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Kaiserslautern: 9 Years In The Wilderness, Still Counting Kaiserslautern: 9 Years In The Wilderness, Still Counting

Bundesliga

Kaiserslautern: 9 Years In The Wilderness, Still Counting

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According to the Chief Executive Officer of FC Kaiserslautern, Soeren Oliver Voigt, “If you spend more than you earn, if you act like you are bigger than you are, you will end up like FC Kaiserslautern”. This statement by Voigt gives credence to how poor the ‘Die Roten Teufel’ were badly managed during their reign in the top flight.

Without doubt, only few would have expected Kaiserslautern to become German champions in 1991, though the team from the smallest city of 100,000 or thereabout in Southwest Germany, close to the French border did have a rich football history having been champions in 1951 and 1953 respectively, plus runners up three times in that period.

23-years since Die Roten Teufel won the Bundesliga in the 1997-98 season, 22-years since reaching the Champions League quarterfinals, and 20 years since a certain Spaniard side Alaves denied them the opportunity to face England Champions Liverpool in a UEFA Cup final, once again Kaiserslautern was able to once again ruffled shoulders with the big boys when they played a jaded Bayern Munich in a friendly match at the end of 2018-19 season.

Kaiserslautern: 9 Years In The Wilderness, Still Counting

Having enjoyed a rollercoaster campaign in the 1997-98 Bundesliga season, ‘Die Roten Teufel’ decided to spend more than they earn, and acted bigger than they are in German football, ironically they attempted to compete with Bayern Munich at the time the ‘Bavarian’ were known as “FC Hollywood”, but sadly that decision by the management of Kaiserslautern began the slippery slope into the second tier of German football, and a steady decline into the third tier of recent.

Mistakes after mistakes, mismanagement and misfortune had been the Achilles of Kaiserslautern, since the last time they won the title, as such that has made them look like a club that is not serious and full with turmoil on the pitch and near-constant backroom shenanigans, which has further pushed them down the more in the third tier.

“It feels like there is a curse, the club has huge financial problems that could only be solved if we are back in the second tier or ideally the top flight, but we aren’t and we are trapped in a vicious circle, and it’s like the club is dying bit by bit”.

These were the word of Frederik Paulus, a journalist who also writes for the Der Betze Brennt, the club blog, his statement further explained the precarious situation Kaiserslautern is in.

Kaiserslautern Journey to Wilderness

Spending more than they earn came to fore when they signed former World Cup Champion Youri Djorkaeff and Mario Basler who is renowned for smoking and drinking, but his footballing talent is fantastic, after joining the Southwest German side, within a couple of years Djorkaeff couldn’t start regularly in the team having failed to learn German, as such he was relegated to the bench while a lot of questions were been asked concerning Basler attitude and why Kaiserslauten spent a lot of money in signing him, and the secretive five million Deutschmark signing-on fee which Die Roten Teufel tried to sweep under the carpet.

After lot of questions were asked concerning the mismanagement of the club, Rene Jaeggi one of the top officials of the club, brought in an auditor who duly uncovered widespread tax evasion, and how players of the club are been paid via foreign bank accounts, which shouldn’t have been so, having found out all of the mismanagement, a sum of €9m fine from the German tax office was added to the club’s debt, which made Kaiserslauten debt increased to around €50m by 2003.

As Kaiserslautern debt keeps increasing, so does glory and success on the pitch keeps eluding them, with that lot of their backroom supremo had the intentions to turn the fortunes of the club around, but they all failed as their decline and fruitless debacles continue, since their first relegation away from the top flight in 2005-06, which still remains a big shock to ‘Die Roten Teufel’ faithful and Germany as a whole, up until now they’re still in the lower division.

READ ALSO: 10 Of The Top Admirable Kings Of Football

Following their return back to the Bundesliga, landing a seventh-place finish in the club’s first season in the top flight in 2010-11 looks like it’s going to be a great season for them, but sadly it’s turned out to be another wasted opportunity when they found themselves deep into a relegation battle halfway through the following season, and to rescue their season they headed into the transfer market in January, unfortunately for Kaiserslautern, the new signings couldn’t turn things around as they went further deep in the relegation waters

During this period former club legend Stefan Kuntz was appointed as CEO, and he was well-received as the messiah that will turn things around for the club, when he stepped down in 2016 the club were in as much financial disarray as when he was appointed, and to make matter worse all the money borrowed from the fans bond, were invested into the team academy, with the hope that they benefit from such decision then payback in 2019, but surprisingly nothing positive came out of the youth development and Kaiserslautern on-field position became worse than ever.

