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4 Top Tips for this Weekends European Football

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Discover top tips for this weekend’s European football action; Zlín vs Jablonec, Rijeka vs Istra, Heidenheim vs Magdeburg and Go Ahead Eagles vs Groningen

Zlín vs Jablonec 

Saturday, 2pm

The Czech First League is one of those which separates at the end of the regulation season, and this encounter is a Relegation Group match. It is the first round of fixtures since the division, and both of these teams will be eager to lay down a marker in their quest to ultimately avoid relegation. It is certainly a more pressing issue for Zlín with them sitting at the bottom of the table. They are unbeaten in two however, so there are some shoots of recovery going into this run of games. Jablonec have a four-point cushion over the bottom-three, with the bottom side being relegation and the next two fighting out in a Relegation Play-Off.

It has been a particular sharp decline in form of Jablonec, who only a month or so ago saw a four-match winning streak come to an end. They have since followed that up with a six-game winless run, and that is the reason why they dropped into the Relegation Group. One noticeable issue in that six-game run is they have lost all three of their away matches and conceded a total of 12 goals in the process. A trip to Zlín this weekend therefore may not look as straightforward as it may suggest, and they are indeed ranked as outsiders by the bookies.

Zlín may be bottom of the table but their recent run of results at home is nothing to be too ashamed of. Sure, there’s two defeats in there but both against current top-six opposition, but last month they also recorded victories in the nature of 5-1 and 4-1 on home soil. They’ll certainly not fear taking on a Jablonec side, although you have to go back to 2008 for the last time they defeated them.

That is all history though and one thing Zlín have been quite reliable at doing of late is scoring goals. Defensively they clearly have some problems, but they do have a go and are often rewarded for that. They have netted two of more goals in five of their previous six at home, including three or more on two of those occasions. They’ve also netted two in both earlier season H2H meetings, which both ending as draws. We can’t always rely on them for the win, but I fancy Zlín to net Over 1.5 Team Goals at 11/10 with Parimatch.

Rijeka vs Istra

Saturday, 6.10pm

There is some intriguing early Saturday evening action from Croatia for us to get stuck into and that comes in the form of Rijeka against Istra. This is a top-five encounter, albeit in a ten-team league, but both of these have aspirations of qualifying for next season’s UEFA Conference League. Rijeka are certainly in the box seat to do that sitting in third, largely thanks to a run of four wins in five. Istra are only just outside the top-four, but a four-point gap has materialised and winning their last game has raised hopes of overcoming that deficit.

Istra were winless in six prior to defeating bottom side Sibenik, but they’ve just not been in good form for a little while now. If we expand their form to across their last 12 matches, it is still only three wins, although one of those did come over champions Dinamo Zagreb. One big problem they do have is they find wins on the road very, very hard to come by. It is three wins in 16 away fixtures this season, and the most recent one was all the way back in October before the World Cup, and that ironically came against Rijeka.

Rijeka did start the season very sluggishly however, and it is only in more recent times that we are seeing them play something like we know they are capable of. They have certainly been the ‘second team’ in Croatia behind Dinamo Zagreb for some time now. They won the title as recently as 2016/17, but their rivals has now won the league in each of the following six seasons. Rijeka finished as runners-up in two of the last three seasons, but third is the best they can hope for this season with Hajduk Split well clear in second. Second, third and fourth all make the Conference League, so Rijeka are more worried about what is coming behind them as opposed to what is ahead.

Rijeka started the season winning only two of their opening nine at home, and have been playing catch-up ever since because of that. However, their last five at home has returned four wins and a draw, so they are back to their best in that regard. They can be expected to return a fourth straight home triumph this weekend. Istra really need to be looking at winning this game if they’re to break into the top-four picture, and that should lead to maybe a more open game as opposed to them just sitting behind the ball. Playing for a draw isn’t really enough for them.

Therefore, I think a play of Rijeka Win and Over 1 Goal at 10/11 on the Bet365 bet-builder appears the best way to go here. This has paid out in 12 of their 14 league victories this season, whereas nine of Istra’s 11 league losses have also featured a minimum of two goals.

