points off leaders Leipzig but the transformation under Marco Rose has been magnificent. Both teams have enjoyed a mini winter break to prepare well for the second half of the season and we should be served top level football at the VELTINS Arena.

VERDICT – This should be an interesting battle between two ambitious sides. The home team has turned Veltins Arena into a fortress losing just one of their last 9 Bundesliga games. The visitors struggle on the road, managing just one of their last five away from home. Regardless of this poor record, Gladbach are a good side will force a game out of Schalke. Both teams to score.

RB LEIPZIG v UNION BERLIN – SAT. 18 JAN 2020, 18.30HRS
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League leaders RB Leipzig take on Union Berlin. Leipzig will be looking forward to getting back to business in the Bundesliga following the winter break. The league leaders are currently undefeated in their last 12 games in all competitions, winning nine. In contrast to Leipzig, Union will have been happy to have entering the winter break after taking three points from just one of their last five Bundesliga games, losing three. Union Berlin picked up 20 points in the first half of the season which is better than expected but their run in December was shambolic.

VERDICT – Leipzig have a solid home defensive record and to cap it up, they have been frightening in front of goal this season. They are the Bundesliga’s best goalscoring record, scoring 48 goals in 17 games this season. RBL look good on paper for this game but this is a potential banana skin game – Union Berlin have proven to be giant killers this season though most of their impressive performances have been at home. Over 2.5 goals at the Red Bull Arena.

To Italy;

LAZIO v SAMPDORIA – SAT. 18 JAN 2020, 15.00HRS
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Lazio are in the in-form in the Serie A right now, they look unstoppable with a club record 10 consecutive Serie A victories, but host defensively-solid Sampdoria. Claudio Ranieri has steered Samp away from the dreaded relegation zone winning two of the last four. Le Aquile continued their great run of form with a 4-0 victory in the Coppa Italia this week, but can they press their title ambitions when they host Sampdoria this weekend? Sampdoria thrashed Brescia in their last league game and have conceded just four goals in their last four games, two of them scored by Juventus. Can the Blucerchiati stop free-scoring Lazio?

VERDICT – Sampdoria’s biggest task is trying to stop Capocannoniere candidate – Ciro Immobile. The 29-year-old has 20 Serie A goals in his first 18 games this season. Sampdoria are his favorite victims, putting 10 goals past them in 12 previous encounters. The visitors haven’t enjoyed their trips to the Olimpico in recent times, the last time they won in Rome against Lazio away was January 2005. Samp will offer defensive rigidity but Lazio can play the long game; expect a narrow victory for the host.

JUVENTUS v PARMA – SUN. 19 JAN 2020, 20.45HRS
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Juventus will hope to build momentum as winter champions against unpredictable Parma. After a slow start, Maurizio Sarri’s team is beginning to absorb the former Chelsea coach methodology. From their Roma performance to the impressive victory over Udinese in the Coppa Italia, the Old Lady of Turin seem to clicking into gear midway point of the season. Parma have had an excellent first half to the season, sitting in seventh place, just one point off the Europa League spots. With the injury list emptying out, Roberto D’Aversa should have Roberto Inglese and January signing Jasmin Kurtic available.

VERDICT – Juventus entered into the new year in good form and will aim to continue that run against the Ducali. Parma have never kept a clean sheet away to Juventus in Serie A, conceding 60 goals in 24 trips to Turin. With Juventus forwards – Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala enjoying excellent partnership regardless of who Sarri picks, Parma will need to park a vessel in front of goal to escape with a result like last season. Over 2.5 goals

To Spain;

REAL MADRID v SEVILLA – SAT. 18 JAN 2020, 16.00HRS
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Julen Lopetegui returns to the Bernabeu for the first time since he left as Real coach last season. The former Porto and Spain boss isn’t coming as a spectator but a motivated rival in search of three points against a highly-motivated Real Madrid that just won the newly formatted Supercopa España. Interestingly, Los Blancos have only won one of their last four league games, so they will be determined to put another three points on the board here to at least put a bit more pressure on Barcelona heading into their first game under Quique Setien on Sunday.

VERDICT – Sevilla have impressed this season with an average of 2 points per away game, the Andalusians have the best record in the league. However, their record at the Santiago Bernabeu has been dreadful – losing on their last 12 trips. This game should be tougher considering the visitors away form and Real Madrid missing important players but Zidane is showing his tactically prowess to construct his team to win in any form. A home win victory is on the cards.

BARCELONA v GRANADA – SUN. 19 JAN 2020, 21.00HRS
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Quique Setien will take charge of his new team for the first time on Sunday at the Camp Nou when Granada come to town. Outgone coach Ernesto Valverde paid the price for his team inconsistent performances this term despite still being on top of the league midway point in the season. Granada early season form has evaporated with the LaLiga new boys hovering around midtable. The Nazaríes upset the defending champions earlier in the season at Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes and will hope to spoil the party for Setien on his managerial debut as Los Cules boss.

VERDICT – With just two wins from nine away matches and conceding 19 goals in the process, Diego Martínez cannot be considered favorites by any stretch of imagination at the Camp Nou. Barcelona have averaged 3.5 goals per game at home in the league and will need all three points to maintain their position at the top of the standings. Anything outside a home win and over 2.5 goals will be considered as an upset.

To England;

WATFORD v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – SAT. 18 JAN 2020, 13.30HRS
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Watford are looking for a fifth win in six matches under Nigel Pearson, having climbed out of the relegation zone while Tottenham Hotspur are aiming to close the nine-point gap to fourth-placed Chelsea. The Hornets have pulled clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks and are moving in the right direction, while Spurs’ have regressed south towards mid-table. Tottenham’s defensive performances continue to look dicey; they have kept just one clean sheet in 14 competitive fixtures since Mourinho’s appointment. Troy Deeney’s return from injury has lifted Watford and seen them improve in attack. What can the Portuguese tactician do improve his team fortune?

VERDICT – Watford will fancy their chances at the prospect of facing a fragile Tottenham defense. The Hornets have rediscovered their goalscoring sting under Nigel Pearson, hitting two or more times in five of their last six fixtures. Watford are one of the Premier League’s form teams but Mourinho and Spurs still have the quality to hurt their hosts. Both teams to score.

LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER UNITED – SUN. 19 JAN 2020, 17.30HRS
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Liverpool are aiming to extend their 12-match winning run in the Premier League and victory over Manchester United will mean the Reds have beaten every team in the division this season at least once. Fifth-placed Manchester United are seeking a fourth win in five matches as they attempt to close the five-point gap to Chelsea. The Red Devils tend to perform better in the big games and have secured victory against defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad stadium. Liverpool produced yet another assured display last weekend with a well-deserved 1-0 win away to Tottenham, and at the moment they look almost unstoppable as they roar towards their first ever Premier League title.

VERDICT – Jurgen Klopp’s men have won 18 Premier League matches on the bounce at Anfield, and they haven’t lost a league game there since April 2017. Solskjaer got his tactics spot on in the last meeting between these sides but the absentees in the Manchester United side will make them weaker. Liverpool had a full week to prepare for this game compare to their opponent and that should count in favor of the Reds. A home win is our prediction.

This wraps up our FESIG preview for the week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in all matches available in the German, Italian, Spanish and English leagues and more for the weekend.

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