Kaiserslautern: 9 Years In The Wilderness, Still Counting

Kaiserslautern’s title-winning squad

Life in the Bundesliga 2 was tough and rough, as former Turkey midfielder Halil Altintop couldn’t prevent a squad filled with experienced players in finishing bottom of the league table in 2017-18 season, and of the 31 man squad of that team only five stood by the team, while many left, even the fans stood by the club and about 1,500 of them traveled with the team to Bielefeld to see their darling team relegated to the third tier with banners and chant stating “Wherever you go, we are coming with you, love doesn’t recognize football divisions”.

In preparation for life in the third tier, over 1,500 came to see them trained ahead of their match against fellow fallen giant 1860 Munich, surprisingly the match attracted 41,000 fans which were the third-largest ever recorded in the third division, and as the season progresses over 21,000 fans came into the stadium to see Kaiserslauten play, which shows how well the fans still love them despite their worse situation.

READ ALSO: 15 Of Top Most Injury Prone Footballers

Kaiserslautern first season in the third tier ended with a relatively decent 9th position finish in the league, but a bit below expectation for a team that was once the champions of the Bundesliga, so in other to come off the third tier, the club embraced the ideas of putting together a squad filled with young and hungry players, without considering the experience and physical presence needed to navigate the tough, rough, and tumble nature of the third division football, even with the so-called young and hungry players, the fortune of Die Roten Teufel hasn’t changed positively.

As it stands, the sight of top-flight football looks very blur for Kaiserslautern, because it doesn’t seem they would be out of the third tier wilderness soon, although their fans may want to tap from the old-time spirit for inspiration, and believe that their darling could still make it down to the top flight, but with the season currently over and Kaiserslautern placed in 10th position, then it doesn’t seem they would be exiting the third tier wilderness soon, perhaps next season, only time would tell.

 

 

 

 

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Bundesliga

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

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Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?

Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

UCL- Round of 16 Second Leg – Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany – March 9, 2021 Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring.

“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.

Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.

Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough

As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.

From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

Erling Haaland (L) and Dominik Szoboszlai (R) both of FC Salzburg celebrate after the champions league group E match between FC Salzburg and KRC Genk at Salzburg Stadion on September 17, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Andreas Schaad/Bongarts/Getty Images)

He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.

“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”

But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.

Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.

Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.

“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”

It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.

At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.

Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.

READ ALSO: Fall From Grace: Bolton Wanderers Steep Decline

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence

Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.

People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?

Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.

Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.

Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.

Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.

It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.

Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.

Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.

And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.

Perfect With BVB

Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.

Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.

CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.

“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.

There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com

Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.

Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.

Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking RiseErling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise

Erling Haaland Hits 23-Minute Debut Hat-Trick as Borussia Dortmund Beat Augsburg 5-3

READ ALSO: Mario Gotze: The Making, The Decline & Possible Resurgence

Haaland’s Future

Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.

He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”

And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.

He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.

Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.

 

 

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Predictions

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

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Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis 1

Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge of Chelsea didn’t quite go as he would have hoped, and the German coach cut a frustrated figure on the sideline as the Blues limped to a largely uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to a determined Wolves team on Wednesday evening.

Tuchel had overseen just one training session with his new charges before their date with Wanderers however, and it will take time for his ideas and tactical philosophy to take hold.

Teething problems are to be expected as Tuchel finds his feet at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea could endure another nervous moment or two against Burnley on Sunday.

Check Out 80% guaranteed Daily predictions

Burnley meanwhile, warmed up for their trip to London with a smash and grab victory at home to Aston Villa in midweek.

The dogged Clarets twice overturned a deficit at Turf Moor to beat the Villains, and the manner of their triumph should add another dollop of self-belief to the confidence they would have gained from beating Liverpool at Anfield last week.

