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FESIG League Preview – (Barca and Bayern domestic double edition)

Bayern Munich and Barcelona can secure domestic double honors with victories in the DFB Pokal and Copa del Rey finals taking place this weekend at the Olympiastadion in Berlin and Estadio Benito Villamarin. Atalanta and Inter Milan have their Champions League qualification destinies in their hands in what should be cup final matches for both teams on the final day of the Serie A season.

We begin in France;

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Les Licornes lost the relegation six-pointer game away to Monaco last weekend but still have their destiny in hands when they host basement club Guingamp in this final game of the season. Christophe Pélissier’s team cannot buy a win to save their lives; they are winless in the last six but have managed four draws. Amiens are two points better than Caen and a better goal difference as well but a draw might not be good enough to keep them in the top flight if Caen beat Bordeaux comprehensively. Guingamp season is over; they are low on confidence having failed to secure Ligue 1 survival therefore they might not be well motivated for this trip.

VERDICT – Les Licornes can rely on the impressive head-to-head record against Guingamp. Amiens won six, drew four and lost just one of eleven head to head outings at Stade Credit Agricole de la Licorne over the course of history. Despite this excellent record against the visitors, Amiens has failed to score in three of their last four matches, but need only a point to avoid the relegation playoff place. Guingamp is the ideal opponent to play, Jocelyn Gourvennec team are already relegated and have no motivation for this game. Christophe Pélissier should get the job done at home and secure their top flight status for next season.

SM CAEN v BORDEAUX – FRI. 24 MAY 2019, 20.05HRS
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18th place Caen have one last opportunity to secure their Ligue 1 status when out-of-sorts Bordeaux come calling at Stade Michel d’Ornano. The visitors have been totally out of form in the second half of the season and it’s not a surprise they are the underdogs for this final day fixture. With six defeats in their last six league matches, Bordeaux cannot wait for the season to end. Caen needs all three points to keep their slim chances of survival alive. They currently occupy the relegation play-offs spot but should be commended for putting in a big fight to beat the drop as they were looking at a dead end with seven defeats between February and April.

VERDICT – Caen won two and drew one of past three meetings with Les Girondins who have failed to find the back of the net in the process. These teams shared spoils in a goalless draw when they locked horns last November at Stade Matmut-Atlantique. Bordeaux are the most out-of-form team in the competition. Les Girondins have nothing to play and have not scored a single goal in last three outing. This is a super-important match for the host who need all three points and would go for it.

To Germany – DFB Pokal Final;

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It has been a great season for RB Leipzig; they secured Champions League football for next season and can win their first trophy in the short 10 year history as a football club. However, the Easterners are up against the absolute record holders Bayern Munich making their 23rd finals. The Bavaria giants were last season’s runner up in this competition will aim to go one better this season by adding the Cup to their secured Bundesliga title. Bayern’s coach Nico Kovac has a strong record in this competition winning 16 of 17 he has played in and will be playing in his third consecutive final having won last term with Frankfurt. Ralf Rangnick has his full Leipzig squad to prosecute this final while Bayern would be missing important players like Manuel Neuer, Javi Martinez and James Rodriguez.

VERDICT – Both teams are in high spirit; Bayern Munich are high on confidence after wrapping up their seventh straight league title on the final day of the Bundesliga season while Leipzig, which boasts of the Bundesliga best defence qualified for the Champions League. These two sides met in the league recently and it ended in a stalemate but the stakes are higher in this cup final. We anticipate a very intense and hard-fought game, which could well be decided by a single goal or in extra-time or by penalties. Over 2.5 goals

To Italy;

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Atalanta needs a victory to secure Champions League qualification for the first time in their history. Coincidentally, they are up against their landlords – Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium with reconstruction work taking place at their home patch – Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. Mid-table Sassuolo have nothing to play for in this final game of the season except for pride in front of their fans. Roberto De Zerbi’s team have lost only one of the last eight rounds and kept four clean sheets during that spell. The Italian coach has made it clear that they will honor the league by giving their all and want to finish the season in the top 10. Gian Piero Gasperini’s team will adopt his attacking philosophy for this all important game as they aim to end the season on a high having lost the Coppa Italia finals.

VERDICT – Atalanta is one of the form teams in the league; they were on course for five straight league victories before the draw against Juventus in Turin last week. Goals have always been a part of this fixture because there has been only one scoreless game in the last 15 previous competitive meetings. Atalanta won 6-2 at the Mapei back in December and they would be seeking similar result this time as the home team for the game.

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Inter Milan host Empoli on the final day of the 2018-19 Serie A season with both teams seeking positive results for different ambition. This is Luciano Spalletti’s last game in charge as Inter manager and he would love to bow out securing Champions League football for the Nerazzurris while yoyo club, Empoli sitting outside the drop zone need a victory to beat the drop. Both these teams need to come away with three points this weekend or their seasons would both likely end in failure. The home side is facing severe pressure from city rivals Milan, who are just one point away in the race for a top-four finish while relegation candidate Empoli will also be keeping an eye on the game at Stadio Franchi, where Fiorentina and Genoa go head-to-head.

VERDICT – Empoli have only beaten Inter once in Serie A in April 2006, followed by one draw and 10 defeats, including six losses on the trot. Inter are clinging on to fourth spot in the league after losing 4-1 to Napoli last weekend. Empoli have won three matches in a row, while Inter have only picked up one victory in their last five. Both teams need a victory at the San Siro, so expect a close game.

To Spain – Copa del Rey Final;

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Barcelona can lift the Copa del Rey for a fifth consecutive season and a record 31st title. They are the most successful Spanish team in this competition already and can secure a successive domestic double if they overcome Valencia at Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville. Valencia secured Champions League football on the final day of league campaign and will turn their attention to winning the cup title to cap a remarkable campaign. A solid cup final is expected considering how these two teams matched each evenly during the two league matches this season which ended in draws. We would have a winner on Saturday.

VERDICT – Another domestic double will not be enough to erase the bad memory of the Champions League semi-finals defeat to Liverpool but it can help ease the pains for Los Cules fans. Barcelona are favorites for this title having lost only twice to Valencia in the last 10 years. Ernesto Valverde will be without some important players including goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stergen but the Catalans have a big squad to accommodate absentees. Marcelino’s Valencia will ensure the final isn’t one sided and going by their performances in the league matches against Barca, we are in for a threat. However, the Spanish champions have the x-factor in Messi and the Blaugrana skipper should make the difference.

This wraps up our preview for the week. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop for mouthwatering offers in league matches and cup finals across top European leagues this weekend. 

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