Heidenheim vs Magdeburg

Sunday, 12:30pm

2. Bundesliga is a league that never fails to deliver the goods and the climax to the 2022/23 edition looks sure to be another action-packed sequence of events. We’re only four games away from learning who will win the title, gain automatic promotion, finish in the promotion/relegation play-offs (at both ends) and who will be relegated. Everything is still to play for in that regard. Top side Darmstadt could seal promotion this weekend, but we’re focusing on the matches between Heidenheim, currently second, and mid-table Magdeburg.

Promotion is very much in Heidenheim’s hands as they enjoy a four-point gap over Hamburg in third with only 12 points left to play for. On paper, three of their four remaining games are very winnable, including this match with Magdeburg, so they’ll be eager to keep their foot on the pedal having won their last three to take advantage of Hamburg’s indifferent recent form.

Heidenheim are the joint-highest scorers in the league and have only failed to score in one home match this season. Their both teams to score number falls at below 50%, but when we see that Magdeburg have seen 19 of their 30 2. Bundesliga battles feature BTTS then it kind of suggests what we should expect from Magdeburg this weekend. They’ve won their last two to really remove any serious relegation concerns they had, but they’ll still have a go as it is the only way they know.

Only Hansa Rostock have drawn fewer games than Magdeburg, which suggests something of an all or nothing approach. They actually have a top-six record when it comes to away games, but it has still resulted in them not winning more than they’ve won on the road (W2, D2, L7), they’ll face a stern test this weekend as Heidenheim have the best home record in the division (W11, D3, L1). Motivation has to come into account here as well and you just wonder if Magdeburg will feel they’ve done their job now after winning their last two to really remove any relegation worries.

Heidenheim have promotion in their sights and we just can’t count against them at the moment. Heidenheim Win and Over 1 Goal is nicely priced at 20/21 on the Bet365 bet-builder and we get a pay-out if the home team will be any score except 1-0. With Magdeburg having a high BTTS record, it could lead to a fairly open game, which should suit the more superior team in Heidenheim.

Go Ahead Eagles vs Groningen

Sunday, 1:30pm

Our final play of the weekend sees us venture to Netherlands where there is a bottom-half match which catches the eye. The excellently named Go Ahead Eagles have spent most of their recent history in the league below Eredivisie, but they look set to secure a third consecutive season at this level as avoiding relegation is almost guaranteed. Back-to-back home wins has eased the pressure on them considerably, and they can potentially confirm survival this weekend with another win to their name.

They take on a Groningen team who have definitely had a season to forget. It couldn’t really have gone any worse for the club. This is a club that played in the Europa League as recently as 2016, and has been playing in the top-flight in every season since 2000. They sit second from bottom on 17 points, with only four wins to their name, and there is a huge 11 point gap to the relegation/promotion play-off spot, but only 14 points left to play for. They need to win every game and hope for a miracle to even stand a chance of maybe staying up.

There have also been recent issues with the fans with regards to fighting with other supporters and a recent match was abandoned after an assistant referee had beer thrown at him from the stands. You get the feeling they just want this season over and done with, and a six-match losing streak suggests they’ve given up the ghost. They’ve also won once away from home all season and conceded an average of 2.30 goals per game in those particular contests.

It is just hard to make a case for anything other than a fairly easy home win here. GAE have lost only one at home since the early part of September. The only teams that have come to De Adelaarshorst and won are all positioned in the top-five. Also, they still have plenty to play in relation to potentially qualifying for Europe. They’re only two-points behind the final play-off place to possibly play in next season’s Conference League. The club’s recent European record consists of losing in the 2015/16 qualification round, and they’d love anything chance to create history.

To carry on with a similar theme across this piece, we’ll back Go Ahead Eagles Win and Over 1 Goal at Evens with the Bet365 bet-builder. This has paid out in 89% of the Eagles’ league wins this season.

Tips

  • Zlín v Jablonec – Zlín Over 1.5 Team Goals (11/10 Parimatch)
  • Rijeka v Istra – Rijeka Win and Over 1 Goal (10/11 Bet365)
  • Heidenheim v Magdeburg – Heidenheim Win and Over 1 Goal (20/21 Bet365)
  • Go Ahead Eagles v Groningen – Go Ahead Eagles Win and Over 1 Goal (Evens Bet365)

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