Chelsea ambled to a 3-0 win at Burnley in the teams’ reverse fixture back in October, though we don’t expect it to be similarly smooth sailing when the sides reconvene on Sunday.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Buoyed by excellent results against Liverpool and Aston Villa, Burnley will arrive at Stamford Bridge ready to throw their weight about, and we see them notching against their nervous hosts.

Chelsea has beaten the Clarets in five of their last six league encounters, however, and with eager players hoping to impress their new, notoriously demanding coach, and Tuchel’s compatriots Werner and Havertz keen to make full use of their clean slates, we expect the Blues to eventually force a win.

Predictions: Chelsea Wins

 

Brighton – Tottenham 

Tottenham will be licking their wounds following their midweek chasing by Liverpool, and with Harry Kane out injured, they will have to work hard to bounce back with a win at Brighton on Sunday.

Spurs had been gearing up to launch a title challenge this season, though the manner of their 3-1 reverse at home to current champions Liverpool on Thursday would have been a real wake up call for their supporters.

Jose Mourinho’s troops were thoroughly outclassed in the capital, and their 0.10 xG (Expected Goals) figure for the evening highlights just how ineffective they were.

Tottenham will be licking their wounds following their midweek chasing by Liverpool, and with Harry Kane out injured, they will have to work hard to bounce back with a win at Brighton on Sunday. Spurs had been gearing up to launch a title challenge this season, though the manner of their 3-1 reverse at home to current champions Liverpool on Thursday would have been a real wake up call for their supporters. Jose Mourinho’s troops were thoroughly outclassed in the capital, and their 0.10 xG (Expected Goals) figure for the evening highlights just how ineffective they were. Brighton look blunt Brighton meanwhile, missed a huge chance to establish a buffer between themselves and the drop zone when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham on Wednesday. That was the third time in six Premier League assignments where a toothless Albion failed to score, and following their stalemate against the Cottagers, Brighton remain the only team in the division yet to win a home game in 2020/21. Narrow victory for Spurs on the cards Harry Kane has provided an incredible 23 goal contributions (12 goals, 11 assists) in 19 Premier League starts for Tottenham this season, and his absence through injury makes Spurs a less lethal outfit ahead of their trip to Brighton. With Tottenham’s talisman missing and Brighton’s general lack of thrust in the final third also a factor, we expect goalmouth action to be sparse on Sunday, and the under 2.5 goals market is favoured as a result. Even with Kane in tow, Spurs away assignments have routinely been tight affairs this term, and under 2.5 goals backers were rewarded in five of their last seven Premier League games on the road since October, and we expect Sunday’s game to follow a similar pattern. However, our 1-0 correct score prediction backs Jose Mourinho’s men to just about edge out their hosts. Tottenham found the net exactly once in five of the seven away matches we mentioned above, and a single effort could be enough to gather the points against a Brighton t

Brighton meanwhile, missed a huge chance to establish a buffer between themselves and the drop zone when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham on Wednesday.

That was the third time in six Premier League assignments where a toothless Albion failed to score, and following their stalemate against the Cottagers, Brighton remain the only team in the division yet to win a home game in 2020/21.

Harry Kane has provided an incredible 23 goal contributions (12 goals, 11 assists) in 19 Premier League starts for Tottenham this season, and his absence through injury makes Spurs a less-lethal outfit ahead of their trip to Brighton.

With Tottenham’s talisman missing and Brighton’s general lack of thrust in the final third also a factor, we expect goalmouth action to be sparse on Sunday, and the under 2.5 goals market is favoured as a result.

Predictions: AWEH

Westham – Liverpool

West Ham are trying to upset the established order in the Premier League this season, and the high-flying Hammers look capable of giving champions Liverpool are real run for their money in London on Sunday.

A four game-winning surge saw West Ham briefly move into the top four last week, before their weekend opponents Liverpool replace them following the Reds’ superb 3-1 win at Tottenham on Thursday.

David Moyes’s in-form Irons have only been beaten twice in 13 Premier League assignments since early November however, and with Tomas Soucek’s aerial prowess, Declan Rice’s bite in midfield and Michail Antionio’s pace up top, they can cause Liverpool a headache or two in the capital.

Tottenham will be licking their wounds following their midweek chasing by Liverpool, and with Harry Kane out injured, they will have to work hard to bounce back with a win at Brighton on Sunday. Spurs had been gearing up to launch a title challenge this season, though the manner of their 3-1 reverse at home to current champions Liverpool on Thursday would have been a real wake up call for their supporters. Jose Mourinho’s troops were thoroughly outclassed in the capital, and their 0.10 xG (Expected Goals) figure for the evening highlights just how ineffective they were. Brighton look blunt Brighton meanwhile, missed a huge chance to establish a buffer between themselves and the drop zone when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham on Wednesday. That was the third time in six Premier League assignments where a toothless Albion failed to score, and following their stalemate against the Cottagers, Brighton remain the only team in the division yet to win a home game in 2020/21. Narrow victory for Spurs on the cards Harry Kane has provided an incredible 23 goal contributions (12 goals, 11 assists) in 19 Premier League starts for Tottenham this season, and his absence through injury makes Spurs a less lethal outfit ahead of their trip to Brighton. With Tottenham’s talisman missing and Brighton’s general lack of thrust in the final third also a factor, we expect goalmouth action to be sparse on Sunday, and the under 2.5 goals market is favoured as a result. Even with Kane in tow, Spurs away assignments have routinely been tight affairs this term, and under 2.5 goals backers were rewarded in five of their last seven Premier League games on the road since October, and we expect Sunday’s game to follow a similar pattern. However, our 1-0 correct score prediction backs Jose Mourinho’s men to just about edge out their hosts. Tottenham found the net exactly once in five of the seven away matches we mentioned above, and a single effort could be enough to gather the points against a Brighton t

Liverpool reminded their Premier League counterparts and challengers just how formidable an outfit they can be in midweek when the Reds ragdolled a strong Spurs side on Thursday.

Goals from Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane allowed the reigning champions to stamp their authority on their hosts, and Liverpool’s dominant display felt like statement of intent and a return to their ominous best.

Injuries pre-game to Fabinho and in-game to Joel Matip took the edge off Liverpool’s high spirits in mid-week, and with options already thin on the ground, Jurgen Klopp could be forced to pair Nat Phillips and Jordan Henderson at center-half on Sunday.

Predictions: Liverpool Wins

 

Barcelona- Atlethic Bilbao

Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have served up two five-goal thrillers already this month and the entertainment looks set to continue when the pair renew their rivalry at Camp Nou.

A Lionel Messi-inspired Barca ran out 3-2 winners in the Basque country in La Liga earlier this month before Bilbao exacted their revenge by prevailing by the same scoreline to win the Spanish Super Cup in extra-time in Seville.

Barca, ten points adrift of Atletico Madrid in La Liga having played one game more, can ill afford any more slip-ups and they may take some stopping in their pursuit of a fifth straight win.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

But with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto still sidelined, Barcelona are weakened defensively and that offers hope to a Bilbao side that thrashed Getafe 5-1 at home last weekend.

Both teams have scored in six of Barcelona’s last eight home league matches, with their only two clean sheets coming against lowly pair Levante and Osasuna.

Ronald Koeman’s men have been held to consecutive score draws at Camp Nou by Valencia and Levante and Bilbao are another team with the attacking quality to give them a scare.

Despite their inconsistencies in La Liga this season, Bilbao have failed to score in only one of their last nine games and both teams have scored in each of their last five away league trips which include on their visit to Real Madrid.

Predictions: Barca Wins

Napoli – Parma

Parma are in terrible form having fallen to second-bottom in Serie A. The visitors have lost six of their last seven league games, while they’re rank outsiders for the points in Naples.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Napoli won 4-2 against Spezia in a comfortable night in midweek, with that win making it three victories on the bounce at home. However. Napoli have seen both teams score in five of their last six in Serie A.

With Parma scoring in all but two of their games on the road, they should find the net here. We’re backing Napoli to win and both teams to score, while we’re going with a 3-1 win for the hosts, given they’ve scored 13 across their last three at home.

Predictions: Napoli Wins

Roma – Hellas Verona

A 3-1 victory over Napoli last weekend took Verona into eighth, which is bad news for Roma. The hosts have won all 11 meetings with sides from 10th and below, but they’ve won none against the top nine.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Verona have already avoided defeat at Lazio, Atalanta, Juventus and Milan this season. They were also awarded a 3-0 win over Roma after the Giallorossi played an unregistered player in a 0-0 draw earlier this term.

We expect Verona to cause more headaches for Roma, especially considering how the hosts have struggled against any half-decent side so far.

Prediction: Home Wins Or Draw & U 4.5

Lorient – PSG

Lorient ended their winless run in midweek, beating fellow strugglers Dijon 3-2. PSG hit Montpellier for four last time out, making it three clean sheets on the run in Ligue 1. Lorient remains in the relegation places despite that win, while PSG held onto the top spot, but Lille are on the same points tally and continues to breathe down the necks of the title-favorites.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Lorient have not played well against PSG for a long time now, losing each of the pair’s last 12 matches. Lorient have also failed to score in four of their last five games against PSG and will need the visitors to have an off day if they are to claim even a point on Sunday.

PSG are in great form right now, winning five of their last six matches, and have looked really strong at the back. The visitors have kept clean sheets in four of their last six fixtures and Lorient have failed to score in two of their last six matches, one of which was against PSG in December.

Prediction: PSG & O 1.5

AZ Alkmaar – Ajax

AZ Alkmaar pulled off a remarkable Eredivisie double over Ajax last season but Pascal Jansen’s men have their work cut out to topple the table-toppers this time around.

Ajax are unbeaten in ten games in all competitions, winning eight of those fixtures which includes a 1-0 away victory at Alkmaar in the KNVB Beker just 11 days ago.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Four consecutive league wins have seen Ajax move four points clear of PSV at the Eredivisie summit and they have in a formidable form on their travels, dropping just two points across their last seven away games.

Erik ten Hag’s side have been scoring goals freely and we predict them to net at least twice on their trip to the Alkmaar.

Ajax have scored 63 goals in 19 league games, an average of 3.3 per game, and they have failed to score only once this season.

AZ Alkmaar have conceded in each of their last 14 matches in all competitions and, despite sitting fourth in the Eredivisie, their defense has been breached more than any other side in the division’s top-half with them leaking 28 goals across their 19 games.

Predictions: Ajax Wins Either Half

Lille – Dijon

A solitary goal proved enough for Lille to secure all 3pts away at fellow European hopefuls Rennes last week. Dijon played out a 5-goal thriller against Lorient in midweek but ended up coming out on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline. Those results mean that the gap between these two clubs has increased to 30pts and is expected to grow again on Sunday.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

Lille have a great record against Dijon, winning nine, drawing one and losing just two of the pair’s last 12 encounters in all competitions. Lille’s last three wins against Dijon have all arrived in Ligue 1 and have been accompanied by clean sheets.

The hosts not only have the home advantage, but they are also the form favourites heading into this weekend’s clash. Lille have won four of their last six league games, while Dijon have only managed to win once during that same period of matches. The fact that Lille have kept three clean sheets in their last six attempts and that Dijon have failed to score in three of their last six outings points towards a clean sheet for the home side this weekend.

Predictions: Lille Wins 

Cadiz- Athletico Madrid

It’s impossible to oppose leaders Atletico Madrid this weekend as they bid to rack up an eighth consecutive league victory, although hosts Cadiz could get themselves on the scoresheet to boost the returns for an away win.

Just three sides have taken points from Atleti this season, and despite their shock 2-1 success over Barcelona here in early December, we don’t envisage Cadiz causing Diego Simeone’s men too many problems here.

Top Sure Predictions For This Weekend : Tips, Stats And Analysis

The hosts have won just one of their last eight league matches (D3, L4), and their 3-0 hammering at Sevilla last time out epitomized the limitations of Alvaro Cervera’s side.

Nonetheless, the Yellow Submarine netted six goals in their three previous league games including five in their last two starts at Estadio Ramon de Carranza, so it’s quite possible that the hosts can register again this Sunday against an Atleti backline that has conceded in four of their last five outings in all competitions.

Backing Cadiz to net markedly increases the odds about another Atleti victory and while the 4/9 for an away win is perfectly reasonable for the weekend multiples, this looks the best value option for single wagers.

Predictions: Home To Score

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